Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lebneh (cream cheese)

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Making LebnehMaking Lebneh Making LebnehMaking LebnehLebneh Cheese (cream cheese)Lebneh Cheese (cream cheese) before it was hung
Lebneh Cheese (cream cheese) hangingLebneh Cheese (cream cheese) hangingLebneh Cheese (cream cheese) hangingHanging the cheeseHanging the cheeseLebneh Cheese (cream cheese) hanging
Lebneh Cheese (cream cheese)Lebneh Cheese (cream cheese)Lebneh Cheese (cream cheese)

First Step: Make 1 quart of yogurt. click to see npr article on making yogurt
Second Step: Stir yogurt until smooth.
Third Step: Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
Fourth Step: Pour yogurt mixture into a sterilized cloth.
Fifth Step: Pull the four sides of the cloth together and hang over a bowl for 24 hours (room temperature)
Sixth Step: Shape the cheese and serve within a week. (Be sure to refrigerate after the 24 hour hanging process)

Notes on making cheese: I made the yogurt the night before and started the cheese process about noon the next day. Before I did anything with the yogurt, I sterilized the cloth. My linen cloth was in the shape of a bag already so I didn't need to worry about the four corner thing. To sterilize the cloth I soaked it in a pot of boiling water over the stove for about 15 minutes. I let it cool off while I mixed up the yogurt and salt. I layed the cloth in an empty bowl and then just poured the yogurt right into the cloth, no mess at all. When I hung the cloth up I used a paper clip and a bobby-pin to tighten the upper part of the cloth that had no yogurt in it. I did this so that the cheese would form closer together and not spread out all over the cloth. The cheese is supposed to be soft, so expect soft cheese! I used a knife to get the cheese out of the cloth. I formed it into a ball with my hands and set it on a plate. My hands were smeared with cream cheese after wards, it wasn't like play-dough or clay. It went great with thin crackers. Used like a cream cheese.

Some feedback I got from some taste testers were that at one day old the cheese tasted like a goat cheese and at 3 days old it was much more mild. So I guess depending on how you like your cream cheese, plan accordingly! It made a lot of cream cheese but it definitely wasn't a whole quart of cream cheese, just if you were wondering. A lot was drained out in the 24 hour hanging. The liquid that dripped out into the bowl was a cloudy white color, it's called whey.  Whey is a pure protein and is a life extending agent because it has glutathione which is an antioxidant that increases healthy immune systems.
University of Nebraska Medical Center has done whey protein studies on hamsters. The results have shown an increase on hamsters life spans by 60%! 
So not only does whey protein keep your bones and muscles nice and strong, it also extends your life!
And that's how you make Lebneh...cream cheese!