How To Set the Perfect Dahi (Curd) at Home – Easiest Way
Did you know, you could make dahi or curd using green chillies? We suggest ways to set curd the right way, which also includes preparing it with or without the starter.
Curd is a much-loved milk-based Indian item that is both healthy and delicious. Dahi, or curd popularly enjoyed in Indian households, used as a side-dish or sometimes even as an ingredient in various recipes, plays an important in every Indian household. The benefits of dahi are many. From helping to keep your gut-health in good shape to being a light snack/meal option for summer days, everyone loves dahi in some way or the other.
While there are many brands out there that make rich, creamy dahi (curd) and sell them in consumer-friendly packaging, setting dahi at home is the preferred choice of many. Especially, in the summer months, it’s rather quick and easy to set dahi (curd) in the comfort of your own kitchen; in fact, making dahi at home gives it a further homely essence. It’s a simple process to make curd, and when you follow the right method, setting dahi at home can be an easy task. We tell you how to make dahi at home with these simple tips and tricks.
How Much Starter To Add While Making Dahi
The quantity of starter i.e. already set curd, depends on the following factors:
- First it depends on the type of milk that you are using to make or set curd. If you are using homogenized milk to make curd, you need to add more starter in it as homogenized milk is processed and its particles are broken down into small pieces so that they stay apart. This increases the shelf life of the homogenized milk.
- If you use non-homogenized milk to make or set curd, then you need to add less quantity of starter and if you add more starter in non-homogenized milk, you will end up making the curd sour.
- If you are using a starter, to make or set curd, that has gelatin in it, then you need to use more quantity of the starter.
- If the starter has no gelatin in it, you can use less quantity of it.
- If you are setting the curd in winters, more starter needs to be added and if you are setting the curd in summers, then a small quantity of starter is sufficient.
- You can add 1 tsp of already set dahi as starter. If you are setting dahi in winters or if the starter has gelatin, you must increase the amount of starter to ¾ to 1 tbsp.
How To Make Curd At Home With The Help Of A (Curd) Starter?|Tips To Make Thick Dahi At Home
If you are thinking about how to make curd at home, then we have an answer. This is one of the most common methods of setting dahi at home, especially in Indian households. It is followed across millions of Indian households every day. In this method, a spoonful of curd from a freshly prepared batch, or from any other brand, is added to warm milk and kept in a warm place.
The starter, which is in itself curd, consists of a bacterium called Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, which further converts the lactose of the milk into lactic acid.
Step By Step Guide To Make Curd/Dahi Using A Starter
To make curd at home, especially by using a starter, it is an easy method of making relatively thick curd. The procedure to follow in order to get the desired result is given below:
Step 1: Boil The Milk
The very first step involved in the preparation of curd is to heat and boil the milk under a low flame up till the boiling point is reached. If the milk being used is already boiled then you simply have to reheat it to bring it to a suitable temperature. We re looking for milk to be warm enough for the bacteria to get activated and start the process of curdling. If the milk is too hot, then this process would not be activated as desired.
Step 2: Adding The Starter
The next step is to add the starter in order to make curd. However, before doing so, freshly boiled milk should be allowed to cool down to a lukewarm or a little warmer temperature, depending on whether the starter itself is at room temperature or was being stored in the fridge.
The amount of starter added depends on the type of milk, and most range from half to one tablespoon of starter for one litre of milk.
Step 3: Settling Down
After the addition of the starter, it is stirred well and allowed to settle. The bowl must be kept in an enclosed space and covered with a cloth. It is best not to move the container around once warm milk has been added to the starter. Allow the milk to settle and left it untouched for the next 7-10 hours. The time required for it to settle down also depends on the surroundings; this time can range from 7 to 10 hours.
And with that, your homemade curd is ready to be served.
How To Make Curd Without A (Curd) Starter?
If you want to further improve your skills of making and setting curd, or on a day when you don’t have a starter handy, you can make or set dahi from scratch using this simple method.
Preparing A Fresh Batch Of Homemade Dahi (Without Using A (Curd) Starter)
In this type of method, the fermentation of milk is done by a plant-based item, like chillies, rather than curd.
Step 1: Heating The Milk
Just like in the previous method, the preparation of a fresh batch of homemade curd without using curd as a starter as an ingredient also begins with heating milk in a low flame up till its boiling point, and then letting it cool down.
Step 2: Adding The Chillies
After letting the milk (which is used as one of the main ingredients in setting curd) cool down for some time, here, instead of an item like curd, we add 7-8 stems of green chillies; it is advised not to make a large volume of curd using this method. You can make a small volume and then use the curd prepared as the starter in the next batch. Hence, only 7-8 stems of green chillies would do.
Step 3: Letting It Set
The last step involves leaving it still for a few hours (5-6) in an enclosed environment.
The curd produced in this batch can be used to produce the next batch, which could be bigger in volume.
How To Set Homemade Curd During Winters
It is very common in Indian households to set curd every day. Setting curd in summers is easier as the temperature outside is warm and the curd sets within 2-4 hours. But during winters, there is a major drop in the temperature and setting curd becomes a difficult task. To overcome this problem, people generally wrap the cultured milk in a blanket or anything warm. But if the milk spills, that may spoil your woolen clothes. There are methods which you can follow to set the curd in winters without spoiling your woolens.
1 – Preheat Curd
If you have an OTG, then you can preheat it for 10 minutes and then place the bowl in it and allow some time for the curd to set.
2 – Set Curd in Casserole
You can set curd in a casserole as casserole is insulated and it will retain the heat while setting the curd. For better results, you can also wash the casserole with warm water before putting the cultured milk in it.
3 – Use Whey
You can use whey as a starter to set the curd. Whey is the water left after making hung curd.
4 – Add Stem of green chilli
For better results, you can put a green chilli in the curd to set the dahi. The stem of the green chilli helps in the formation of lactobacillus which is responsible for making dahi.
You don’t need to worry about the taste of green chilli in your curd. If you still think, there might be some taste of green chilli in dahi, you can simply add the stem of the green chilli.
5 – Keep it overnight in a dark place
After placing the chilli in the casserole, you must place it in a dark place such as a microwave oven or OTG overnight.
Why Is It Difficult To Make Curd During Winters?
Low temperatures make it difficult for the curd to set. It is because the bacterial activity that becomes erratic due to which the curd is not able to set properly. It takes more than 8 hours to completely set. It could take longer too.
2 Things That You May Be Doing Wrong While Setting Homemade Curd
- Never add the starter to hot milk. This will coagulate the milk. Coagulation of milk is simply where the milk turns to cheese i.e. turns solid.
- The starter that you add in the milk to set a new batch of curd should not be sour. If you are already adding sour starter, then the new dahi will also be sour.
What Are The Other Ways Of Fermenting The Milk?
Apart from the previously mentioned good methods of preparation for curd, there are various other items which can be used as a starter. These items include lemon juice, and vinegar, as they have the property of curdling the milk and they help in separating the solids from the whey (the liquid left behind after the milk is curdled).
How To Use Homemade Curd In Different Ways?
Now that you know how to make good curd at home, you must also know different ways to use curd in your diet. It is time to make some delicious treats using curd!
- One of the best way to use your curd is to make kadhi with it. Kadhi is a dish which is made using curd, besan, and a few spices.
- You can add dahi breakfast dishes like upma, yogurt sandwiches, etc.
- Dishes like dum aloo, dahi aloo, etc can be made using curd.
- You can make dahi papdi, dahi bhalla, dahi aloo chaat, dahi aloo tikki chaat, dahi puri, dahi kachori, etc. using curd for some chaat cravings at home.
- In summer time, you can make some amazing beverages using curd, which may include chaas or buttermilk, sweet and namkeen lassi among others. Lassi can be enjoyed cold and chaas can also consumed cold. These two cold beverages are popularly consumed in summers.
- You could use curd for many marinade recipes. Time and again, people have used curd for various marination recipes.
- How about some kebabs? Dahi kebabs make for some popular snacks.
Why You Should Not Have Curd During Winters?
There is a popular notion that one must avoid having curd during winters. While it is true that you must avoid eating too much curd in winters, it is especially suggested that people with respiratory problems like asthma, sinus, etc should completely avoid eating curd. It tends to increase secretion of mucus from the glands causing more problems than one.
So, if you are looking for a way to make dahi, or curd, at home then look no further than your own kitchen. This is what makes dahi an extra-ordinary product, as it can be easily made in the comfort of one’s home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Setting curd at home could be a tricky task but once you get the hang of it, you would never prefer the packaged curd. Here we answered a few interesting FAQs about curd.
1. How do I make thick curd?
When we set curd at home, sometimes it ends up being watery or runny. In order to set thick curd, proper care should be taken while setting it. You can add a little lemon to it and whisk it at room temperature until it blends in perfectly.
2. Can we use lemon to make curd from milk?
Yes, we can make curd from milk using lemon to curdle it. Lemon juice works as a starter.
Add the lemon juice to the lukewarm milk. Once added, cover the starter curd and keep it aside in a warm place for 10-12 hours. The curd made from lemon juice will have different textures and flavors.
3. How can I make a shop like thick curd at home?
To make thick curd at home depends on 3 major factors.
- Kind of Milk
- Kind of Starter
- Setting Period
To set perfect curd at home, follow these steps:
Step 1: Boil the milk
Add milk into the pot. Keep stirring the milk to reduce the layers of the cream formation. Once it is boiled, lower the flame and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Step 2: Cool down the milk
After simmering the milk for a few minutes, let it cool down from hot to warm temperature.
Step 3: Add starter
Add a good starter, decide the amount depending on the quantity & kind of milk, and weather condition.
Mix it well until the starter blends totally with the milk.
Step 4: Set the curd
Now set the curd in the bowl. Cover the lid and keep it in a warm place. Avoid moving curd after this. Keep it for 6 to 10 hours, depending on the weather.
4. How do I curdle milk into a perfect waterless curd?
Making waterless curd needs proper environmental conditions and live cultures.
To make a perfect waterless curd, follow these steps:
- Heat the milk and let it simmer for a few minutes.
- Allow it to cool back.
- Once it reaches a lukewarm temperature, add live culture or curd starter.
- Now, keep the bowl untouched for 4 to 5 hours in a warm place to incubate it.
5. Why is my homemade curd too sticky and slimy?
One of the reasons why the homemade curd is too sticky or slimy is the kind of milk used to make curd. Using low-fat milk or skim milk may cause slimy curd.
Another factor for this is the temperature and the setting time. Setting time differs from season to season. For example, in warm temperatures, 4 to 5 hours would be enough, while the same during winter may need 8 to 10 hours for the curd to set.