Recipe courtesy of May Yacoubi

Labneh Cheese

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 8 hr 15 min (includes draining time)
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

Labneh:

2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Seed and Herb Coating:

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

2 tablespoons ground sumac

2 tablespoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons dried mint

2 tablespoons nigella seeds

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cups olive oil, plus more for oiling hands

Serving suggestions:

Pita bread, green olives, pickled cucumber, mint leaves, zaatar and red tea

Directions

  1. For the labneh: stir the salt into the yogurt, then transfer the mixture to a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth to shape the yogurt into a ball and give it a gentle squeeze. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth into a knot. Tie a few inches of twine to the cheesecloth and suspend it from a small rod or chopstick set over a tall container (make sure the cheesecloth pouch is a few inches above the bottom of the container).
  2. Place the entire container in the refrigerator to drain. For firm labneh cheese that can be shaped into balls, let sit overnight. (For creamy, softer labneh let it sit only 6 to 8 hours.)
  3. For the seed and herb coating: after the labneh has drained overnight, mix the sesame seeds, sumac, dried thyme, dried mint, nigella seeds and red pepper flakes together in a shallow dish.
  4. Oil your hands and shape the cheese into 2 tablespoon-sized balls. Roll each ball in the spice mixture to coat completely and place in a 32-ounce airtight container. Cover the cheese with 2 cups olive oil and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
  5. Serve with bread, green olives, pickled cucumber, mint leaves, zaatar and red tea. 
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