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What is Labneh?

Labneh is a soft cheese made of strained yogurt.    Popular in the Middle East, labneh is used as a tangy spread and has the consistency of marscapone cheese.  It is typically served topped with olive oil, seasoned with salt and sometimes flavoured with spices (like za’atar).  Labneh is traditionally made from cow’s milk yogurt, but I prefer to make milk kefir labneh to amp up the probiotic content.

Milk Kefir Labneh Balls

Milk kefir labneh or kefir cheese is made using the same technique to make yogurt labneh.  It is a staple in my house and I use it as a delicious, tangy base for many flavoured spreads and dips.  I love the flavour and texture, as well as the added probiotic diversity naturally found in homemade milk kefir.    My favourite way to use kefir labneh is to strain it for a few extras days to make olive oil preserved kefir labneh balls  (labneh korat).

Kefir labneh balls in olive oil

Kefir labneh korat makes a delicious, high protein appetizer or snack packed with the beneficial microbes found in kefir.  I like to season them with za’atar spice, dried oregano, or sometimes just a sprinkling of freshly cracked pepper.  The jar of labneh korat can be safely stored at room temperature.   If you aren’t comfortable with this method, or have a very warm house, the jar can be refrigerated, but you will have to bring the labneh korat to room temperature before serving as the oil will thicken in the fridge.

Add labneh balls to oil, top with extra oil if necessary to cover 
strained kefir cheese


Recipe by Jody GowansCourse: Milk Kefir, Recipes


  • Milk Kefir cheese (cow or goat)

  • salt

  • extra virgin olive oil (good quality)

  • sterile glass jar with lid


  • Make milk kefir cheese.  If this is your first time, click here for detailed instructions.  Strain cheese until it is dry enough to be rolled into a ball without being too sticky.
  • Salt kefir cheese to taste and roll into balls.
  • Fill a jar halfway with olive oil. Add kefir cheese balls. Add more oil, if necessary to cover the balls.
  • Close jar. Store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.

21 Responses

  1. Hello jody,
    After kefir balls are finished can you just keep adding more, new ones, to original oil or should you discard and use new olive oil with each new batch?

    1. Hi Bill- thanks for your support and question! I would not add new kefir balls to the original oil. You risk cross-contamination and interfering with the fermentation process. You don’t need to toss the oil, you can use the original oil in vinaigrettes, or however you would use olive oil. The best rule of thumb for an optimal ferment is to start with the best ingredients that are available to you in their freshest form.

  2. Thank you. I have a question. If you store these at room temperature, do you have to refrigerate once you take a couple out to eat or just recap it and put it back in a dark shelf? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Lain- I personally kept mine in a cool, dark place. If you aren’t comfortable with this, you can store it in the fridge. Bear in mind that the oil will solidify once refrigerated, so you will need to let it sit at room temperature before serving.

  3. I would love to be added to your email list plz Jodie! 🙂 I make water kefir and milk kefir and love it……have just discovered the wonderful cheese I can make from it and am so interested in learning more about fermented foods!

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