David and Jill Fankhauser
Pouring yogurt into a
sterile handkerchief
13 March 1999, 18 Apr 99, 3 Jan 00

      This page has been accessed Counter   times since 26 July 2000.
L: draining labneh
R: draining finished

Labneh (or Laban, as some American-Lebaneese call it) is a Lebanese soft fresh cheese made from yogurt. It is eaten within a week or so of preparation. It is the easiest cheese to make that we know of, simply made by draining the whey out of yogurt. See my yogurt page for how to prepare yogurt.


1 quart yogurt
1 tsp salt

sterile handkerchief
two bowls


Materials to make labneh 1. Assemble ingredients: yogurt, salt, sterile handkerchief, two bowls, whisk, strainer.
2. Stir up a quart of yogurt to a smooth consistency, pour into bowl
3. Add one teaspoon of salt
4. Whisk to mix thoroughly
5. Place a sterile handkerchief in a strainer suspended over a medium sized bowl (larger than a quart). Pour in salted yogurt.
6. Lift the four corners of the cloth to make a "sling" and suspend over the bowl to catch the whey which drips through. (I used a strong rubber band looped around the four corners and over a faucet to suspend the cloth. Some people let the whey go down the drain.)
7. Suspend over the bowl to catch the whey which drains off. It can be suspended in a refrigerator to ensure freshness.
8. After about 24 hours, the whey has been drained off, remove and open up the cloth.
9. Here is the finished labneh on the draining cloth.
10. Finished labneh, molded into a ball. Store in the refrigerator.


Serve Labneh as they do in the Middle East:

  1. form into desired shape on a plate ( a slight depression in the middle holds the oil)
  2. drown in olive oil
  3. sprinkle with pulverized spearmint
  4. surround with Greek black olives.
Eat it with toasted pita bread slices, as the Arabs have done for millennia. Coffee compliments it well.
You can also use it like a slightly tart cream cheese.

Return to Fankhauser's Cheese Page


Go to David Fankhauser's Main Page

Send Email to: FANKHADB@UC.EDU