Home made Labneh cheese


Straining yogurt is a method used in various ways all around the Mediterranean, Asia and parts of Europe. It's been around for a long time and its a technique used for preserving dairy from short to long periods. Some Bedouin tribes dry it in the sun after straining camel yogurt and roll them into harder balls preserved in olive oil. Labneh is a soft cheese traditionally made by straining different types of yogurt and is wide spread all over the Middle East. In Israel where I am from, variations of it are breakfast staples for many people and are usually eaten on flat breads with bitter olives and za’atar spice mix.

As a kid, it was always a wonderful treat and remains in my head as a great memory sharing food with friends and family. It has been 15 years since I left the region. Ever so often after my move to London and then Copenhagen, I tried to replicate the memory using store bought labneh from Arab grocers. Every time I was highly disappointed with the heavily processed, tasteless products I could find. Nothing managed to revive the childhood experience and eventually I gave up. I thought it must be over glorifying nostalgia. It took me a decade to realise how easy it is to make a quick labneh. Once I did though, it was game over. I found that childhood flavour and started binging on it. Ever since, I make a new batch twice a week. It can be done over night with minimal effort but you can also prolong the process and add some spices to enhance the rich flavour.

Labneh retains the sour qualities of Greek yogurt while adding a layer of funky, tart flavour. In the process, most of the whey is removed from the yogurt which creates a thicker, creamier version that is easier to digest because it contains less lactose.

Use it as a dip or a spread with bread, along with other little mezze dishes. You can serve it with flakes of dried lemons, pine nuts and za’atar.


800gr. greek yogurt (10% fat)
7gr. fine salt
Pine nuts or nigella seeds
Za’atar spice mix
Extra virgin olive oil


In a large bowl combine together the yogurt and the salt. Whip them quickly together and set aside.
Line a cheese cloth inside a fine sieve and set over a clean bowl. Pour the yogurt mix into the cheese cloth and cover lightly with the edges of the fabric. Leave over night to drain at room temperature (approx 22c). If your room is much warmer, set it in the fridge over night. The day after discard the liquids in the bowl. Although you can now eat the labneh, I recommend keeping it in the fridge for another 24 hours of straining, which will concentrate the flavour even more. When you are done put the labneh in an airtight jar and top with olive oil. For serving take a small flat plate and spread the labneh on it like in the picture. Dry roast some pine nuts until golden and sprinkle them over the cheese. Drizzle olive oil generously and sprinkle some za’atar all around.

Using Format