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Yogurt Cheese Balls “Labneh”, makes one of the middle eastern stable breakfast dish and a quick standby for a snack spread on pita bread or crackers.
Preserved in oil, “Labneh Mokawara” yogurt cheese balls, is one of the old and essential middle eastern pantry food. Stored in a special storage room alongside with other foods like brine cheese, dried legumes and beans, wheat, spices and pickles. That was an old way to store middle eastern food items. Nowadays everything is available in stores and ready for quick pick up.
Making yogurt cheese at home is very easy, it’s no more than yogurt that has been strained to separate it’s whey component, usually by hanging the yogurt in cloth bags. To make the cheese balls, you need to shape them into pearly little balls, then stack in olive oil. As the natural bacteria present in the yogurt ferment, the flavor is slightly modified.
To make yogurt cheese spread:
Yogurt (homemade recipe here)
Pour the cold yogurt into a cloth or cheese cloth bag, sprinkle with salt and mix. Tie and let hang to drain for 1 day (I found that my kitchen cabinet door knob is a good hanger, you may try that).
Remove yogurt from bag and place in a mixing bowl. Add more salt if need it. refrigerate in a covered container. It’s prefered to spread the top of the yogurt cheese with some olive oil to store for long time and prevent the mold from forming on the top.
To make the yogurt cheese balls:
the same for the cheese spread, but in order to be able to roll the yogurt into a ball you need to let the yogurt hang to drain for more time until it becomes the consistency of cream cheese.
Remove yogurt from the bag and place in a large bowl. Add salt if need it and mix. Make balls the size of a walnut, using a little oil on the palm of your hands to prevent sticking. Place the balls on a clean towel for about 2 more hours to drain more of the moisture.
To make yogurt cheese balls flavored with fresh mint and sun-dried tomato:
chop some sun-dried tomato and some fresh mint leaves, mix together. Roll the yogurt balls into the mixer, then in olive oil. Drop into sterilized Jars, covered with oil and seal.
to make za’tar coated cheese balls:
Roll the yogurt balls into za’tar spice mix, then in olive oil. Arrange the balls into the cleaned jars, add more oil and seal.
To make a humble quick breakfast yogurt cheese sandwich:
This is my favorite breakfast sandwich, just be creative, you may add whatever you want. Love it with some pickle on the side.
1`small cucumber, grated coarsely
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped black or green olives
2-3 tablespoons Labneh (yogurt cheese spread)
Mix all, spread on toasted bread slices, and enjoy.
Highly recommended 🙂 : Serve with your choice of pickles on the side.