Strained yoghurt, yoghurt cheese, labneh/labaneh, dahi, is yoghurt which has been strained in a cloth or paper bag or filter, traditionally made of muslin, to remove the whey, giving a consistency between that of yoghurt and cheese, while preserving yoghurt's distinctive sour taste. Like many yoghurts, strained yoghurt is often made from milk which has been enriched by boiling off some of the water content, or by adding extra butterfat and powdered milk.
Strained yoghurt is a traditional food in the Middle East and South Asia, where it is often used in cooking, as it is high enough in fat not to curdle at higher temperatures. It is used in both cooked and raw, savoury and sweet dishes.
Labneh (also spelled Labaneh, Lebnah, Labne, Labni, Arabic: لبنة) is a white Middle Eastern yoghurt cheese made from cow milk. Labneh, a word derived from the word 'laban', the surname labahn or laban means white or milk.
Strained yoghurt is used in Greek food mostly as the base for tzatziki dip, and as a dessert, where honey, sour cherry syrup, spoon sweets, are often served on top. A few savoury Greek dishes use strained yoghurt. In Greece, strained yoghurt, like yoghurt in general, is traditionally made from sheep's milk. More recently, cow's milk is often used, especially in industrial production
In Western Europe and the U.S., the term "Greek yoghurt" has come to mean strained yoghurt. "Greek-style" yoghurts are similar to Greek strained yoghurt, but may be thickened with thickening agents, or if made the traditional way, are based on domestic (rather than Greek) milk.
Strained yoghurt or labneh (also known as labni or lebni) is popular in the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula. Besides being used fresh, labneh is also dried then formed into balls, sometimes covered with herbs or spices, and stored in olive oil. Labneh is a popular mezze dish and sandwich ingredient.It is also a traditional Beduin food. The flavour depends largely on the sort of milk used: labneh from cow's milk has a rather milder flavour. Also the quality of olive oil topping influences the taste of labneh. Milk from camels and other animals are used in labneh production in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
Labneh (known as lebni in Armenian) is popular among Western Armenians from Levantine countries such as Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Syria.
In Lebanon, one type of goat-milk labni is known as Anbariz.. Labneh is most commonly made of cows' milk, which is available all year; it is also made from goats’ milk, from April to September. It is usually eaten at breakfast, or as a filling for pita sandwiches. Olive oil, vegetables, thyme, or other spices are usually added to plates and sandwiches
In the Palestinian Territories, labneh is often eaten for breakfast with olive oil, other cheeses, and bread alongside zaatar and olive oil.
In Syria it is eaten for breakfast with olive oil, cheese, olives and bread.
There are many different brands and types of labaneh in Israel. It is sold plain, as balls in olive oil, or with zaatar and olive oil. It is often eaten for breakfast with olive oil, other cheeses, and bread.
A thicker, higher-fat variety, süzme yoğurt or "strained yoghurt", is made by straining the yoghurt curds from the whey.
Dahi is an unstrained yoghurt predominantly made from water buffalo's milk and is very rich in fat and often sold in "throw away" clay pots in markets in the Indian Subcontinent. To be considered a strained yoghurt it is kept for a couple of hours in its clay pot which cools it and reduces the water content by evaporation from the clay's pores. For some dishes it is additionally strained.
In Afghanistan and Tajikistan, a type of strained yoghurt called "Chaka" is eaten.
Strained yoghurt is called jocoque árabe in Mexico. In recent years, it has been popularized by local producers of Lebanese origin and is widely popular in the country. The name jocoque is Nahuatl, and is also used for a variety of other fermented milk products.
Strained yoghurt has become popular in Northern European cookery, marketed as Greek yoghurt and Turkish yoghurt (10% fat) or as an alternative to cream in many dishes. Low-fat versions are available. In Denmark, a type of strained yoghurt, named ymer is available. In contrast to the Greek and Turkish variety, only a minor amount of whey is drained off in the production process. Ymer is traditionally consumed with the addition of ymerdrys (lit. Danish: ymer sprinkle), a mixture of bread crumbs made from rugbrød and brown sugar. As with other types of soured dairy products, ymer is often consumed at breakfast. Strained yoghurt topped with muesli and maple syrup is often served with brunch at cafés in Denmark.