Yogurt divides people. No it really does. You either love it or you hate it. I am on the love side of the equation but with a caveat, I love unflavoured, unsweetened pot set yogurt that’s thick and creamy naturally (some brands use thickeners to get to that consistency).
When I discovered the other day how easy it was to actually make yogurt I started to experiment with different yogurt recipes. This Mediterranean Labneh is one of my favourites. It’s fantastic as a pre-dinner snack with either fresh vegetables, grilled Turkish or woodfired bread.
Oh and you don’t need to make your own yogurt, I like to use plain, unsweetened pot set, Greek or organic style yogurts.
For this recipe you will need a strainer and bowl that it can fit over, a cheese cloth and a glass jar (I use an old jam jar that I have cleaned sterilised). I bought my cheese cloth at the local $2.00 shop and I’m sure you can find in most well stocked supermarkets. You will need to prepare this recipe one day ahead.
2 cups of unsweetened, plain, pot set yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons of coarse salt
2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
bunch of fresh or dried thyme sprigs
4 dried bay leaves
5 fresh basil leaves (for garnish only)
Line your strainer with two layers of cheese cloth and place over your bowl. Make sure you have enough cloth to also cover your yogurt. Pour yogurt into the strainer, cover with the remaining cheese cloth and sprinkle with salt. Place in your refrigerator overnight to allow the whey to drain from the yogurt.
Place the remaining ingredients (except the basil leaves) in a heavy based saucepan. On a stove top, heat on medium until oil becomes fragrant and small bubbles start to appear on the surface (do not boil). Remove from heat and let cool over night. This allows all of the ingredients to infuse into the oil.
The next day you should have a much thicker looking yogurt inside the cheese cloth. At this point I like to taste it and add more salt if I think it needs it. Discard the whey in the bowl. With a metal tablespoon scrape the yogurt off the cheese cloth and drop into the infused oil, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving to allow the flavours to combine. Because this is a fresh cheese you will need to consume wit in one week.