While you can find prepared labneh in Middle Eastern markets or some urban grocers, it's easy to make at home from your favorite brand of plain yogurt (cow, goat or sheep milk) using this method from the book Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule. Store as is in bulk or roll into balls stored in olive oil. Serve garnished with any combination of fresh herbs, chopped olives, za'atar, chopped pistachios, saffron and preserved lemons. along with flatbreads or crackers.
Prep Time 10minutes
Total Time 10minutes
1quartplain yogurt, whole or low fatorganic, grassmilk
extra-virgin olive oil
Line a strainer or colander with enough cheesecloth or a flour sack towel to hang over the sides and set it over a deep bowl (so that the bottom of the strainer will be above the level of the strained liquid whey).
Mix the salt into the container of yogurt stirring well and use a rubber spatula to transfer it all into the lined strainer. Wrap the overhang loosely over the top of the yogurt and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. To speed things up, weight the yogurt with a heavy pan lid or use a resealable freezer bag filled with beans or water.
Leave it at room temperature or in the refrigerator and check it in 24 hours. There will be a generous cup or more of whey in the bowl and the yogurt will be very thick. Check the consistency and continue draining if you'd like it thicker, up to 36-48 hours for the firmest labneh and for preserving it in oil.
Scrape the labneh from the cloth into a container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To preserve the labneh in olive oil, roll teaspoon-sized pieces of firm labneh between your palms to form spheres and drop them into a sterilized glass jar. Cover with olive oil and store in the refrigerator where it will keep for 2 months.
To serve, scoop out the labneh with some of the oil and bring to room temperature before garnishing as desired.