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How to Make Thick and Creamy Labneh at Home


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

When it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine, there’s one
particular fermented food you should not miss out on: labneh. Also called yogurt
cheese or strained yogurt, this is a spreadable type of cheese that is made by
draining out the whey from fresh yogurt.[1]

 

However, because of its foreign origins, labneh is usually
elusive — chances are your only hopes of finding it and tasting its creamy
goodness is by dining in Middle Eastern restaurants or scouring ethnic food
stores. But did you know that you can make fresh labneh at home? All you need
is some homemade yogurt. Try this easy labneh recipe below.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2  quarts of fresh
yogurt

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped dill

1 teaspoon chopped chives

 

Procedure:

1.      
Set the sieve above your bowl.

2.      
Fold the cheesecloth into quarters and set it
inside the sieve.

3.      
Mix the yogurt with unrefined salt.

4.      
Pour the yogurt and salt mixture into the sieve lined
with cheesecloth.

5.      
Tie the cheesecloth and set it in the strainer.
Make sure there’s enough space between the strainer and the bowl to ensure the
whey will never reach the sieve during the straining process.

6.      
After the yogurt has strained for about 24 hours,
gently remove the cheesecloth.

7.      
Roll the labneh into small walnut-sized balls
and gently place into a Mason jar with fresh dill and chives, then cover with
the oil.

 

The Benefits of
Eating Fermented Foods

 

Regularly eating fermented foods is
among the top dietary strategies that any person can implement, and is in fact
one of the cornerstones of optimal health. I believe that most people would
benefit from adding more fermented foods to their meals, as addressing your gut
flora can positively impact most health conditions, whether chronic or acute.

 

Here are just some of the ways that consuming fermented
foods can boost your well-being:

 

Helps reduce risk of infection from pathogenic microorganisms

Improves digestive function, leading in reduced
constipation or diarrhea

 

Helps improve and reduce the risk for atopic dermatitis (eczema) and acne

 

May help manage weight (certain fermented foods like kimchi are
found to have anti-obesity effects in animals)

 

Helps improve inflammatory bowel conditions such as
ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s
disease
, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and necrotizing enterocolitis

 

Reduces risk of urinary and female genital tract infections

 

May reduce the risk of brain diseases, including
Alzheimer’s disease

Lowers the risk for type 1 and 2 diabetes

Improves mental health, mood control and behavior

 

 

Remember that different fermented foods contain varying
strains of bacteria, which is why you should add a wide arsenal of cultured
foods to your meals in order to optimize microbial diversity — and labneh is
one of the best types out there.

 

You’ll Never Run Out
of Uses for Labneh

 

Labneh, also pronounced labne, lebnah or labaneh, is loved
by many for its creamy and tangy flavor. It can be consumed as a dip or spread,
topped with a dash of za’atar spice or fresh herbs, plus a drizzle of olive
oil, or added to various recipes.

 

Labneh is also sometimes called Greek yogurt, although there
is a slight difference between the two. The former is usually more strained,
resulting in an ultra-thick, cream cheese-like consistency. What’s more, labneh
is more popular in savory applications, while Greek yogurt is usually mixed in
sweet recipes.[2]

 

But this doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself when it
comes to using labneh in your meals. This cheese-like food is extremely
versatile, and can be enjoyed both cooked and raw.

 

Labneh works as a replacement for sour cream and cream
cheese, and can be added to pastries and baked goods. Try making a healthier
cheesecake using this delicious yogurt cheese. One boon of using labneh instead
of the usual yogurt is that it does not curdle at high temperatures, mainly
because of its high fat content.[3]

 

One tip: the consistency of the end product depends on how
long you strain the yogurt. The longer it’s allowed to strain, the thicker the
labneh will be.


 

Reminder: Don’t Discard
the Whey!

 

Whey, the cloudy and yellowish liquid byproduct of making
labneh (and other types of cheese), seems like it doesn’t have a lot of uses,
but don’t throw it out — it actually packs a nutritional punch.

 

Whey is loaded with phosphorus, calcium and B vitamins such
as pantothenic acid, B12 and riboflavin. In fact, adding it to your recipes can
actually boost the vitamin, mineral and protein content of other foods.[iv]
Try these ideas on using the whey from labneh:[v],
[vi],[vii]

 

1.      
Add it to your morning smoothies and shakes to
boost their nutrition content.

2.      
Use it as a substitute for buttermilk in baked
goods. You may need to use slightly less whey than the amount of buttermilk
the recipe requires. For example, if the recipe needs a cup of buttermilk,
use only 3/4 cup of whey.

3.       Use
whey instead of water when making lemonade, or try adding it to your tea.

4.      
Make lacto-fermented vegetables like
sauerkraut using whey — it can help with the fermentation process.

5.      
Use it to thin out homemade hummus or pesto
sauce.

6.      
Cook your quinoa in whey for added flavor.

7.      
Add it to your soups and stews (Remember that
this will not work for all recipes, though).

8.      
Keep feta cheese fresh by submerging it in whey.

9.      
Use it to water your plants for extra
nourishment. Just remember to dilute the whey with water so it will not
“burn” your plants.

10.  
Add it to your pet’s food. Whey can also be
fed to farm animals.

 

If you don’t have any immediate need for the whey, don’t
worry — you can easily freeze it for future use. Simply pour it into ice cube
trays or small cups and place them in the freezer. When you’re ready to use,
just pop out the cubes and defrost.[viii]



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Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal
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