Flowers and Glamour: Home-Made Labneh and Paneer Cheese and some Berlinale Impressions

Berlin

Labneh and Paneer with Flowers
 
Last week I got some dried rose leaves at the Turkish market, and looking at the beauty, one of the first things that came to my mind was goat’s milk Paneer which I haven’t made for a long time. I also thought about a companion for it, that’s how the Labneh made of buffaloe’s yoghurt came into place. This yoghurt tastes already gorgeous if eaten just like this. But it’s a true little sensation when transformed to some Provence flowers Labneh.

Both are done so easily – and it makes fun and looks beautiful in the end:
 


 
The talk of the town these days is not exactly flowers and cheese, but glamour and movies. Indeed, it’s high season at Potsdamer Platz and at other venues across the city because of the 63rd Berlinale Film Festival. If you are in town right now and if you love to see movies (especially those that don’t show everywhere for the rest of the year), you should try to reach out for the last tickets. Here’s some red carpet insight by Arne (and if we are lucky, we get some nice images of Catherine Deneuve tonight as she is supposed to be in town):
 

 
Now let’s get back to some home-made cheese and some fancy kitchen tools that you need for its preparation.

Here’s my recipe
 
Buffaloe’s yoghurt Labneh with dried Provence flowers

Labneh is a popular dish in the Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, and it’s probably the easiest way to prepare some kind of fresh cream cheese. Cover a strainer with a double layer gauze towel, place it on a bowl and fill in 500 g of buffalo yoghurt mixed with some sea salt. Close the towel carefully over the yoghurt, place a plate on top and something heavy on the plate, a can or a clean stone. Put the whole thing into the fridge and let drain for two hours.

Open the towel, add some dried Provence flowers (I used a mixture that I bought at the organic shop) to the yoghurt which should be a little bit drier by now. Cover the strainer with a fresh gauze towel and put a dessert ring right in the middle (thus you get a nice shape in the end). Fill the flowered semi-dried yoghurt in and press tightly to the rims. Fill the whole ring like this, close the towel carefully over the ring and the yoghurt inside. Put something heavy on top again (a can of the same aperture as the inside of the ring is perfect) and put this all back on the bowl and back into the fridge. Let it drain for 12 hours. If you use cow’s milk yoghurt it will take 24 hours as it is less compact than buffaloe’s milk yoghurt
 
Goat’s milk Paneer with dried roses

This one from Indian cuisine is a tiny little bit more time-consuming in preparation. First you need fresh goat’s milk – UHT is easier to get, but as it doesn’t clott properly you better go for fresh cow’s milk in case you don’t get goat’s milk. Here we go: Take 1 liter of goat’s milk and heat it gently in a pot until it cooks. Make sure to stir all the time to keep the milk from burning. Take the pot at the side and add a handful of dried rose flowers, some finely pestled long pepper and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Stir. Add 2-3 tablespoons of filtered lemon juice and stop stirring. You can also take vinegar, but as the liquid you take will add its own slight flavor to the Paneer, I prefer the juice.

Now take a look at the milk. The whey and the curd should slowly start to separate, and you can enhance this process by getting through with a spoon very, very slowly. If no separation takes place, add some more juice or vinegar and carefully heat again. Once the liquid is quite clear and the curd has separated, scoop the curd with a perforated spoon (colander?) and put in a gauze towel. Take the ends of the towel and twist to get more whey off the curd. Put carefully aside. Cover the strainer with a fresh gauze towel and put another dessert ring in. Now it’s the same procedure as with the Labneh: Fill the curd in the ring and press tightly to the rims. Close the towel over the curd, put something heavy on top, put it all on a bowl and take it into the fridge. Let drain for a about 4 hours – and think about a good explanation for anybody who might open the fridge within that time, wondering what’s going on in there with all those strainers and rings and towels ;-).

Carefully peel the gauze off the Paneer and the Labneh after resting time. You can cut the Paneer into slices and make balls of the Labneh or leave them as two little cakes, just as you like it most. You can also add other herbs and spices instead of flowers. Serve with some olive oil on top if you like along with some ciabatta or baguette or crostini as a part of a breakfast buffet or a set of antipasti. By the way: I learned the other day from Sybille of tomatenblüte that home-made tofu is done a quite similar way. I’m excited to give this a try soon!
 
Well, and as both Labneh and Paneer are just perfect for a breakfast or brunch buffet, I would like to make this a contribution to the lovely blog event Breakfast Club by Fuss Free Flavours. It is actually hosted in the beautiful blog Farmersgirl Kitchen. Take a look at the beautiful breakfast recipes that already got entered there:
 
breakfastclub
 

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19 thoughts on “Flowers and Glamour: Home-Made Labneh and Paneer Cheese and some Berlinale Impressions”

  1. Ok, from now on i will not applaude to your pics anymore. You can take it for granted that i adore them 😉 and the cheese…i got a cheese preparation kit for birthday last year, with perforated plasic containers (instead of the desert ring) and a thermometer and lab tablets… i didn’t dare to start off…but your description sounds like it’s not complicated at all…i might get started soonish 🙂 thank you!

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    • You’ve really got a cheese making kit?! Wow, that might be more than helpfull. When I prepare more than one cheese with my unprofessional equipment, there’s not much space left in the fridge for other things ;-).

      As for the pics: Thank you so much! It makes evermore fun in that kind of “food and the city” combination.

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      • See, there’s the point. I cannot make cheese (even with prof. equipement) because my fridge is always stuffed to the brim 🙂 But I will definitely go for it – soon… had to try something different first 😉

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      • That’s what I thought first: There’s no space at all in my fridge. For one second I wondered if my cellar would be cold enough – but no way: My two cats would be delighted, I suppose…

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      • @ Eva and @ Antje: Hungry cats and over-packed fridges are probably the most well-known ostacles in cheese preparation. But at least the problem of space will enhance soon as the cheese will vanish quickly once it’s ready to eat ;-).

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  2. Sounds totally compelling. I just wondered where to buy buffalo yoghurt if you don’t live in the vicinity of Bobalis. Thanks Google it costs only a few seconds to find out that there’s an Bobalis online-shop too. Not alone that you can order buffalo yoghurt – you can (I WILL) order Mozzarella, Scamorza, Ricotta etc. from buffaloe’s milk! So, now I have to detect a fresh goat’s milk source…

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    • I love the Bobalis yoghurt (I used it for the recipe) and absolutely want to try the Scamorza, but – to my tongue at least – the Mozzarella was quite disappointing compared with Italian buffalo Mozzarella.
      Fresh goat’s milk is offered by Brodowin, they have an online shop as well.

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  3. Why isn’t it possible to “like” twice or three times… 🙂 I love the pictures and of course.. the fresh cheese is a dream!

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      • Great that you give it a try! Depending on the yoghurt you use (and on your prefered consistency of the final product) the draining can take more time. The buffaloe’s yoghurt I used is already quite compact by itself. I’m excited to hear how your’s will taste once it is done :-)!

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  4. Pingback: Appetizer? Sushi? Labneh Minis with Uda’s Sesame Ginger Oil | Food with a View

  5. Your cheese looks as light as pillows and beautiful and delicately treated. I really like that paneer Claudia x

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