How to make thick creamy curd (dahi) from toned milk at home ! 

I recently conducted an experiment for 3 days to discover the secret to setting thick creamy curd at home .

The challenge was to use toned milk to set the curd without compromising on thickness and texture , because using full cream milk / buffalo milk / milk powder or malai with all the extra fat wouldn’t serve the purpose of making healthy low calorie curd at home .

I have been using store bought curd for last 5 years (since I got married ) but now I wanted to convert .

So I asked this question on my favourite Facebook food group : Chef At Large , and was overwhelmed with the amazing response by the brilliant home-chefs there.(Special mention of Madhu Chawla ji , who demonstrated her method with pictures )

Here is the post : (Click on the image to have a read )

I had been trying to set curd for 2 days before I asked this on the above mentioned forum .

Here are my 3 experiments and the results with possible reasoning.

Experiment Number 1 :

I took 500 ml toned milk from tetrapack , boiled it  well , let it cool to reach a warm temperature and added 2 tablespoon of store bought curd as starter . I then kept it in a closed oven (preheated at 200 Celsius) and let it stay undisturbed overnight . I used a Stainless Steel utensil.

Result  : No curd AT ALL.

Possible Reason For Failure : 

  • Milk was hot . I didn’t do the finger test to confirm the temperature.
  • I didn’t whisk the starter curd in the milk , so the starter curd lumps were found in milk as it is in the morning .
  • The oven did not cool enough before I put my utensil in it .

Experiment Number 2 :

I was too disheartened by my previous failure so this time I took 250 ml of toned milk from a tetrapack.I  boiled it well . Then I let it come to lukewarm temperature. I tested it by putting a finger in it ,ideally it should be warm enough that you can insert your finger and keep for a few seconds but don’t feel the burn. It should not be too cool .

Then I added 2 teaspoon (not tablespoon) of store bought curd to it and whisked well .

I let it set in a closed oven in a stainless steel utensil overnight . (I did not preheat the oven this time, and it was switched off through out , the room temperature was 24 degree)

Result : Curd set ! Yippee . Decent but not very thick. 

What changes did I do this time : 

  • Finger test to confirm temperature
  • Decreased starter to 2 teaspoon
  • Whisked the curd starter well in the milk
  • Did not preheat the oven.

Final Experiment Number 3 (after members of Chef At Large helped) :

  • I took 500 ml of toned milk from a tetrapack . Then I boiled it well . Along side I took 3 tablespoons of homemade starter curd and  whisked it into a paste in a katori and kept it aside to come to room temperature .
  • After the milk got boiled a few times , I let it cool and around 40 minutes later , it came to a lukewarm temperature where my finger when inserted for 10 seconds felt warm but not burnt.
  • To this I added the whisked starter curd and whisked the milk – starter mix well. I also shuffled this mix using two containers by letting it flow from a height to the other vessel.I repeated this shuffling 2-3 times.
  • I poured this in a borosil glass utensil and put a dried red chilli with stem in it .
  • I kept this loosely covered with a lid in a switched off closed oven (which was NOT preheated) and let it stay there undisturbed overnight .

Result : Perfect Thick Creamy Curd is Ready! I then shifted it to the refrigerator for later use .

It was Creamy , smooth almost like an ice cream.

P.S : The bubbles on the surface are due to the extensive whisking I did.

What went right this time ? My observations :

  • The milk should be thoroughly boiled to evaporate excess water , specially when using toned milk . 
  • The perfect temperature when starter should be added , checked thoroughly using finger . Not too hot : it may murder the bacteria of starter . Not too cold : the starter won’t flourish . Warm enough to insert the finger and feel warmth but not get burnt. 
  • Homemade starter is better . But this method works even with store bought one .
  • Make a paste of starter by whisking it before adding so that it easily gets distributed in the milk.
  • Whisk the milk with starter and thoroughly mix the milk using two containers/glasses and pouring from a little height .
  • Use a glass / stainless steel / clay pot.
  • Keep a dried red chilli with stem on top. It helps in building up the starter . Many people use only chilli to make curd when they don’t have a starter . 
  • Leave the vessel undisturbed at a warm place . 
  • If making in winters , preheating oven may help but then wait for it to become warm from hot , which may take few minutes . Don’t put immediately after preheating . You can alternatively use casserole / warm cloth to cover the vessel. 

Credits for invaluable inputs : 

  • Chef At Large and its members : Madhu Chawla ji , Tanimaa Mehra Ji , Sujata Shukla Ji , Manasi Kulkarni ji , Jayanthi Narayan ji , Rashmi Shah ji , Shikha Grover Ji , Nivedita Jamsudkar Ji , Subhalaxmi ji, Chinki Bhatia  Ji , Dipali Agrawal Ji and all others who took the time and effort to help me .

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