About This Recipe
Equipment: Ceramic bowl with cover (6 quart/ 500 ml capacity), the thicker the better.
Note: Use fresh, preferably full-fat/whole milk for a creamier yogurt. Avoid UHT (ultra-high-temperature pasteurized milk).
When setting any cultured dairy, you can use a couple of spoons of starter from a previous fresh batch of yogurt (as in this recipe), or use powdered, freeze-dried culture. The culture from fresh yogurt is more active, so the curd will tend to set well. However, there’s an element of wild fermentation involved, as the strain is at the mercy of the environment. It might go sour or lose its texture after some time. Find active Greek yogurt in the supermarket, and Indian dahi at an Indian grocery. Or you can always use an “heirloom” starter from a friend or family member!
Sachets of dried cultures are available online. With a sachet, the culture is separated and grown under controlled conditions. It tends to be very stable, and the set can be very good depending on the brand you buy it from. But because it’s in a freeze-dried state it can take a couple of batches to activate and set really well. If you do use a sachet, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer as the proportion of culture to milk will vary.
- 1 pint (500 ml) milk
- 2 Tbsp active Indian dahi or Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp raw, local honey (optional)
Step 1Reserving ½ a cup (125ml) of milk, heat the remaining milk until it comes to a boil, about 180°F (80°C). As soon as it begins to bubble, let it simmer for about a minute, then switch off the heat.
Step 2Let the milk cool to about 98°F (37°C). An easy way to check this is to use your body temperature as a gauge: the milk should be slightly warm to the touch, not hot.
Step 3You can optionally warm your bowl in a microwave for 30 seconds, or in an oven for about 1 minute. Make sure it isn’t hot though, just warm to the touch.
Step 4Pour the reserved room temperature milk into the bowl. Add in the yogurt culture — dahi or Greek yogurt, depending on which one you’re making. Whisk it gently but thoroughly to ensure it evenly inoculates the milk.
Step 5To subtly sweeten your yogurt, whisk in raw honey if using. You’ll also get the benefits of the probiotics in honey added to those in your yogurt.
Step 6Add the remaining warmed milk to the bowl, stir well, and cover with a lid. Store in a warm place to set. You can wrap the bowl with a warm towel to maintain optimum temperature, or keep it in an oven with the light on. Depending on the season and temperature, dahi will take around 6 to 10 hours; yogurt should take around 5 to 8 hours. To check if it is set, gently tilt the bowl, the curd should jiggle but not flow. To get a firm, thick set, refrigerate the bowl for an additional 4 hours, and ideally overnight.
Level Up: Greek yogurt is typically strained for a thicker consistency; Indian dahi can also be strained to make chakka dahi or hung curd. You can also use homemade dahi to make a salted lassi.