How to make curd or dahi at home with step by step photos. I really wonder why many people buy curd instead of making it at home. It’s just an easy to do task, which requires no experience. I have grown up enjoying farm fresh milk and homemade curd (yogurt) while I was in India. When I relocated to Singapore and began to cook, dealing with commercial milks that were processed (homogenized) was a new experience for me.
I have put down all my experiences as tips to get the curd right (thick and creamy). This post is for those who have trouble making curd at home.
If you are one among those lucky people who do not have any hassles in making homemade curd, this post may not be for you.
Most Indian households make fresh curd every day to include in their meal or to make lassi, kadhi etc. So it is one of the basic food consumed by most Indians.
Tips on how to make curd or dahi
1. Always use full fat milk or whole milk only. As diluted milk or low fat milk will not set your dahi well and makes it watery with more whey.
2. Why does your curd become sticky?
• using starters like greek yogurt or any sticky one will yield a sticky curd. (I use Nestle Asli as the starter, the results are non-sticky).
• It depends on the milk too (depends on the feed of the cows), some milk yields a sticky curd. Especially the milk from the grass fed cows turn slimy. Just try with a different brand.
3. How much curd or dahi to use as starter purely depends on 3 basic factors.
• The kind of milk you are using – homogenized or non homogenized. Homogenized milk require more starter. As the milk is processed and the particles are broken down to minute in order to keep them apart which helps in increasing their shelf life. Dahi does not set well if you use less starter for homogenized milk.
On the other hand, non homogenized milk needs less starter as they tend to set well and faster. Adding more will make your curd sour. So adjust the amount of starter accordingly. (I have mentioned the quantity in the ingredient list).
• The kind of starter curd, you are using – gelatin or non gelatin. If your starter has gelatin in it, you have to use more starter. If the starter is a non-gelatin one, you can use lesser. (quantities mentioned in ingredients)
• The Season – if you are making yogurt in winters, need to use more starter. Adjust the quantity as per the season.
Places where curd or dahi can set well at home during winters.
• Place the bowl of milk in the casserole or a thermocol box.
• Wrap a warm cloth or woolen scarf to the bowl and keep inside the shelf.
• Can place inside a big rice storage container.
• You can also place in oven with the light bulb on. If you have a oven with settings to make yogurt. Turn it on and place it until curd is set.
UPDATE: Many readers have been asking on
how to make curd without using curd / dahi ?
how to make yogurt without a culture?
There is a age old method of making curd without using curd followed by rural women in South India. These women used to make their own culture to use as a starter. I have tried making this to check if it really works and yes it does.
Bring milk to a boil. Let the temperature come down to warm. Then add 8 to 10 stalks or stems of red chilies for every 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the warm milk. Set this aside in a warm place until set.
How long? it certainly depends on the climate. It took 5 hours for me to set the curd. But this may not be good to use directly. I am not sure if it is healthy to eat.
So I did make fresh yogurt using the one I made earlier as starter(curd with chili stalks). I added 1 tbsp of the above set dahi to one cup milk and set aside for 8 hours. Then I got thick curd.
Refer the step by step photos section after the recipe card for more tips and detailed instructions.
Curd recipe or dahi recipe
How to make curd or dahi at home | Thick curd recipe | Indian yogurt recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 1 liter milk full fat or whole milk
- 1 tsp curd or dahi or yogurt as starter (increase to ¾ to 1 tbsp. if it is gelatin based or you are making this in winters)
- 1 dried red chili broken (optional)
How to make the recipe
Preparation to make curd
- Rinse a pot well. This reduces the chances of milk solids getting stuck to the bottom.
- Pour milk and bring it to boil on a medium to low flame.
- To get thick curd, once it comes to a boil simmer the milk for 15 mins on a very low flame.
- Keep stirring in between else the milk will get burnt and smell bad.
- Simmering step is to get a very thick curd. You can skip this if you are ok to have a moderately thick yogurt.
How to make curd or yogurt
- Allow the milk to cool down.
- If you are intending to use a curd culture that has come down to room temperature, then allow the boiled milk to come down to luke warm temp.
- But if you are using the culture directly from the fridge, then the temperature of the milk must be mildly warmer than the luke warm.
- Immerse your clean finger in the milk and check.
- Add a tsp of curd to the warm milk and stir well. You will have to experiment with the amount of starter to use.
- In India, my mother uses less than half tsp for 1 liter milk as it is not homogenized milk. But in Singapore I use about 1 tbsp or even more for 1 liter. It depends on the milk, climate and starter.
- Cover & move the bowl to a warm place.
- Allow it to set for 6 to 10 hrs depending on the climate.
- If you wish to set the curd well, you can break a red chili and drop it in the milk. it is optional and does not make the dahi or curd spicy or hot.
- If you live in a cold place, then keep it in a casserole or thermocol box or oven with the light on.
- Next if you intend to make curd in small bowls, check the step by step instructions after the recipe card.
- When the curd is set, move it to refrigerator.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
- If you are new to making curd, I suggest reading the entire post for more details.
- Frothing the milk will make thicker curd. Please scroll down to know the details.
- Do not add yogurt to hot milk. It will coagulate the milk.
- Using sour starter will yield a sour dahi.
- If the milk does not set well, try again with fresh milk in different ways by increasing the culture, keeping it in a warmer place, adding your culture to warmer milk.
- Making good curd at home comes by experimenting & experience. Try different ways with different starters, different brand of milk and even in different places in your kitchen.
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
How to make curd or dahi at home
1. Rinse a large pot and pour the milk to it. Rinsing the pot reduces the chances of milk solids settling at the bottom. Bring milk to a boil on a low to medium flame.
2. If you do not like cream layers on the curd, then keep stirring to reduce the formation of layers of cream. We do not mind the cream on our curd so I avoid this step.
3. I usually boil the milk on a medium flame.
4. When the milk comes to a boil, then I reduce the flame to very low and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 mins. This enhances the flavor of curd and also makes the curd thick.
5. Remove from the stove and allow to cool down to luke warm temperature.
6. Decide on the amount of starter to use depending on the milk and kind of starter. I have explained this above the recipe card. Please read that.
7. Add the starter when the milk comes down to warm temperature. 1 tsp to tbsp depending on the kind of milk, weather conditions and starter. Read the tips on how to make thick curd by frothing milk from the end of this post.
8. Mix very well until the curd has blended well with the milk.
9. Transfer it to a bowl. You can also set the curd in the same bowl or in a clay pot. I prefer to froth up the milk. Scroll down to know more.
10. Cover with a lid and keep in a warm place until set for 6 to 10 hours depending on the weather. Avoid disturbing or moving the bowl before the curd is set. Some women use a broken red chili to set the yogurt well. If needed break a red chili and just put it in the milk. This will not make the curd spicy or hot.
Tips on how to make thick curd
This is a tip which we follow to make thick curd at home. This method is also good if you do not like cream layers on the curd. This technique breaks down the cream layer and disperses the fats to the milk making the curd rich and tasty.
When the milk is still hot, froth up the milk by pouring it to another bowl or pot. To and fro, a few times breaks down the cream and the milk froths up very well.
Add the culture or starter when the temperature of milk is slightly higher than warm but not hot. Stir well.
Then quickly pour to the bowl, cover and rest in a warm place. Towards the end of the process the milk should still be warm. To get this right, you will have to try a few times. But this method surely gives thick and more tasty homemade curd.
How to make curd in individual bowls
The process is the same but to ensure the curd is set well, I add an extra quarter tsp of curd to every half cup milk. This method of setting curd in individual bowls is preferred by many as scooping out little curd every time from a large bowl disturbs the entire bowl and leaving behind lot of whey.
After refrigeration curd becomes slightly more thick.