Homemade yogurt (Curd or Dahi)

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Homemade yogurt or curd (Dahi) is VERY EASY to prepare, inexpensive. This thick and delicious yogurt recipe is with step by step instructions, photos and lots of tips.

Yogurt is known as curd in India. The other names are
dahi (Hindi, Gujarati),
Mosaru (Kannada),
Thayir (Tamil),
Thayiru (Malayalam),
doi (Assamese, Bengali),
dohi (Odia),
perugu (Telugu) and
Dhahi or Dhaunro (Sindhi).
[Source – wikipedia]

Dahi or curd is the staple food in our home. We manage to finish up almost 2-3 litres of dahi every week. I make chaas everyday (no matter it’s summer or winter) and everyone drinks 1-2 glasses with their meal. Hubby takes a small container of plain yogurt with his rice for lunch every other day. Also I make kadhi once a week. Sometimes I make raita or use it while making dhokla.

Curd or dahi has very cooling effect to your body. So it is good to consume during hot summer days. It is also good for easy digestion. Other than consuming or using the recipes, you can use the yogurt for making DIY face masks. Yes it is good for the skin as well.

Here I am sharing the procedure of making dahi/curd at home. I have mentioned possible tips in each and every step. Once you understand the process, you will never fail making homemade yogurt.

Check out more kitchen basics (DIYs)


How to make curd or dahi at home (Step by Step Recipe with Photos):


1) Rinse your pan/patila with water. This will help to prevent milk sticking to the pan, also it will be easier to clean the pan later on. Pour the milk in the pan and turn the heat on medium-high.

2) Bring the milk to a boil. It took me 7-8 minutes. Once it comes to a boil and rises, lower the heat to lowest and simmer for 2-3 minutes and then turn off the stove. This simmering process will prevent the yogurt from becoming stringy. Let it cool down slightly.

3) Pour the milk into the container in which your are going to set the yogurt. Or you can set the yogurt in same patila or pan. Here I have used small ceramic bowl for photo purpose and one large Pyrex bowl. You can use any glass, plastic or steel container. Even you can use clay bowl or kullad.

4) Let the milk cool down till it becomes lukewarm. this cooling process MUST be done at room temperature. DO NOT even think of popping in the fridge for quicker cooling process.

5) Meanwhile remove the starter curd in a small bowl or katori. We need the starter yogurt at room temperature. My yogurt is always chilled in the fridge, so yours. So I always remove the required amount in small bowl and keep it on countertop. So it will come to room temperature while the milk is cooling down.

6) Let’s check the milk is lukewarm or not. You can use thermometer (110 degrees F or 43 degrees C), but who cares for the exact temperature. I do it this way – stick your clean finger in the milk, you will feel like warm water bath (not hot).

7) Ok, now milk is lukewarm and starter yogurt is at room temperature. Add that yogurt in the milk.

8) Mix well using spoon or you can use hand blender.

9) Now cover the container with lid. Keep in the warm place without disturbing for 5-6 hours. I usually keep the container in the oven with light on.

10) During the summer in India, it can be ready very quickly (with in 4-5 hours), so do check after 4 hours and see if it is set or not. During the winters, you can cover the container with warm blanket. During winters, I just turn on the oven at lowest temperature for few minutes just to warm up the oven (not pre-heating) and then keep the container in oven (turned off) overnight.

11) Once the curd is set, pop the container in the fridge for further setting or to make this thicker. Keep refrigerated for 1-2 hours or till it gets chilled. Then yogurt is ready to use. If not chilled in the fridge then yogurt will stay runny and watery.

Here I have made with 1 litre milk, you can double, triple or halve the recipe as required.

Shelf life: It stays good for 4-5 days in refrigerator.

Serving suggestion: plain curd can be served as a side with your meal. You can use it in the many different recipes.
Recipes using curd/Yogurt/Dahi:
Smoothies
Chaas, Lassi
Raitas
Kadhi recipes
Instant dhokla, Instant idli
Dahiwale aloo, Kofta curry
Curd rice (Thayir sadam)

FAQs for making good dahi/curd:

1) Why my yogurt is sour?
A: Once the yogurt is formed and you forgot to put in the fridge. Meaning you kept it outside even after it is set for longer period of time. As the time goes it will becomes sour. But no worries, It is still edible. You can use sour yogurt for making kadhi, dhokla, handvo.

2) Why my yogurt has too much watery part/whey?
A: Because it is set at the high temperature. Always set the yogurt at warm place. OR the starter yogurt is too old and so bacteria are not that powerful to make the thick yogurt. So always buy the new starter yogurt after using the same for about 2-3 months over and over. Other than buying, you can ask a spoonful of it to your friendly neighbor (that’s what we do in India).

3) Can I use any milk?
A: I prefer to use whole milk (full fat milk) which gives the thick and luscious yogurt. If fat free or low fat milk is used then yogurt may be thin or runny (not thick). You can use use cow’s milk, buffalo’s milk, goat’s milk. If the raw milk is used then yogurt will be runny compared to the made from pasteurized milk.

4) Why the yogurt does not set? Why is it still milk?
A: you may have added less yogurt. OR the starter yogurt does not have active bacteria in it. OR you have added starter yogurt to the hot milk or cold milk instead of warm, so the active bacteria got killed

5 from 3 votes
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Homemade yogurt, How to make curd (dahi) at home

Learn how to make dahi at home easily

Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 6 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
Yield 4 cups (1 litre)
Author Kanan

Ingredients (1 cup = 240 ml)

  • 4 cups or about 1 litre Milk
  • 3-4 teaspoons Yogurt (curd or dahi) from previous batch or store-bought

Instructions

How to make curd at home:

  1. Pour the milk in the pan and turn the heat on medium-high and bring it to a boil

  2. Once it comes to a boil and rises, lower the heat to lowest and simmer for 2-3 minutes and then turn off the stove.
  3. Pour the milk into the container in which your are going to set the yogurt or you can set the yogurt in same patila or pan.

  4. Let the milk cool down till it becomes lukewarm.
  5. Also remove the starter curd in a small bowl or katori and let it come to room temperature.

  6. Let’s check the milk is lukewarm or not. You can use thermometer (110 degrees F or 43 degrees C), but who cares for the exact temperature. I do it this way - stick your clean finger in the milk, you will feel like warm water bath (not hot).
  7. Ok, now milk is lukewarm and starter yogurt is at room temperature. Add that yogurt in the milk.
  8. Mix well using spoon or you can use hand blender.
  9. Now cover the container with lid. Keep in the warm place without disturbing for 5-6 hours. I usually keep the container in the oven with light on.
  10. During the summer in India, it can be ready very quickly (with in 4-5 hours), so do check after 4 hours and see if it is set or not.
  11. During the winters, you can cover the container with warm blanket. During winters in USA, I just turn on the oven at lowest temperature for few minutes just to warm up the oven (not pre-heating) and then keep the container in oven (turned off) overnight.
  12. Once the curd is set, pop the container in the fridge for further setting.
  13. Keep refrigerated for 1-2 hours or till it gets chilled.
  14. Then yogurt is ready to use.

View Comments (18)

  • Hello Kanan. Thanks for posting this. Do you have a recipe for handvo to share (amy kind but especially with cabbage)? I've seen many recipes but I'd rather try yours. Best wishes for 2017.

    • Yes I do make handavo with lauki and other vegetables. I will share that recipe.
      But give me some time, because within 2 weeks we are moving to the new place. So it may take some time. Thank you for your patience.

  • Thanks for ur very helpful tips and delicious recipes. but I have one problem while making yogurt. Many times I tried yogurt with this same recipe but every time when the yogurt is set there remains some water in the bowl over the curd. I never get a thick curd at home. What should I do for making thick curd ??

    • Please see the FAQ no. 2. You may find your answer.
      Also to get thick curd, use clay pot (similar to kullad but bigger in size) instead plastic/glass container. The clay will absorb excess water and will result in thick curd.

  • I want to make dahi first time.i don't have curd for mix.can you please tell me as a starter which brand of curd is working perfectly?when you made dahi first time which brand of dahi you used as a starter??actully I tried so many yogurt as a starter but it didn't work it well.

    • I am not sure where do you live. I am in USA and for starter I get the yogurt from Indian grocery store which is 'Desi Natural Dahi'.
      Please follow the tips mentioned here, any starter yogurt should work just fine.

  • Hi Kanan,
    I chanced upon your site while searching for Gujarati recipes to prepare for a party.

    As many of your recipes call for curd, I decided to try this recipe first. I tried making curd earlier, but the results were not satisfying. With this recipe and your tips, I got thick curd.

    Thanks for the detailed recipe notes. Will be trying other recipes.

    Veena