All you need is some natural yoghurt, a cheesecloth or similar, a bowl, strainer and a little time :)
I was experimenting the other day in making my own yoghurt - the first was a bit of a disaster but the second worked out ok so I could use it to make Labneh Cheese. I'll post the recipe once I have made it again just to make sure I get the process to where I am happy with it as I think it was a bit hot in my slow cooker.
|Yoghurt doing its thing :)|
|Yoghurt all done, see the whey mmm I smell the idea of Ricotta to follow|
I was cruising through google looking at how to make Ricotta and ideas for using the Whey, and I came across the process of making Labneh Cheese. Labneh is a simple yoghurt cheese from Lebanon and the Middle East and is similar to cream cheese. It is delicious and you can flavour it how you want. Last night I just seasoned it with a tiny bit of salt and some pepper, DH made lunch today and mixed some capers we had in the fridge with it and spread it on homemade English muffins mmmmm yummy!! I also want to try some with some Sweet Chilli mixed through. Here is how you make this:
How to make Labneh Cheese
Prepare a bowl with a strainer over the top and in the strainer sit a cheese cloth, piece of muslin or cotton cloth (has to be super clean and I sat mine in boiling water for 10mins previous to this)
Using your quantity of Natural Unsweetened Yoghurt either Homemade or a carton of brought yoghurt (making sure it has no additives like gelatin etc), pour this into the cloth sitting in the strainer. If using your own homemade yoghurt drain off any excess whey first. Store it in a container or lidded jar. Preferably steralise this in the oven first for 10mins at 110degC then leave to cool, we only want good bacteria in here.
|The drained off whey and the yoghurt in the cloth sitting inside the strainer.|
Next fold the cloth over the top of the yoghurt, stick a plate on top of this and place something heavy on top of it. Push it down a little and you'll start to see some whey being extracted (greenish clear liquid), pop it into the fridge and leave it here for 24-48 hours.
|Something heavy on top of the plate helps with pushing the excess whey out. This is a jar of my Mother in Law's homemade jelly :)|
Occasionally taking it out to drain off the whey. Don't throw this whey out! It is a valuable source of good nutrients. Use it in cooking instead of milk in things like scones, pikelets or cakes. Or you can try your hand at making ricotta cheese from it. (I am about to give this a go soon so will report back when I have).
After this time, check the cheese it should be slightly firmer and have the texture similar to cream cheese. You are done making the cheese!
At this point transfer it to the bowl or container you want to keep it in, season or flavour it and use it on crackers as a spread, mix it with Tuna and seasonings for a sandwhich or as a dip or use your fresh homemade Labneh to replace cream cheese in recipes (not sure how it would go with cream cheese icing - but I'm sure to give it a go at some point). It should keep a good while stored in the fridge - if it doesn't get eaten quick smart!
|I think this one came out a bit firmer due to the yoghurt being a bit overdone and alot thicker. But it still tastes YUMMY!|
The recipes I have read have all said you can have it flavoured as a savoury cheese with things like sweet chilli, salt and pepper, spring onions or chives, capsicum etc or as a sweet cheese with a bit of jam to flavour it.
I definitely recommend giving this a go, with the price of dairy in our country it is worth, where you can, to try your hand at making things like Labneh and Yoghurt. You'll then know what is in your food and also to be as frugal as you can and cook from scratch. If you make the yoghurt yourself you then have 3 things you can make from this - Yoghurt, Lebnah and Ricotta, now that is a good simple way to stretch a dollar!
|All mixed up with a bit of salt and pepper :)|