Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Home made Yogurt and Cheese Yogurt - Laban and Labneh

Lebanese Cheese Yogurt - Labneh with fresh Lebanese mint and tomatoes from the garden
Have you noticed that the yogurt section of most grocery stores has practically taken over the dairy aisle? It’s getting harder to find more traditional dairy foods, such as cottage cheese and sour cream, amid the sea of yogurt options. But it only makes sense that a food with as many health benefits as yogurt be given prime real estate in the supermarket.
And just what are the health benefits of yogurt?
First off, your body needs to have a healthy amount of ''good'' bacteria in the digestive tract, and many yogurts are made using active, good bacteria. One of the words you’ll be hearing more of in relation to yogurt is ''Probiotics.'' Probiotic, which literally means ''for life,'' refers to living organisms that can result in a health benefit when eaten in adequate amounts. (Keep in mind that the only yogurts that contain probiotics are those that say "live and active cultures" on the label.)
And let us not forget that yogurt comes from milk. So yogurt eaters will also get a dose of animal protein (about 9 grams per 6-ounce serving), plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium, and magnesium.
In fact, the health benefits of yogurt are so impressive that many health-conscious people make it a daily habit. Here are five possible health benefits of having a yogurt a day:
Benefit No. 1: Yogurt May Help Prevent Osteoporosis
Benefit No. 2: Yogurt May Reduce the Risk of High Blood Pressure
A recent study, which followed more than 5,000 Spanish university graduates for about two years, found a link between dairy intake and risk of high blood pressure
Benefit No. 3: Yogurt with Active Cultures Helps the Gut
Yogurt with active cultures may help certain gastrointestinal conditions, including:
· Lactose intolerance
· Constipation
· Diarrhea
· Colon cancer
· Inflammatory bowel disease
· H. pylori infection
Benefit No. 4: Yogurt with Active Cultures May Discourage Vaginal Infections
Benefit No. 5: Yogurt May Help You Feel Fuller

And the most important is making yogurt at home is healthier than buying yogurt from the store which includes sugar, salt, lots of preservatives which is not healthy for your body .

Preparing yogurt at home is very simple and easy and when you try it once trust me you will never buy yogurt.

All you need is full fat milk, organic natural yogurt for starter or any good quality natural full fat yogurt with bacteria, and a heavy pot with a lid,

Boil the milk until bubbles are showing around surface, take it from the heat and let it cool .Make sure that your hands are extra clean; you are using your index to test the milk. To test the temperature of the milk, dip your index in the milk , you should be able to handle the heat till you count till No. 10 before the heat force you to withdraw your finger, if its cold you need to cook it couple of seconds more , if its too hot you need to cool it and try your index again. Make sure that the milk is in the right temperature to add the starter, if it’s cold it will not ferment, and if it’s too hot you will kill the starter.  If it happened and you cook your milk too hot its okay leave it to cool a bit and try your index finger again to test it... as long as you can handle the heat and count till 10 you achieved the right temperature.

Temper the starter with some warm milk before you add it to the pot, and stir to dissolve and mix in the milk, cover with the lid. If you have an old blanket cover the pot and leave it in a warm place where it will not be touched or moved for at least 8 hours. Usually I prepare the yogurt at night and keep it inside the micro till the second day. Where I take the lid off and put the pot in the fridge to cool at least four hours before I use it.
Save couple spoons of new starter for next time.

For Labneh or cheese yogurt : I turn my yogurt into a cheesecloth linen bag, and tie the bag and let it drain for at least one hour, then I put it in a strainer over a bowl in the fridge and empty the bowl every hour, for at least 24-48 hours , depends how thick you like the yogurt cheese. Add one tsp of salt.

Serve on pita sandwich with some olives mint and tomatoes.


Passionate About Baking said...

Yes I agree, there can never be less said said about the benfits of yogurt. I make my own too, almost everyday & made a load of curd cheese like this. In fact I've begun using curd cheese for frozen sorbets, mousse tarts, ice-cream etc. It's finger-licking good!!

Arlette said...

Oh really, curd cheese for dessert?? this is a new idea I need to try .. Thanks Deeba for Sharing

Anonymous said...

Hello Arlette. I love your site. The food is great.
I tried this yogurt receipe, but somehow it turned up a bit tart, especially the second time. The first time I used Balakan style for starter. The next time I used a starter from the same finised yogurt. What can I do to make it less sour? Thanks and keep up the great work.

Arlette said...

Hello there.
is the flavour a little tartier than sour cream..?? if yes this is the right flavour of real yogurt and you achieved that.
the store brands has chemicals and you dont taste the real flavour.
if the taste is too tarty it means either:
1-old starter? don't keep the starter too long in the fridge before using and in close container it will make it very tarty... I leave it in an open jar... for max 10 days
I read that we can freeze the starter, never tried it yet.

2-did you mix two kinds of milk (goat & cow)
goat milk has tart flavour - which is good.

3-when you put the yogurt in the fridge to cool, did you leave the cover on. It must be open.
Sometimes to achieve the extra tart flavour to make my cheese yogurt I cover the pot and leave it cover for couple of days before I strain it.

Try to add some salt and mix well.
If you are using half with fruit, divide into two containers before adding salt to one. make Cheese Yogurt with the other half,the flavours will be great in a sandwiche using the above veggies with it.
The plain yogurt I grew up eating has a little tart flavours....

thank you very much for your visits...
let me know how it turns

Taste of Beirut said...

Thanks for the important info Arlette. I am trying my hand at labneh balls this week. It is fun.

Marisa said...

Hello There:

I also make my own yogurt, but instead of buying any yogurt to start with I make my own "sample". To do so I have two techniques depending on how sauer I want it.
The most sauer one I start with warm milk and add some lemon juice, then bring it to boil and let it rest for some hours, after that I separete the solids (it has a cheese texture) and that I use to make the laban.

The other option is I boil milk and leave it to warm down and then I add a piece of white bread (baguette will do it), add some powder milk, cover it and leave it to ferment in a warm but not hot place for 2/3 days.

In both recepies is necesary to filter the whey.

I hope you find this useful and forgive my bad english.