Bethany Kehdy

A Champion of Middle Eastern Food & Recipes

Labneh -Three Different Flavours & Village Memories


I grew up on a farm for part of my childhood, during the turbulent civil war in Beirut, Lebanon. As many other Lebanese, we fled the city (many more left the country altogether), in search of refuge in the mountains. As every family traditionally hails from a village, we returned to our home village of Baskinta. My father, an international lawyer, started a dairy farm and began planting the land where we grew just about everything. We were self-sustained, a practice my father still tries to uphold as much as possible today. So, when I was eight, I had the pleasure (or pain- when the thing decides to karate kick you) of sometimes milking a cow, picking apples and cherries for what seemed to be hours on end, watering garden terraces and making cheese, amongst them Labneh.


Some of the terraces I watered as a child.


Cabbage, broccoli, lettuce and tomatoes. I believe it’s green onions in the background.

Cherry Tree

Passing through the village, stopping to take shade under a cherry tree.

Labneh is a Middle Eastern soft cheese made by straining yoghurt in a muslin cloth, for about 24 hours or longer, depending on thickness desired. It is commonly made using cow’s milk but goat’s milk is also used seasonally.

In Lebanon, labneh is enjoyed for breakfast drizzled with olive oil, za’atar (wild thyme and sesame seeds mixture), tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, fresh mint and of course, arabic bread-the thin mountain bread is the best with this. It is also served as part of a Mezza, where pounded garlic is added along with some freshly chopped mint. Now that is a delicacy! School-bound children are given tartines for lunch; usually arabic bread wraps lathered with labneh, zaatar and the child’s preferred condiments- olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.

Although I absolutely love plain labneh, I’m also the adventurous type and I think it would be so fun to start introducing new ideas and flavours to this ubiquitous Lebanese ingredient. So, I’ve thought up of some different ingredients and flavours that would compliment creamy labneh.


I made the classic labneh (left) using goat’s milk, and a spicier labneh with red chillies, garlic, and dill as well as a sweet labneh using ginger and orange blossom honey. They were all a hit! To make the labneh balls, simply strain the labneh for longer until it hardens and becomes easier to shape into sturdy ball, then add the flavours and seasonings you wish, before preserving in olive oil.

Labneh is very easy to make and I guarantee that once you give it a try, it is surely to become a staple in your household.


Labneh -Three Different Flavours & Village Memories
Classic Labneh-Goat’s milk
  • 500g/1 lb 2 oz goat’s milk yoghurt
  • ½ tsp of salt (this helps to reduce the acidity and improves flavour)
  • 1 bowl
  • 1 colander
  • A couple of layers of muslin cloth, washed and dried
  • kitchen rope
Labneh with Garlic, Red Chillies and Dill
  • 1 portion strained yoghurt or labneh as per above recipe
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped red chili (about 1 chili)
  • 1 garlic clove, pounded
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
Ginger and Orange Blossom Honey Labneh
  • 1 portion strained yoghurt or labneh as above recipe
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom honey (or plain honey)
  • ½ tsp orange blossom water
Classic Labneh-Goat’s milk
  1. In a bowl mix the yoghurt and salt to combine.
  2. Place the colander over a bowl, line with the muslin cloth and add the yoghurt mixture, then tie the muslin cloth and leave overnight or for 24 hours in the fridge for the whey to collect in the bowl.
  3. Transfer the strained yoghurt or labneh to a serving dish, cover and keep in fridge till ready to serve with a little bit of olive oil drizzled over and some tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and bread as sides. Alternatively, season as per below recipes.
  4. Note: Labneh becomes more sour as it ages. It should keep well covered and chilled up to 2 weeks. If made into balls and preserved in olive oil, then it will keep a couple of months and up to a year if done correctly.Do not discard the whey. You can use it in baking, soups, etc. It is full of healthy minerals.
Labneh with Garlic, Red Chillies and Dill
  1. In a bowl mix all the ingredients above and then add to the yoghurt mixture. Strain further if you wish to create labneh balls otherwise serve immediately.
Ginger and Orange Blossom Honey Labneh
  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl, mix well and serve with Arabic bread. Alternately, strain it further and roll into balls. I wouldn’t preserve these in olive oil as they are quite sweet.


20 thoughts on “Labneh -Three Different Flavours & Village Memories

  1. thanks for the idea, will try it,
    but one question, you add herbs/salt/stuff before putting in the towel or after the 24h in the fridge, there is one photo with yoghurt in the towel without any herbs and one with.

  2. I am ready for a DKS cookbook. It will be my new bible!! You just keep getting better and better. Please come to Maui and DIRTY my kitchen

  3. I love the idea of the Labneh with Garlic, Red Chillies and Dill.. I crave it now, your pictures are so enticing.. will try it for sure 🙂 THNX!

  4. Melanie-Enjoy 🙂
    Schtief- I mix it all together in a bowl before adding to the muslin. The ginger and honey labneh will not change color…
    The graphic foodie: Looking forward myself. I love italian 🙂
    Jo-C: Very soon. Thank you 🙂
    Lama: It really is delicious, very easy to make, so go for it. And feel free to get creative, as im sure you will 🙂

  5. Lovely post Beth I liked reading about the farm and looking at those pictures.

    These recipes are great, I need to get some more muslin cloth but as soon as I do I will make this and let you know how it goes.

    Both look delicious!

  6. beth i love your ideas specially your memorable pictures of the labneh in the village. i had this morning for breakfast your menu’s labneh so delicious and tasty

  7. Ooh, your labneh looks delicious!! Some people like peanut butter, but I think that labneh on toast is the real breakfast of champions. I have 4 jars of oil packed labneh in my fridge as we speak (presents from my precious aunties).

  8. Perfection. I just made this. I have been living in Maui for 6 years and been deprived of the essential Lebanese breakfast. . . up until NOW!!! THANKKKKKS DKS =) !! The Labneh came out perfect, made me feel right at home, back in Lebanon.

  9. I love the idea of sweet labneh. Also, the beautiful and evocative photos and your backstory which guided us to the food in a way that gave real meaning and texture to the recipes. Thank you for this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *