I've been making Labna for years. Little Middle Eastern inspired balls of drained yoghurt to which you add herbs or spices for flavour. They're delicious with toast or Turkish bread, but I find DH and DD won't eat them because they don't look like 'normal' cheese. You know what kids and husbands can be like. Anything vaguely different is eyed with suspicion.
Well, this week we were running low on our cream cheese for morning toast with tomato, but I had a full tub of home made Greek yoghurt.
So I plopped it into a large jug that I'd lined with a double layer of muslin, tied the corners of the muslin to a wooden spoon, and left the yoghurt suspended until all the liquid whey had drained from it. I'd check the jug several times a day and discard the whey, so that the yoghurt wasn't left sitting in it. This actually took about 3 days, so we had to make do without cream cheese for a day or two.
Once I noticed that no further liquid had drained, or very little, I checked the ball of yoghurt. Sure enough, it was a thick and solid and lush as commercial cream cheese.
I tipped the last of the whey out, and upended the yoghurt cheese into the jug.
I then added seasoning and herbs, and put it into a sealed container.
My husband went to check the fridge for cream cheese to put on crackers for afternoon tea, and I just casually said 'yeah, in the container with the blue lid'. He didn't even ask why it wasn't in the normal tub, he just spread it on his crackers, ate two helpings and then asked where the yummy cream cheese had come from! I'm assuming that because it looked like the normal cream cheese, it was acceptable...lol!
So here's how:
Up to 500gms thick natural Greek yoghurt
Herbs, salt, pepper
2 litre jug or bowl
Two squares of Muslin or clean, rinsed Chux style cloth, about 30 x 30cm
Line the jug with the muslin or clean chux cloth.
Tip the yoghurt into the middle of the cloth in the jug.
Sit the wooden spoon across the top of the jug and tie the 2 pairs of diagonally opposite corners above the handle so that the bundle ends up suspended a few centimetres from the base of the jug. A bit like a Hobos swag.
Sit the jug in the fridge and allow it to drain. At first you'll have to empty the whey several times a day, but towards the end, twice a day will do it, as the amount of whey lessens.
When it's really thick, just like cream cheese, it's ready.
Drain the jug, tip the cheese in, add salt, pepper and herbs to your liking and it's ready. I like onion, lots of freshly ground pepper, a bit of garlic, dill, parsley and thyme, but I've also done lemon zest and chilli, basil and oregano, and mint, lemon and pepper.
Use as you would normal cream cheese :)
You see this stuff sold in posh delicatessens for ridiculous prices. I'm talking $9 for a 250gm tub. Silly really when all you have to do is drain a bit of yoghurt!