Recipe by Um Safia
Laban (known as Le babeurre in French & buttermilk in English) is an important staple in the diet of many North African & Middle Eastern countries. These days it is incredibly simple to go to the store & buy it but if you cannot find it or just want to have a go at making it, then this is a great recipe. This is the traditional method of making laben, for a truly authentic taste use milk straight from the farm. If you can't get milk that fresh, regular full fat milk from the store is fine. You will need a 2 things to make the laben with (other than the ingredients!) 1st: A pot to store the milk in whilst it's 'sitting' - traditionally we use a large clay pot but any pot or pan large enough should do. 2nd: You will need a large bottle, like the kind get water in - with a capacity of around 6 litres if making the full amount of the recipe. The amounts in this recipe can easily be adjusted to allow you to make more or less laben.
Directions See How It's Made
- Pour the milk into the pot, cover with a plate or tray etc.
- Leave the milk to 'sit' for a day or two, out of direct sunlight (this recipe is based on a warm climate - this process may take a bit longer in a colder climate but never leave the milk longer than 3-4 days).
- Once the milk has totally coagulated - it will resemble a blancmange at this stage - put the milk into your large bottle.
- Now add the warm water to the bottle with the milk, fasten the lid tightly & begin shaking it. Shake for 20 minutes to begin with.
- After 20 minutes check to see if the milk & water has thoroughly combined. If it hasn't, shake it some more! You should eventually end up with a liquid that resembles single cream -- now you have laben.
- Pour the laben into a pan & scoop off the little yellow blobs of butter & store them in a container for later use!
- Now you should have traditional laben, keep it stored in the fridge if not using immediately.