Friday, July 26, 2013

labneh (yogurt cheese) balls

One of my daydreams (there are several... I used to get notes sent home from school all the time about this bad habit of mine) involves living on a small farm and making cheese. How gorgeous of a life would that be? For now, I am far too lazy and comfortable in my "city" life to take that rubber boot-clad step. But, I can still make cheese! City cheese! 

This labneh, a Lebanese yogurt cheese, is barely any work, and I won't bother you with a "recipe." You just put Greek yogurt (I mixed a dash of salt in, but that's optional) in some cheese cloth and let it hang over a bowl in your fridge for a couple of days. The liquid drains off and the yogurt becomes a soft cheese consistency that you can either roll into balls or just use as is as a spread. 

This is the Labneh-hanging set up in my fridge.
The variables for flavoring the labneh are innumerable... I did some with some really good olive oil, garlic slices, lemon zest and black peppercorns, and some with cardamom and honey as a sweet option. It's yogurt, so the cheese is tangy, and works well as either savory or sweet. You could roll the balls in herbs or nuts, or drizzle them with chili oil. Try labneh instead of cream cheese in your favorite spread and dip recipes. It's great when flavored simply and spread on crackers or flat bread.

Labne balls with cardamom and honey.
Labneh balls with garlic, lemon peel, pepper & olive oil.
Labne fresh out of the cheese cloth.
2013: Year of MORE BALLS Posts:

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