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Yogurt cheese on toast

Labna, also spelt labne, labneh or labnah, is a drained yogurt-based cheese popular on mezze platters in Middle Eastern cuisine. It can be drained for longer than 24 hours; the longer it is drained, the firmer it will become. Labna will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Yogurt cheese on toast

Ingredients

  • 1 pide (Turkish flat bread), halved crosswise and cut into pieces, toasted
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sumac (optional)
  • Labna
  • 2 cups (500 g) low-fat thick Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Preparation

  1. To make the labna, combine yogurt, salt, pepper and garlic in a medium bowl. Put a medium mesh strainer over a bowl. Rinse a 25 cm (10 inch) piece of muslin (cheesecloth) in hot water. Wring out, then line strainer with muslin. Put yogurt mixture in strainer and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 24 hours to drain.
  2. Turn labna onto a plate and remove muslin.
  3. Spread toasted pide with labna. Top each piece with a slice of tomato, drizzle over oil and sprinkle with sumac, if using, then serve.

Cook’s tips

Labna is much lower in salt and fat than most other cheeses, and it provides good amounts of protein and calcium, as well as probiotics from the yogurt.

Fine muslin or cheesecloth is available from fabric stores and some kitchenware stores.

Sumac is a dried berry that is ground and used in Middle Eastern dishes to add a lemony flavour.

Serves 8
Preparation: 15 minutes, plus 24 hours draining


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