Can You Freeze Labneh? How to use frozen Labneh?
Labneh is one of the most famous Middle Eastern food items and a Mediterranean treat loved by many chefs across the world. It has a cheesy texture and acts as a perfect substitute for cream cheese. Here is a list of tips and tricks to help you freeze labneh proficiently.
Before you get into the tips for freezing this middle eastern cheese you must know some basic details about labneh. Labneh is prepared from hung curd and is best if you could use it when it’s fresh. It has a sour taste and it’s used in many recipes to prepare dips, spreads, or salad dressings.
Though many people usually buy Labneh boxes from stores, you can prepare your version in your kitchen. Here’s a simple recipe to make labneh. To prepare labneh, whisk in some fresh Greek yogurt along with a pinch of salt. Then, wrap this whisked curd in a cheesecloth or muslin cloth and hang it to a ladle or spoon.
Make sure this ladle is hanging over a bowl and isn’t touching the inner surface of the bowl. Place this setup in the refrigerator for a night and allow it to cool. Then, remove the labneh from the cloth and now you can use it in your recipe!
Homemade Labneh Recipe – Make Labneh at home!
Although labneh is available in stores, nothing can beat the freshness and taste of the homemade one. So why not learn a quick homemade labneh recipe? Here are the ingredients required to make labneh at home.
- 32 oz whole milk yogurt
- ¾ tsp salt
Recipe for Labneh:
- Add Yogurt to a big bowl and add salt and mix.
- Now, line another dish with muslin or linen towels. Fill the lined dish with the yogurt mixture.
- Towel edges should be taken up and tied at the top. For a thick labneh you can leave it up to 48 hours.
- Use another linen towel or the linen towel’s overhang to lightly cover.
- Place aside for 24-48 hours to drain on the counter or in the refrigerator.
- Spread labneh in a bowl, then top with extra virgin olive oil and za’atar seasoning to serve (or chopped fresh herbs like mint or parsley).
- Well, you can roll the labneh into balls, marinate the balls in olive oil and add herbs, and serve them as a starter meal. This dish can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks
So, what to do with the labneh whey? Well, Any baking recipe that asks for water can be replaced with whey. For a tart flavor, try to add it to fresh bread, cornbread, pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuits, tortillas, and more. Works with fresh cheese whey that isn’t cultivated. Whole grains, legumes, and even crushed flours can be soaked in whey.
Labneh vs Greek Yoghurt
Ever wondered what is the difference between labneh, greek yoghurt, and yoghurt cheese? Let’s find out
Greek yogurt is lighter than labneh, which is similar to soft cream cheese in consistency. As per tradition, labneh is prepared from cow’s milk, but Greek yogurt is typically manufactured from goat’s milk. It is supposed to be consumed with savory dishes because it is creamier and tangier than yogurt. Labneh is also known as yogurt cheese in middle eastern cuisine.
Is it Possible to Freeze Labneh?
Practically speaking, it is quite a difficult task to freeze labneh effectively. Similar to other dairy products there is a high risk that the fat and water content in the labneh would separate. However, it isn’t entirely impossible to freeze labneh. Let us find out how to freeze the labneh.
If you have accidentally bought extra packets of labneh or prepared a large amount at home, then we are here to help you. Follow these easy yet effective steps to prevent the loss of texture and taste of your labneh.
The first thing that we will suggest for freezing labneh is to get hold of small portion-sized ziplock bags or airtight containers. If you are wondering why you must need them, let me solve your query.
Freezing labneh is difficult and to make this process easy, you must freeze it in portions you will use. This way you eliminate any chances of refreezing the labneh and the thawing process becomes easy. So, calculate the amount of labneh you have prepared and get hold of the required number of bags or containers.
Steps to Freeze Labneh
Did you know that labneh can be preserved for up to three months by preserving it in oil? So here’s what you can do to freeze labneh in a few easy steps.
1. First, scoop out freshly prepared or store-bought labneh into respective ziplock bags or small airtight containers. Don’t fill them to the top and leave some space for expansion.
2. Next, drizzle the labneh with a generous amount of olive oil to prevent breakage. If you are storing labneh in zip lock bags then spread a layer of olive oil in the bag before adding labneh to it. However, if you are using containers then make sure that the top layer is fully covered in oil.
3. Close the lid of the box or seal tight the zip lock bags. Then pop them in the freezer and freeze them for a month. You can wrap labneh boxes or bags in cling films as an extra protective layer to prevent any cases of freezer burn. You can also freeze it in an airtight container with no airspace for up to six months
These are the only tips you must follow to freeze the labneh properly. In the next section, we discuss some tricks to help you in the freezing process.
Tricks to Freeze Labneh
Labneh is a soft delicacy that serves best when its texture remains unaltered. However, unfortunately, you cannot maintain its freshness for a long time. If you wish to do so then follow these tricks right away!
Texture changes are inevitable! Yes, no matter how much care you take while freezing labneh, you will still encounter texture changes. The best way to gain back the original texture is to whip the labneh. Mix it using a whisk till you break all the lumps and get the original texture.
Always seal your labneh in cling film to avoid penetration of air in the jars. If air accidentally enters into the zip lock bags or airtight jars then they will get deteriorated within a day or two. Instead, you may use an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Try to use fresh labneh for most of your recipes. Avoid freezing it as it will definitely produce a change in the texture in cold temperatures.
Is it okay to Refreeze Labneh? How to Thaw Frozen Labneh?
If I can answer your question in one word then my answer would be NO! No, you can not refreeze labneh and you shouldn’t try doing so. Refreezing the labneh will not only lead to the destruction of the texture of the labneh but it will also impact your gut seriously.
It won’t cause anything as grave as food poisoning, but it will give you an upset stomach. Therefore, do not play with refreezing the labneh at any cost. Thawing labneh demands patience and hurrying won’t bring you anything good.
After all, the smooth and rich texture of labneh is the only thing you need in your recipe. Therefore, hasting the process of thawing will only lead to ruining of the entire batch of labneh. So, to thaw a frozen cup of labneh, place it in the refrigerator with its seal open.
Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight and then use it as per your recipe demands. Do not thaw frozen labneh in the oven or else it will be nothing but a waste product.
Recipes to Try with Frozen Labneh
You might have heard of using labneh as a substitute for culinary recipes, but we have some amazing dessert recipes where you can roll in frozen labneh effectively. Here are some ways in which you can use Labneh in dessert recipes.
1. Labneh Pineapple Dessert: To prepare this flavorsome dessert, start by making fresh pineapple puree. Cut pineapple chunks and blend them using a whisk with some sugar syrup. Now add thawed labneh to this puree and drizzle some Jalapeno powder along with coconut flakes. Mix all the ingredients nicely with an electric beater and serve it in bowls.
2. Labneh Pistacchio Ice Cream: Ice creams are everyone’s favorite and labneh makes it extra creamy! First, start by making a pistachio crust with pistachios and sesame seeds. Lightly roast sesame seeds and pistachios on medium flame and then cool them separately. Run them through a blender to obtain a crust and add a splash of butter so that they stick together. Now lay this crust on a lined baking sheet and freeze.
Prepare your ice cream using whole-fat milk, frozen labneh scoops, and sugar. Start by boiling milk and sugar till the sugar starts to caramelize. Then cool the mixture and whisk it with thawed labneh. Once you obtain a perfect consistency you can shift it to containers and freeze them. Once your ice cream is ready, you can top it with pistachio crust for the final serving.
In this blog, we have discussed everything from preparing labneh to storing it cautiously for one month. Follow these tips to freeze labneh or else you might end up ruining its texture for no good. Labneh acts as a perfect replacement for dairy products like cheese, cream cheese, and mayonnaise. You can use this item in dishes like sandwiches and salad dressings. Moreover, try to use it quickly and do not prepare a bulk amount of it.