Labneh (Arabic: لبنة) is similar to dairy cream cheese, but is made from drained yogurt and is popular in the Levant, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. It is popularly eaten as a breakfast dip. To do this, spread the cheese on a plate and combine it with olive oil and dried mint, or with the herb mixture Za'atar.
Cheese is the result of what is probably the oldest process for preserving milk. The protein part of curdled milk, also called casein, is separated from the whey and further processed into the various types of cheese. Incidentally, the word cheese goes back to the Latin caseus, which etymologically comes from fermenting or turning sour. That cheese is consequently milk gone bad, however, is spread only by ignoramuses. Fermentistas know the value of fermented and sour foods.
Labneh Korat are Levantine cream cheese balls
Labneh, by the way, is a popular mezze dish and a common component of sandwiches. A sandwich often enjoyed in the Middle East consists of labneh, mint, thyme and olives on pita bread.
I like to make the small, tasty balls from homemade cream cheese made from milk kefir. In doing so, I not only do something good for my taste buds, but also for my microbiome.
- Milk kefir cream cheese, salted and well drained.
- Herbs, nuts, spices
- Olive oil
For milk kefir cream cheese balls Labneh-style you need very dry cream cheese. So salting and draining again, as it says in my recipe for homemade cream cheese from milk kefir (I've provided a link to it in the next paragraph), is very important. You should also let the cream cheese drain for at least two nights so that it loses as much whey as possible.
Recipe for cream cheese from milk kefir
Roll the drained, salted and dry kefir cream cheese with your hands into small balls, slightly smaller than a ping-pong ball. You can either leave the balls plain, or roll them in herbs, nuts or spices to coat them. Traditionally, people like to use garlic, parsley, chopped walnuts, chili or za'atar. Again, you can let your imagination run wild. I like chives very much, or sesame seeds.
Store the Labneh balls in a screw-top jar covered with olive oil in the refrigerator. They keep for about 6-8 months.