Easy Cheese

No, not the stuff in a can that you squirt at your significant other, but rather the easiest homemade cheese you can make, with the least possible amount of equipment--labneh.  

I've dabbled in cheese making from time to time.  Divine homemade mozzarella.  A nice little block of farmhouse cheddar.  But I always come back to labneh.

Labneh (pronounced lab-neigh, if you're curious) is a Middle Eastern cheese made of strained yogurt.  It's spreadable--it basically has the consistency of cream cheese--but tangy.

To make it, get yourself to the store and buy a container of plain yogurt.  Just plain, regular yogurt is fine, although buying Greek yogurt (which already is slightly strained) will speed the process up a bit.  

Then, pour your yogurt out onto the center of a clean white dishtowel.  You can use cheesecloth if you want to be fancy, but a dishtowel really works just as well.  Pick up the corners of the towel and tie or otherwise afix them underneath the top shelf in your refrigerator, so that the yogurt is suspended in the towel.  Put a bowl underneath to catch the whey that will soon be dripping out, and in anywhere from 24-36 hours, you'll have labneh.  (P.S. For a picture of exactly how to hang the cheese, see picture #9 here.)

But the fun doesn't stop there.  While it's very good plain or with just a little salt, I almost always have to add a little somethin' somethin' to my labneh to really put it over the top.  In its latest incarnation, I mixed in a tablespoon of honey for a slightly sweeter cheese that's perfect with one of Sweet Husband's biscuits.  Just about any chopped, fresh herb you want to toss in is also delicious, as is garlic.  Just mash up the cheese a bit, add your topping, and then reform it into a pretty little ball.

And throw that canned stuff out!  I know the bottle is fun to squirt, but it really is a scary color!