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Friday, September 4, 2009

I wanted to try this Lebanese cheese for a while. Nothing new under the sun, these cheese balls have been traveling all over the blogosphere for quite a long time, and before me they've been made, shot, eaten and praised by Sigrid, Virginia and ChicaJo, to name a few.

It may be unnecessary to tell you why this labna (or lubneh) immediately won me over, but since a few careless readers are probably pulling their hair out of curiosity, ans since I'm also a very nice girl, I'll tell you one more time. First of all, I'm totally in love with fresh cheeses, and I'm totally in love with those that are white, soft and creamy. Secondly, since not only I'm a very very nice girl, but I'm also a somewhat lazy girl, I have a slight preference for the recipes-non-recipes, the ones that require very few ingredients and absolutely no effort, but that always meet with success. It's so nice when your incredulous friend asks you Did YOU make this?? and you can safely come out in the open and admit that in reality it doesn't take much. And no matter how hard you try to convince him that Really, it's THAT easy, you can easily bet that no-one will ever believe you...

But after all, since I'm still a Girl In The Kitchen, I thought that in order to make this labna, I had to approach it in a roundabout way. Therefore, instead of starting from yogurt, I started from milk, with which I made yogurt, with which I then made labna. And yet, if I was a slightly more serious girl, I would have made from scratch even the pita bread to go with, but I decided to leave it to the next episode instead : )


yogurt (Greek style would be better) 1 quart
salt 2 teaspoons
spices of your choice (thyme, sesame seeds, oregano, pepper, sumac)
extra-virgin olive oil

Mix yogurt with salt and pour it into cheesecloth or a piece of fabric with a not too thick weave. If cheesecloth is loosely woven, fold it in two. Gather the four edges and tie them together to form a small bag. Hang the cloth with the yogurt over a bowl and let it drain in the refrigerator. Let it there for 24 hour to a maximum of three days, it depends on the yogurt thickness and on the texture you'd like the cheese to be.
Untie the cloth, collect the labna and form small balls. Season them with a mix of spices of your choice and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Serve with warm pita bread.
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