Herbal Labna Cheese

Labna is a traditional soft cheese from the Middle East that is made with yogurt. We’ve made our Labna with kefir we cultured ourselves from local raw goat’s milk. Kefir is a cultured milk product that is similar to yogurt, but has a wider variety of micro-organisms.This cheese is very easy to make, in fact, my 5 year old has prepared the cheese for this article.

Ingredients
Kefir(or Yogurt)
Work Bowls
Strainer
Linen cloth (do not use grocery store “cheesecloth” – a birdseye weave cloth diaper works well as does a white cloth napkin)
Fresh herbs of choice (chopped)Directions
1. Assemble your materials. Make sure your hands and all of your materials are as clean as possible.2. Place a strainer into one of the work bowls. Line strainer with the linen cloth

3. Slowly pour the kefir (or yogurt) into the linen lined strainer.

4. Gather all edges of the cloth to make a bag and tie up the cloth at the top. Now your bag of cheese to be is ready for hanging to let the whey drain.

5. Let the bag hang overnight. Be sure to place your bag over a bowl to catch the draining whey.

* Tip: Whey can be saved in a jar and refrigerated for a variety of uses, including lacto-fermenting vegetables (pickling), making bread, cooking pastas in, etc … Don’t throw it a-whey 😀

6. Open the linen cloth and using a rubber or silicone spatula scrape the drained curds from the inside of the cloth. It doesn’t look like a lot when you open the cloth, but as you will see, it starts to pile up.

7. Mix the cheese to get a smooth cream cheese like consistency.

8. Add the herbs. Mix the herbs in well.

The cheese can be kept cream cheese style and smeared onto bagels, flat bread (pita), toast rounds, crackers, etc … It can also be rolled it into small balls and covered with olive oil and stored in a sealed container. Another variation is to shape the cheese into a log and roll it in chopped nuts.

*Tip: The cheese is easier to shape if refrigerated a bit first.)

The cheese will last refrigerated for about a week (if it doesn’t get all eaten up in the first day!)

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