Homemade labneh balls preserve in extra-virgin olive oil with herbs and chili flakes.
I first discovered labneh A few years ago, during my trip to UAE. They serve this creamy strained yogurt in cubes dusted with za’atar, nuts, and dried chili flakes, and drizzled with olive oil.
Before then, I hadn’t heard of labneh. Yogurt cheese sounds unfamiliar and odd to me, but when I finally try it for myself, labneh really caught my attention. They look like the jewel in my eyes. Their creamy texture combined with fragrant spices and rich oil is so luscious.
Back then is really hard to find labneh in Jakarta, luckily they’re so easy to make. It is made by strained full-fat plain yogurt through cheesecloth until it becomes thick and spreadable. The longer you strain, the thicker the labneh becomes. Strain the yogurt for 24-48 hours ff you want to use labneh as a dip or to spread on toast, strain it longer if you want to make labneh balls
Related article: Hummus with Yogurt Chicken and Tomato
Homemade Labneh Balls
- 1kg plain full-fat yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves
- Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- fresh oregano, rosemary or mint
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- Place a sieve over a medium mixing bowl. Line the sieve with a piece of muslin or cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the center of the muslin, season with salt. Bring up the sides of the muslin together until fully covering the yogurt and tie in a very tight knot. Transfer to the fridge and let the whey drain from the yogurt for 2-3 days. Check gradually to make sure the muslin bag is not touching the whey.
- Remove the labneh from the fridge, unwrap, and rolling the labneh into small balls. Lay the labneh on a baking tray and refrigerate for at least 2 hours up to one night to firm up a bit.
- Place the labneh in a clean jar with herbs, chili flakes, and garlic, cover with oil. Keep for up to 1 week.