How to make Curd or Dahi at home-Curd making Tips and Troubleshooting

Curd makingI belong to a Tambram family where we eat curd all three times a day and hence Curd making is in my genes. At my mothers place for a brief period of time, we had cows at our backyard. We used to get fresh milk from cows and all milk related food items were a plenty. I wonder seeing people buy curd at store as it is such a simple thing to make at home. In this post I shall be covering the process for making curd, common mistakes in making curd, how to restore curd that has not set well, making curd without a starter. Also a secret tip on making curd when you are just going for trip. Read on.

Tambram’s affinity toward curd is known to the globe. I guess next to Tambram it is only punjabi’s who are very fond of curd. On the lighter side, I opened refrigerator now to take a snap, I found three vessels with curd are in the fridge and one more curd in the making. I am now thinking about how I will be using them up tomorrow.

My husband’s famous saying is that it is enough if he has curd rice all three meals. In the initial days of marriage, it used to be a gruelling statement to hear it. He used to say this after seeing elaborate spread I had prepared to tease me. I used to tell him that when I get an opportunity to take revenge, I would feed him for 15 days all three meals curd rice.

Nevertheless even for me, meal is incomplete without curd rice. Curd is one of the whites doctor asked me to avoid. But I cannot give up curd, so I eat a spoonful at the end of a meal. What a compromise!!!

Our families have perfected the art of making curd. As an authority on Curd, here is a post on making and troubleshooting curd.

How to make Curd or Dahi at home – Curd making



Curd making

Course: Know-how
Cuisine: Indian
  • 1 Ltr Milk Full creme
  • 1 Tbsp Curd As starter
  • 1 Nos Dry Red chilli Optional
  1. Take a Handi or Pot. Clean well and add milk. Bring milk to boil.

  2. Allow milk to cool down. Temperature should be about 50 degree Celcius. It should be warm when you touch with hand,

  3. In a cup, add 1 Tbsp of water to 1 Tbsp of curd and dilute it to buttermilk consistency. Add the diluted curd to the warm milk and mix well.

  4. Add a torn dry red chilli to the milk and allow it to set. This step is optional. I do not add this to my curd. But if you are new comer to making curd, I suggest you add chilli, as it is a sure shot method to get good curd. Curd will not turn spicy. You can remove it before consuming curd.

  5. Leave a spoon inside the milk vessel. You can take out the spoon once curd sets. Putting a spoon helps in ensuring that right amount of culture. Curd will not turn sour if you had added a spoon in the vessel.

Tips for good Curd making:

* Temperature of the milk should be lukewarm. Cold milk will not allow culture from starter to grow and hot milk will kill the culture. Right temperature is a must.

*Dilute starter and add to the milk. Again if you dilute more, the culture would become weak. A thick spoon of curd will not spread the culture. At our houses, we usually have buttermilk readily available and we use butter milk as starter. We add 2 to 3 tablespoon of buttermilk.

*Adding a spoon inside the milk pot, is a secret tip. It helps to set curd and also protects against curd becoming sour.

*If you are using eartherware to set curd, you will sure shot get thick curd that stays super fresh. Earthenware seeps out extra water making curd thick. Since the vessel breathes, it helps curd to stay fresh for long. Before we got refrigerator at home, we used to set curd only in earthenware. I use earthenware to make sambar. Need to buy one as curd pot too 🙂

* Adding a Tsp of sugar to the boiled milk, helps is getting sweet curd.

Curd making without a starter


Curd is normally set using curd/buttermilk as starter. If incase you do not have curd, you can still make curd. My mother does this every time. Simply add 10 stalks of Red chillies to the warm milk and rest for 6 hours. You will see the curd setting in.

Common problems with curd making and remedies



Problem Reason and Remedy
Curd is not set inspite of adding culture * Be sure on the temperature of the milk before adding culture. It should be lukewarm.
* Add right amount of culture as given above.
I had added curd to the hot milk and I find that curd is not set * Your curd can be saved by doing steps exactly as given below.
– In a vessel boil water. Amount of water to boil should roughly be 1/5th of the milk quantity. Add the boiling water to the vessel in which you had earlier set curd.
– This should bring temperature of the milk to luke warm. Now add the culture as given above.
– Add a stalk to red chilli and leave it undisturbed for 4 hours in a warm place. You can see curd setting in.
After adding culture, the milk curdles * You had added curd to the very hot milk. This cannot be saved.
Curd has set, but has become very soar * This is because of presence of more culture than needed. Either you had added more culture or you had kept curd pot in a place whose temperature is very high. Adjust accordingly.
Texture of curd is correct, but curd tastes like milk. * Just allow curd to sit in for couple of more hours. Next time when you set, make sure culture is correct.
Curd becomes sticky * Your culture has gelatine and hence it is sticky. Next time try a different starter.
* In Chennai, we get unique problem in summer. With our own culture curd becomes sticky. This is because strain of the culture had altered due to hot weather. We start the curd from a good starter again.


Foolproof Curd making


*Check the temperature of the milk. Ensure it is between 45 to 50 degree Celsius.

*Add culture and transfer to a casserole. You will see well set curd

Setting curd when you are about to move


*If you are traveling immediately after setting curd, leaving it outside would make a sour curd. Keeping it inside the fridge would not set curd. Here is a solution.

*Take a casserole and condition it by rinsing it in hot boiling water.

*Transfer the milk+Culture to the casserole and seal the casserole well.

*Keep the casserole in the fridge. Casserole can retain temperature for few hours within which curd would be set.

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Related: Have you read my post on storing vegetables. Also read my post on making instant Mor-Kuzhambu and Tomato Pachhadi which made with curd. I am sure you would like.


Comments 4

  • Thank you for the tips. Any particular tips for curd making in cool weather regions. I have tried all the tips you have provided except for caserole one. I’ll try that option too. If you have any other way please share it

    • Mathangi Thanks for stopping by. you need ensure that place is warm enough for fermentation to occur. You can keep heat the oven to 35degree celcius and keep the vessel rolled in warm clothing like sweaters. It would help to retain temperature and promote culture formation.

  • I had my best curd in Andhra…. they make it with mud pot. So creamier and cooler too.

  • Yes Mam. Making it mud pot makes curd thick and stays fresh outside of the fridge. Thanks for stopping by mam.

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