Yogurt cheese is essentially yogurt that has been strained so that most of the whey is removed leaving behind a creamy, thick yogurt. It is a simple cheese that is a delicious base for dips or turning into a spreadable cheese.
Types of Strained Yogurt
Strained yogurt is popular all over the world. It is found across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Regardless, the basic recipe remains the same. Yogurt is strained through several layers of cheesecloth, removing some of the whey. It is easy to make, low-fat and probiotic. Here is an overview of three types of strained yogurt and how to serve them.
Yogurt cheese is a thick, cream cheese-like spread that is lightly salted. However, it is much lower fat than cream cheese, so I recommend flavouring it if you plan on enjoying it as a spread. Herbs and other flavours will mask the low-fat nature of this simple cheese. Here are a few suggestions:
- To use yogurt cheese on crackers or bagels flavour it with herbs and garlic for a Boursin-inspired spread.
- Make a cinnamon yogurt cheese dip.
- Use strained yogurt to make a healthy cheesecake.
Greek yogurt is a thick yogurt that hasn’t been strained quite as much as for yogurt cheese. Most store-bought Greek yogurts are full of thickeners that give them a consistency that is more like yogurt cheese than strained yogurt. So homemade Greek yogurt will be a bit more spreadable. Here are a few ways to enjoy Greek yogurt.
- It is perfect for dips like tzatziki or beet dip.
- I like adding a dollop into the middle of a blueberry muffin prior to baking.
- Serve it with honey and walnuts for dessert.
To make Greek yogurt, strain for 4 to 6 hours and don’t add the salt.
Labneh is a tangy Middle Eastern strained yogurt, that is often served with meze. To make labneh, use 1 cup of goat’s milk and 1 cup of cow’s milk and follow the basic recipe. The result will be a deliciously tangy cheese.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of za’atar (affiliate link).
- Labneh can be turned into marinated cheese balls.
Simple Yogurt Cheese
Strained yogurt is also known as Greek yogurt or labneh. It is thick and creamy yogurt. Perfect for making dips or spreading on crackers. See the section above for how to customize this yogurt cheese recipe for Greek yogurt or labneh.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup 1x
- Category: Cheese
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 2 cups of yogurt
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Line a strainer with two layers of cheesecloth.
- Pour in the yogurt and leave it to drain for 24 hours. If your house is warmer than 70F (21 C), then put the yogurt into the fridge to drain.
- The whey is probiotic and healthy, so don’t pour it down the drain. See the notes for some ideas on how to use the whey.
- Scrape the strained yogurt into a container for storage. Mix in the salt.
- Store in the fridge and use within two weeks. See the sections above for different serving options.
- I recommend using homemade yogurt for the best flavour and consistency. Store-bought yogurt often contains thickeners, which won’t finish as nicely.
- The whey can be added to smoothies, used for baking or as a culture for other ferments. Here are my favourite ways to use up whey.
- Cheap grocery store cheesecloth has a much looser weave than cheesemaking cheesecloth. If you plan on making lots of yogurt cheese, it’s worth buying a package of quality cheesecloth (affiliate link).
Keywords: Lebanese, Mediterranean, Greek yogurt, labneh, strained yogurt, breakfast, dessert, snack, spread, gluten-free, keto, low-fat