Labna, Lebaneh, Laben

Recipe by Weewah
READY IN: 72hrs 15mins
YIELD: 5 cups


  • 1
    gallon whole milk (or 2%, goats milk would be SUPER if you can get it)
  • 12
    cup yogurt, with active cultures (PLAIN -not vanilla!)
  • salt, to taste


  • To make the yoghurt, pour a gallon of milk in a pot with a very heavy bottom and put it on the fire until it starts to boil, or even just foam heavily.
  • Stir occasionaly to prevent the milk from burning.
  • Turn off the heat and let the milk cool (stir to cool quicker) just until you can stick your pointer finger way down it without getting burned.
  • Take the active yoghurt culture and pour it down the side of the pan into the milk. I usually do this is a couple of different spots.
  • Cover the milk with a close fitting lid and wrap the pot well in a heavy blanket or two. You are holding in that heat, and it will soon start to generate it's own heat, which you are also conserving with the blanket.
  • Place it somewhere warm where it won't be disturbed for 24 hours. I have successfully made this after the yoghurt was let to develop from 24 - 36 hours.
  • If you'd rather, merely wrap the pot in a bath-towel -wrap the lid too- and set it on a heating pad on low. I've started doing this and it works great too.
  • After you have yoghurt, dump it into an inside out pillow case (lint will be in the inside corners) and suspend the pillow case up over a drain of some sort. I tie mine up to the safety bar on the wall over the bathtub (less traffic than the kitchen sink).
  • The yoghurt will begin to drain whey immediately, I let mine go for 24-36 hours depending on how stiff or soft (w/ remaining liquid content) I want it. Usually 24 hours.
  • When it's as firm as you'd like, turn the cheese into a mixing bowl and salt to taste. I use around 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons salt. I know, it's a lot. I think the salt was originally a preservative, but that's the way I like it.
  • Elias' mum used to make balls of this cheese and store it in stoneware crocks, covered in olive oil. I keep it in a mixing bowl in the fridge, smoothed flat and covered in olive oil. It keeps a long time like that. If it's going to be eaten quickly, doesn't need the oil for preserving, just eating : ).
  • Enjoy this for a n Arabic breakfast with flat bread (pita) and olive oil. It is also good flavored with garlic, dill or za'ater to your taste. Also pine nuts!