Your search for the perfect labaneh stops here with Chef Eyal Jagermann‘s recipe.
You might recognise the Israeli-born Chef from his days as the former Head Chef of The Barbary (an all-time favourite of mine). More recently, he’s launched a winning new restaurant concept, ANAN, celebrating hummus as it is eaten in the Middle East. In fact the word anan itself means ‘cloud’ in both Arabic & Hebrew, a nod to the light & fluffy texture of the very best hummus.
Well here, Eyal shares his super simple technique for whipping up homemade labaneh – a traditional Middle Eastern cheese made from yogurt. Labaneh is essentially yogurt that is hung and releases a lot of its water content, making the end result more concentrated in both texture and flavour, not to mention wickedly-versatile – working in salads, sandwiches, pastas or quite simply as a dip with Zaatar, good olive oil and bread!
- Clean cloth to strain the yogurt. A cheese/muslin cloth is the best, but if you can’t get any, use a clean kitchen cloth.
- 500 g yogurt (Greek yogurt works very well, but feel free to use low fat as well)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp salt.
- In a bowl, combine the yogurt with the lemon juice and salt; and mix well. The Labaneh mix is ready! Now it’s time to hang it in the fridge.
- Take your cloth and place the mixed yogurt inside. Then tie the 4 ends of the cloth and hang inside the fridge, placing a bowl underneath the cloth to gather the dripping liquid. Leave for 2 days, checking to make sure that the water doesn’t over-flood the bowl (as it did for Eyal!)
- After 2 days, the yogurt has released a lot of water, hence intensifying the flavour and texture of the cheese and transforming into beautiful creamy Labaneh, with a distinct zing from the lemon and the salt. Delicious.
- Untie and open the cloth, extract the Labaneh – make sure to get it all! This will keep well in the fridge for 2 weeks.
- As a bonus, why not roll out small Labaneh balls and coat them with Sumac and Zaatar. Store these in a container with 1 crushed clove of garlic and covered with olive oil. This is a traditional method to preserve the Labaneh and infuse flavour. It’s also really fun and tasty!
About Eyal Jagermann:
Tel Aviv born chef and restauranteur, Eyal Jagermann, trained and worked in Tel Aviv’s finest restaurants before moving to London to study culinary management Le Cordon Bleu. Eyal then went on to work as a chef and front of house at The Palomar, before co-founding The Barbary in Neal’s yard where he led the team as head chef. The Barbary received many plaudits, including TimeOut’s best restaurant in London two years in a row.
Eyal’s love and passion for Middle Eastern and Israeli food and heritage has led him to founding ANAN, a new restaurant concept that celebrates the wonderful culture and heritage of hummus eating in the Middle East. ANAN launched earlier this year in a very successful residency at Allpress Dalston Lane, and have plans to open in a permanent site as soon as circumstances allow..
We’d love to hear from you! Do let us know if you try this recipe – you can leave a comment below and/ or tag us in your delicious creations on Instagram @the_foodiediaries.
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