Lebneh aka Greek Yogurt

June 21, 2011

While researching yogurt, I would come across “yogurt cheese” every once in a while.  At first, I thought it was a gimmick or something, as it was strained yogurt. Then my parents brought over a container of strained Greek yogurt they got from Costco, and the texture was so much thicker than yogurt. Then I knew: this is yogurt cheese.

The interesting thing about yogurt cheese is that nobody agrees on the name. “Yogurt cheese” is the most common, though I’ve also seen laban, labna, lebaneh, laben, and labneh, with the last one being the only spelling to trigger a Wikipedia entry under “strained yogurt.” The reason behind this is because it is a common Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean food, so different languages create different names, including labni, lebni, and even dahi in India and Pakistan and chaka in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. One American cookbook solely devoted to cooking with this product decided to abandon the traditional names and call it YoChee, which nobody else but them uses.

Back to the strained Greek yogurt my parents brought over: I told them how to make it. Both parents asked why it was Greek, to which I gave a smart ass response of “marketing.” Reading the Wikipedia entry for strained yogurt, I was right. Considering how many countries eat this stuff, Greece would actually be on the fringe of consuming it. The article actually says that most yogurt in Greece is not strained, but due to current political relations, calling it by another country or just “strained yogurt” probably would not sell as well.

In The YoChee Way by Nikki & David Goldbeck, which was written in 2001 before the current “Greek Yogurt” fad, claims that strained yogurt is a claim it is a zero-fat, calcium-rich, low-calorie, high-protein food that can be used to substitute high-fat foods such as butter, margarine, cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Supposedly, it does not curdle at high temperatures.

Further Reading:


One Response to “Lebneh aka Greek Yogurt”

  1. […] the words for “labneh” this book gave, I could not google out a single one to initially figure out that this was a book […]

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