Organic Kefir Labneh

Recipe by Rachel De’Thample – Author and fermentation expert, currently teaching at River Cottage.

Straining the whey from organic kefir or yogurt yields a small, mildly fermented fresh cheese which is rich in probiotics and completely delicious. If you strain it long enough, it’ll thicken enough to fully hold its shape. From there, you can spoon it into a cheese mould or basket to make it more like a cheese, or you can eat it more like a spreadable cream cheese. It’s delicious in both sweet and savoury contexts. For the former, pair with honey and seasonal fruit or use as the base for a cheesecake. For savoury dishes, it’s gorgeous with roasted beetroot or mixed with garden herbs and garlic to slather on oat cakes.

Makes approx. 350g

Cooking Time:
4-12 hours
  1. Put the kefir or yogurt into a bowl and stir in the salt. Line a sieve or colander with a clean tea towel or a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour the kefir or yogurt into the cloth. Bring the sides of the cloth together and tie over the top to give you a kefir or yoghurt-filled parcel.

  2. Hang the parcel over a bowl, suspending it using string or more cloth tied around the handle of a cupboard or similar (or just leave it suspended over the bowl in the sieve). Let it hand and drip for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. If leaving it for any longer, it’s best to cover the bowl of collecting whey with cheesecloth. The longer you leave it to hang, the more whey you’ll get and the thicker the cheese will be.

    Typically, you lose around 1/3 of the weight, so a 500g bottle of kefir will yield roughly 350g of cheese and 150 whey.

  3. You can simply unwrap the cheese from the cheesecloth and serve as is – it’s lovely treated like a burrata, paired with slices of ripe tomato and fresh basil (and a few slices of raw baby courgettes if you’ve them to hand).

    Alternatively, you can age the cheese in the fridge for up to 1 week – sprinkle a dusting of salt over it and set it on plate. It makes an impressive dinner party piece. It’s delicious served with figs and honey.

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