How To Set Dahi (Curd) The Right 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 item that is both healthy and delicious. Dahi, or curd, 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, and when you follow the right method, setting dahi at home can be an easy task. Here are a few simple tea uniques that would help.

Related Reading: We review products over days, and sometimes weeks, so you can shop better. Read our Best Packaged Dahi To Buy Review here.

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 set curd. If you are using homogenized milk, 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, 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 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 With The Help Of A (Curd) Starter?|Tips To Make Thick Dahi At Home

This is one of the most common methods of setting dahi at home. It is  followed across millions of households in India everyday. In this method, a spoonful of curd from a freshly prepared batch, or from any other brand, is added to warm milk.

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 Set Curd/Dahi Using A Starter

The preparation of curd, especially by using a starter, 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: Heating The Milk

The very first step involved in the preparation of curd is to heat 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. 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 mostly ranges from half to one table spoon 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.

Also Read: Yogurt/Curd For Acne And Pimples: 7 Amazing Skin & Hair Benefits Of Yogurt

How to set curd or dahi the right way: You can make dahi with green chillies too

How To Make Curd Without A (Curd) Starter?

If you want to further improve your skills of setting curd, or on a day when you don’t have a starter handy, you can set dahi from scratch using this simple method.

Preparing A Fresh Batch Of 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 curd without using curd as a starter 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 cool down, 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 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.

  • If you have an OTG, then you can pre heat it for 10 minutes and then place the bowl in it and allow the curd to set.
  • 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.
  • You can use whey as a starter to set the curd. Whey is the water left after making hung curd.
  • 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.
  • After placing the chilli in the casserole, you must place it in a dark place such as a microwave oven or OTG overnight.

2 Things That You May Be Doing Wrong While Setting 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 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).

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.

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