Lebneh is soft cream cheese obtained after straining the yogurt. It is an integral part of Middle Eastern cuisine. It can be easily made at home and is a healthier option to cream cheese. Use it as a spread on bread, bagel, and pita, as a dip for vegetables or even in baking. You can keep the cheese soft by straining the yogurt for shorter periods. Here I have made small balls from very stiffened cheese. Kept some in dipped in extra virgin oil, while some I have rolled in different flavors. The flavors I have used are zatar, mint, Paprika and rose petals. Some other flavors you can use are crushed pistachio, sumac, Nigella seeds or Sesame seeds. You can play with flavors, depending on what is available in your pantry. These colorful jewles as I would like to call them, will add glamour to any table. Always use whole milk. I have used organic buffalo whole milk.
Ingredients Buffalo whole milk 1 litre Salt 1/2 tsp Extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup or more For dusting Dried mint Crushed rose petals Zatar Paprika pd.
Boil whole milk.
Once it cools down set yogurt.
Tie the yogurt in a cheesecloth and let it hang for 12 hours.
After 8 hours add 1/2 a tsp of salt. Mix lightly and let it continue to hang.
Carve out 1 tbsp portions from the thick cheese.
Roll it into balls.
If it sticks to your palms, grease them with oil.
Spread a fresh cheesecloth on a plate and arrange these balls on it.
Take care that they donot stick to each other.
Cover with cheesecloth and let them sit in the fridge for twenty four hours.
Take extra virgin olive oil, roll these balls lightly to coat.
Now roll in the flavor of your choice.
Arrange them on a platter.
Cover with a cling wrap and keep them in the fridge, till the time of serving.
You can keep some plain, simply dipped in olive oil.
Use of different colored flavors adds more drama.