This recipe is such a treat, there's nothing quite like the tangy, creamy taste of labneh which immediately makes my mind wander to the most gorgeous breakfast in rural Jordan near Umm Qais, surrounded by rolling hills and the distant sound of bleating goats and the bells that clatter as they travel across the fields. Breakfast in Jordan, is a rather savory affair. Picture glorious plates of smooth hummus, labneh cheese delicately dusted with za'atar, crispy falafel, soft flatbreads and black olives that are wrinkled, shriveled and briny, but the perfect salty relief and rejuvenation when days are spent sweating, laboring in the heat. The only sweet element of such a breakfast is usually a sweet yet tart apricot jam which tastes like heaven on the bread with a dollop of labneh. On this note, despite the recipe below being savory, labneh can be paired with honey-roasted peaches, pears or other fruits as an indulgent dessert.
Labneh is essentially made of thick yogurt which is strained to become a thick, cheese-like texture. The whole process takes about 12 hours, with little effort required, just a little bit of patience and imagination.
Firstly you will need to source a cheese cloth which is an essential item for this recipe, some specialized cooking shops will sell them or alternatively amazon.
Mix the yogurt with the salt and spoon into the muslin cloth, then fold the cloth in and tie the sides together in a knot so you have a sealed little bag of yogurt. Tie this pouch with an elastic band onto the taps on your kitchen sink and leave to strain overnight. This may seem a little absurd at first but it's totally worth it. 12 hours later the majority of the liquid should have drained and the consistency should be thicker. I'd recommend putting the pouch directly into the fridge so it can thicken some more, ready to be rolled into balls.
With your hands roll the sticky labneh into balls then sprinkle with za'atar and drizzle with plenty of olive oil. Serve as part of a mezze selection or as a meal by it's self, flatbreads are an essential accompaniment though bear in mind.