Makes 2 litres
2 litres of whole milk
200g whole milk powder
small tub plain live yogurt (115g)
I have made yogurt in a number of different ways and my message is simple. This is really easy to do. The ingredients are for whole milk as that gives the best result, and is necessary for labneh. Frankly, how much yogurt are you planning to eat? Why not just have it with milk the way it came out the cow?
Pour all the milk into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and allow it to come to a temperature that allows you to stick your finger in and be able to bear it. So….its hot but not so hot as to scald you. Whisk in the powdered milk and the “culture” which is the little tub of live yogurt and in St. Lucia, I wrap the whole saucepan in a thick towel and put it in the unlit oven overnight. In the UK I just stick it in the airing cupboard.
I am sure you can imagine the excitement when you cautiously stick a spoon in the next morning and as if by magic it has “yog-ed”
When Stephanie and Louise were babies (they are 25 now) we use to go to Shahnaz for our haircuts. In fact she cut their hair before she cut mine. Our relationship developed over the next few years into a friendship and she and I went through our second pregnancies at the same time so I started going to her house for haircuts. She would often have either yogurt or labneh or both on the go and it was from her that I learned to make and appreciate both. Shahnaz is from the middle east, which is the origin of labneh.
Labneh is a spreadable “cheese”, not dissimilar in taste to feta. You can leave it pure and unadorned as I have this time, or you can roll it into balls and store it in olive oil in the fridge the way Shahnaz does. You could also flavour it further with herbs like chopped coriander (cilantro) or chopped nuts like pistachio. Whatever you choose to do with it, labneh is a treat added to salads or spread on bread.
350g home made yogurt
1 heaped tsp salt
You need to prepare the contraption for straining the yogurt. I use a clean muslin cloth which ironically has survived from baby days, open it over a strainer and sit that on top a large jug. Whatever you choose needs to be comfortable and not gangly as this is going to take up a big space in your fridge if you are in warmer climes. When I’m in the UK I can leave this out in a quiet, cool corner of the kitchen.
Scoop out and weigh the 350g of delicious yogurt and stir in the salt. Dollop it into the waiting straining system and cover over with the flaps of the cloth. Place in the fridge (or not) for 36 or 48 hours. You will see the clear-ish whey of the milk accumulate in the jug below which is destined for pouring down the drain.
Shahnaz used to leave hers for days, but you can decide when you’ve got enough sturdiness. All you want to be able to do is to form balls which stick together.