I learned to make curd three months after my wedding. Gj is a great fan of curd. If he is eating curd, then he needs to have some spicy side dish like Potato Fry, Prawn Curry etc. Once he eats his favorite combination of curd rice and spicy side dish, he will go to a deep sleep.
Whenever I need to get some work done by him, I will not make Curd Rice. When I was doing my masters here, Curd Rice used to be a very good option for me. Whenever I was loaded with assignments, I would simple make Curd Rice and a spicy curry. I am done…Gj also never complains because Curd Rice is his one of the top favorite food. Just three days after our wedding, my mom-in-law asked me if I knew the techniques of making curd. I thought curd is like a Sambar Recipe where it involves lot of preparation and cooking. Believe me…I was totally new to cooking then. I did not know even the basics of cooking. I was asking her the ingredients and the process of cooking curd. She was taken aback. She then explained me the whole procedure. I felt so embarrassed. My mom makes very good curd. I learned the art of making curd from her. My mom’s curd never falls out even if you turn the bowl upside down. Yes. It is true. You can see the pictures below where I have tilted the bowl and the curd does not fall out. My friends knew my mom’s technique, and urged me to write the procedure and tips for making the “Non Fall Yoghurt”. If you have any questions, please email me. So here goes the procedure….
Preparation Time. 15 minutes
Cook Time. 10 minutes
Set Time. 6 hours
Yield. 1 cup
Milk – 1 cup
Curd/Plain Yoghurt – 1.5 teaspoons
You can make curd/yoghurt using microwave oven and stove-top method. I have written the procedure for both the methods. You can choose whichever method is comfortable for you.
Microwave Oven Method
Boil a cup of milk for 15 minutes in a microwave container. If you think the milk will overflow, stop the oven at 7th minute and after a minute, reheat the milk for the remaining time. At the end of the 15th minute, you would see cream formed as a layer on top of the milk. If you want, you could remove the cream or else leave it as such. I have removed the cream in this method. Wait until the milk temperature comes down to lukewarm (It should be warm not hot. Just immerse your finger and you should be able to bear the heat for 15 seconds). Move on to Step 2.
Boil 2 cups of milk for about 10 minutes under medium flame. Reduce the flame for a minute at the time when the milk tries to overflow. Then again boil the milk well.
You will see a layer of cream formed on the milk. If you want you can remove the cream. It is your choice. At this time, switch off the stove. Let the milk come down to lukewarm temperature. It should be warm not hot.
Our Grandmother’s Method. Just immerse your finger onto the milk and you should be able to bear the heat for 15 seconds.
Modern Method. Approximately 115 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Move on to Step 2.
Now, take a clean container and add 1.5 teaspoons of curd.
Once you add the curd, pour the boiled milk on to the curd container and vice versa. Pour the milk three to four times vigorously. This makes the curd blend with the milk uniformly. The better they are mixed, the quicker and better the curd will set.
Now finally pour the milk to the container in which you are going to set the curd. Then close the container with an airtight lid and leave it undisturbed in a warm and cozy place. Usually, I keep it inside my oven. After 5 to 6 hours, the curd will be set.
Curd/Yoghurt set using Microwave Oven Method
Curd/Yoghurt set using Stove-Top Method
If you live in a cold place or your curd is taking longer time to form, then fill a vessel with hot water and place the curd container on it. Keep the curd container closed (as shown in the below picture).
How To Check if Your Curd/Yoghurt Is Perfect?
When you shake, tilt, or even place the Curd/Yoghurt bowl on its sides or even almost upside down, the curd should not come out. The curd should be quite firm.
Now, the fresh curd/yoghurt is ready! Refrigerate the curd.
- Generally, whole milk will yield a thick curd. I use 2% milk still I get thick curd. If you are using 1% milk, then your curd will be little watery.
- Homogenized milk needs more quantity of curd than the regular milk. Say for a cup of homogenized milk, you need to add 2 tablespoon of curd.
Temperature of the Milk
- Milk should not be very hot when you add the curd. The heat will kill the bacteria in curd, and your curd will not set properly.
- Milk should not be cold when you add curd. The curd will not set at all.
- Milk will set faster in summer than winter. Keep an eye on the curd during summer. If it is outside for long, the curd may turn sour.
- For a cup of milk, I use 1.5 teaspoons of curd. If you are making a large batch of curd, increase the quantity of curd proportionately.
- Always add fresh and thick curd (fresh culture) to the milk.
- When you add fresh curd to the milk, the curd should be at room temperature.
Fresh Batch of Curd/Yogurt
- If your curd is watery and gooey, then it means the temperature of the milk was not correct or the fresh curd (culture) was not enough. The milk would have been too hot or too cold.
- You can reserve a teaspoon of curd when you make a batch of curd and use it next time when you make curd again.
- Refrigerate the curd once it is set up.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why did my curd not set properly?
Your milk might have been too hot or cold at the time of adding curd/culture.
Your quantity of curd/culture was not enough.
2. Why is my curd half-set (half of it is curd and the other half is milk)?
Once you add the curd, you should stir well such that curd and milk are blended well. Curd should mix with the milk uniformly.
3. Can I use sour curd as a culture instead of fresh one?
Always use fresh curd. Whenever you make a batch of curd, reserve a teaspoon of curd for the next batch. You can either freeze or refrigerate the culture. One of my friends freezes it for 2 months and when she comes back, she will make a new batch of curd with the frozen culture. If you are using the frozen culture, let it come to the room temperature, and then add it to the lukewarm milk. If you use sour curd, your new batch of curd will turn sour quickly.
4. Even after 5 to 6 hours, my curd has not yet set, what should I do?
Place the curd in a vessel of hot water and leave it aside for another 1.5 hours. If the curd does not set, then somewhere something has gone wrong. Do not worry. You will get it by practice and experience.
5. My curd is little watery. What should I do?
Try refrigerating it for 2-3 hours.
6. I live in a cold place. I see my curd is taking a long time to set up.
For a cup of milk, instead of adding 2 teaspoons of curd, add 3.5 teaspoons of curd. Also place the curd in a vessel of hot water and leave it aside for it to set. You can also preheat the oven for just 2 minutes at 350F/180C. Switch off the oven. Keep the oven lights on and place the curd container inside the oven for 7 hours or let it stay overnight.
7. By mistake, I allowed the milk to cool down completely. What should I do now?
Its okay. Just heat the milk up and when it is lukewarm, add the curd culture.
8. When I boil milk, the bottom of my pan gets burnt and the milk has burnt flavor?
Keep stirring the milk on and off. or else use a non-stick pan.
9. Can I use the same container that I boiled milk to set up curd?
Do not make curd in the same container that you boiled milk. Set the curd in a different container.
10. Can I remove the cream that is formed on the milk?
It is your choice. With the cream, you will get a thick and creamy curd.