Homemade Yogurt (Dahi)

Homemade yogurt/dahi/curd is so simple to make that you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before. Use organic milk to make organic yogurt. Try this recipe and you will agree that homemade yogurt has a delicious flavor that is very different from store bought ones, not to mention how much cheaper it is to make versus buying.

Ingredients:

Whole Milk – 4 cups
Starter Yogurt – 1 heaping Tbsp

Method:

1. Bring Milk to a boil on the stove top or microwave. If you have a candy thermometer, bring milk to approx 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Allow Milk to cool to slightly warmer than luke warm (approx 115 degrees F on a candy thermometer).
3. Add Starter Yogurt to the Milk and blend together with a hand blender or whisk.
4. Transfer Milk to a container with a tight fitting lid.
5. Preheat oven to 180 degrees F and switch oven OFF.
6. Place container with milk into warm oven and set timer for 3 1/2 hours.
7. After 3 1/2 hours, remove yogurt from oven and store in refrigerator.

Tips:

1. Starter yogurt can be from your previous batch or you can buy a small single serve Plain Yogurt from the grocery store.
2. Do not add starter yogurt into hot milk or yogurt bacteria will die and yogurt will not set.
3. If you prefer yogurt which is on the tart (sour) side, keep the yogurt in the warm oven for 5-6 hours. The longer you keep it outside, the more sour it becomes.

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175 thoughts on “Homemade Yogurt (Dahi)

  1. Hi Hetal Didi,
    thank you very much for your kind and quick answer. Probably the whey was less than 2 inches, I’m more familiar with decimal system!So it was more like two centimeters…Anyway, I poured out the whey and the yogurt tastes really good.
    I’d like to thank you for sharing all these recipes, I’m really fond of Indian cuisine and of India, and it’s a pleasure to see Anuja and you creating so amazing dishes. I tried several of them and all turned out good! Good job girls!

  2. Hi Federica,

    There tends to be a little whey on the top of the yogurt but we’ve never seen 2 inches — that seems like a lot. Many times, the more fat content in the milk, the less whey. If your yogurt was nicely set at the bottom of the whey,you can just pour off the whey and use the yogurt. Also, once you cut into the set yogurt, whey will collect in the space where the yogurt was — this is normal.

  3. Hallo,
    I tried to do homemade dahi. I followed your instruction. The fist time it turned out perfect, bur the second time there were about two inches of whey on the top of the yogurt. Why?
    Thanks in advance for your answer.
    Federica

  4. HI DDC,

    The longer you leave the yogurt out to set, the more sour it becomes. It also helps to start with a sour starter.

  5. hi
    my gooodddd,
    i have known this recipe for years, nva done it bfore actually, but when i decide to make it, exactly like that, the curd sets real nice but it doesnt taste sour… a bit actually, but i always have it more than 7 hrs (i like it sour and strong),.. mine is good but sour…. :(( wat do i do… thx so much… nice website btw

  6. HI Rosa,

    We’ve never made soy yogurt but know that you can make it. The actual term is “cultured soy milk” since “yogurt” can technically be used for dairy milk products.

    You can follow the same procedure, however you do not have to boil the soy milk. Just heat it to very luke warm before adding your starter. You can buy a small container of cultured soy milk from some of the whole foods type stores for your starter. Or, if allergy is not a problem, you can use plain yogurt. Soy yogurt may take a little longer to set so you can check on it after 3-4 hours and leave it longer if necessary. Let us know if it works for you.

  7. Hello, I have just found your website and I love it! I wanted to know if I can use soymilk in place of the whole milk for the homemade yogurt? I can’t wait to make the yogurt.

  8. Hi Jayashree,

    You do not have to remove the cream (unless you want to). When you mix the milk with the starter yogurt, the cream should break up.

    You can switch off your oven as soon as it reaches 180 degrees F. You do not need to keep it on after that.

  9. I have a question regarding homemade yogurt, After the milk is boiled well the cream that is formed at the top, should i remove the cream before putting the starter yoghurt?? Also do let me know for how many minutes should i preheat the oven to 180 degrees F ?

    Thanks for your time & response

  10. Hi Aliyah,

    Your container and size seems to be right. We have an electric oven so we set the temp to 180 degrees F and when it reaches that temp, we switch it off. We do not keep the oven going for any longer.

    Maybe it’s the electric filament which remains warmer longer than gas, which must simply turn off (similar to an electric stove where it’s still hot even after turning if off versus a gas flame which just shuts off). If this is the case, then maybe you can kick start the oven a few times in between to keep it warm.
    Of course the opposite could also apply. If the pilot light remains on all the time, the temperature might be too hot and kills the yogurt bacteria. Therefore it will never set.

    Another option: If you have an ice box (igloo), you could fill it with very warm water and place your container in there. Close the lid to the igloo so that the water remains warm.

  11. Thank you so much for your speedy response. i can tell you that my container is probably what you get from chinese takeaway place. it’s the only plastic container i have that has a tight lid – also i have seen indian shops that their yogurts are in these containers too.
    I have a gas oven and i know 180F is gas mark 4. how long do i leave the oven on for before i turn it off and place the milk mixture in? i’m thinking maybe the oven cools down too quickly and i’ve not heated it long enough?

    i am not giving up until i learn how to make this dhai.
    i really appreciate you responding back! at least i know there’s someone at hand to help.

  12. Hi Aliyah,

    After putting a lot of thought into your predicament, here are 2 reasons why your yogurt may not be setting.

    1. The container you use to set the yogurt can affect how long it takes to set. We used a plastic container and kept it in the warm oven. If you are using glass, the time it takes to set may be longer.

    2. The size of your container will affect the setting time. Our containers are 1 quart size. If your container is larger, it may take longer to set.

    If you want to make the yogurt sweet, you can just add your jaggery while boiling the milk. You may have to use your stove and stir frequently instead of your microwave so that the milk does not boil over.

    Hope it works for you :).

  13. o my goodness!! help me! i have tried 4 times already and yet still my yogurt does not set.
    I have tried various versions but your recipe was the easiest to follow both visually and in writing.
    What is going wrong for me? my yoghurt is runny as milk. i tried using plain yoghurt to set it and that didn’t work – then i tried “LIVE” natural yogurt and still it has not worked. i tried leaving it overnight in my boiler room – nothing. With all hope tried the oven method and still no hope. I have followed the recipe to a tee and still when i take out my container after 3-4 hours – it is still runny!
    Do i have to leave it in the fridge straight after the 3 1/2 hours int he oven? if so,how long do i refridgerate it?
    Also i’m hoping to add Jaggery as a sweet element to the boiling milk – will this effect the setting too?

  14. I tried to make this last night but I don’t know what happened because it was still liquid lose when I took it out of the fridge. I had a candy thermometer so I don’t know if the temperatures were wrong. I also don’t know if the milk was boiling when I took it out but it was 180 degrees. I really don’t know what I did wrong. Any help?

  15. hi I always fail to make yogurt at home so can u tell me the exact temp of the milk after it cools down where we add the sample yogurt.I will thus take all the guess work out as to when to add the yogurt culture into it please.tell me the exact temp when we have to add the sample yogurt

  16. Hello! I came across your videos yesterday and I like them very much. I am going to try out your yoghurt recipe tomorrow. It is good that you place comments. If I hadn’t read them, I would place the yoghurt at the temperature of 180 Celsius (356 F) 😉

  17. Hi Trish,

    It is a good idea to change your starter yogurt from time to time. In addition to the good bacteria, foreign bacteria also gets introduced in the mix. One tip we’ve heard of: buy a container of store bought yogurt,fill an ice cube tray with the yogurt and freeze it. When you’re ready to change out your starter yogurt, you can thaw out one cube of the original store bought yogurt and use that.

  18. I have heard that if you keep a starter from your homemade yogurt, that after several batches the good bacteria cultures decline and that you should get a new starter (from the store?). Do you know if this is true or can you take starter yogurt from each batch to make a new one indefinately?

  19. Hi Mariam,

    Thanks! Starter yogurt is basically just plain yogurt. You have to use some existing yogurt to make more. You can buy a small container of plain yogurt from the grocery store and use it to make your first batch. Once you have made your own yogurt, be sure to keep a little aside each time to make your next batch.

    We’re so glad you enjoy Indian cuisine. Please feel free to ask any questions.

  20. hi girls
    first thanks so much for the beautiful cisine….i love ur style and spirit. Anyways, one question can u tell me wht is yugurt starter that u add to the milk. please, am not fimiliar with indian cusine but am trying to learn more cause i enjoy and love the food!!!! thank u so much

  21. Hi Charunima,

    There are different kinds of sour creams available. One is called “natural” and the other “original”. The natural one is closest to hung yogurt. However, many people do not like the taste of sour cream because it doesn’t taste “exactly” like yogurt. Also, sour cream is not always as sour as sour curd. You can however use it in kadhi. Let me warn you though, it is very high in fat content.

  22. Hi Chefs,
    I’m yet to try your method of turning the oven to 180 F degrees. I will try that and let you know.
    Meanwhile, what is SOUR CREAM? Can I use it as a substitute for sour-curd or sour-buttermilk to make Kadhi etc????
    Awaiting your reply…..

  23. Hi Charunima,

    Usually, the longer you leave curd/yogurt out to set, the more sour it becomes. I am really surprised that leaving it overnight is not making it sour. My yogurt sets in 3 1/2 hours (because I like it mild). If I were to leave it overnight, it would definitely be a lot more sour.

    Instead of keeping the oven light on, try turning on your oven until it reaches 180 F degrees. Switch it OFF and then put your milk/starter in and leave it overnight. The warmer temp should help it. Let us know if it works.

  24. Hi,
    Love your site. I made Veg-Lasagna and it was success-at-first-attempt. My husband loved it. THANK U…..
    Please tell me how to make the curd SOUR to make dishes like Kadhi, Rava dosa, Rava idly, Tamilian specialities like Mor-kali, Mor-kuzhambu etc. I set my own curd but it does not become sour at all even after a week.
    I boil milk, cool it to lukewarm, add the starter-curd, mix and leave it in the oven with the light on. It sets overnight. In the morning, I get nicely set curd good enough for curd-rice, raita etc. But NOT SOUR ENOUGH to make other dishes TANGY. (I use the Desi brand dahi from Indian store as my starter-curd).
    I love my curd to be slightly on the sour side than on the plain sweet side. SO, PLEASE ADVISE…….

  25. Hi Roopa,

    Is your oven temperature readout digital? If so, when you turn on your oven, it should start telling you the temperature while it is increasing to 200 degrees. Turn it off as soon as it reaches 180 degrees.

    If it is not digital, how do you usually tell if your oven has reached the correct temperature (for preheating purposes)?

    If there is no way to tell, then turn on the oven and wait probably 3-4 minutes and turn it off.

    2% milk works fine but the consistency will not be as thick at whole milk. I also use 2% milk.

  26. Hi Hetal,
    The lowest temp on my oven is 200F so how much time switch on the oven? and I use 2% milk.

    I tried your recipes it comes good and taste was really good.

  27. Hi Asma,

    Sometimes, depending on how warm the milk was when you added the started yogurt affects the outcome. The milk should be very warm…similar to very warm bath water (but not hot). If the yogurt has not set after 3 1/2 hours, if is perfectly OK to keep it out 1-2 hours longer (it will not spoil, but the longer it’s outside, the more sour it will be). Also, many times, the yogurt seems not to have set but as soon as you keep it in the fridge, it hardens up. Good luck and let us know if it turns out.

  28. hi guys, I love your website!!!
    you know, because pf you guys I was able to make yogurt (first time in my life, i must have tried 30 times….) but I had a slight problem, only top of my yogurt was set but the rest was all watery. what do u guys think I did wronge?

  29. When boiling milk, the cream or malai usually forms at the top of the milk. When the milk is cooled down and the yogurt (curd) forms, the malai is still there and usually floats to the top.

  30. Linda:

    Yes, some people do use powder milk to thicken the yogurt but we prefer it to have a more natural flavor (that is the whole point of making it at home).

    Regarding the others – 2%, 1% and skim milk, needless to say, that whole milk yogurt is going to be thicker than 2%, 1% or skim. The lower fat content in the milk makes the yogurt more watery. We, personally, use 2% for our daily use and it works out really well. I would not reccomend going lower than that but if you do, then go ahead and add the powdered milk.

    Hope this helps!

  31. Hi Shama:

    I been reading other recipes for homemade yogurt and I noticed that their recipes calls also for nonfat powder skim milk to get the tickness in the yoogurt, what about it?. And also can I use low fat milk like 2%, or 1% or skim milk too??.
    Please can you help me out with these questions?.
    Thank you very much.

  32. Also, I wanted to take the time to thank both of you for your wonderful recipes. I have tried your kulfi recipe earlier and it turned out like a charm the first time – I have only started cooking a year ago and I love to learn new recipes

    Once again, thank you very much for your time, effort and wonderful recipes

  33. Ok so I tried youghurt today. Some of the yoghurt turned out nice and thick and some of it was loose and watery. Any suggestions as to what must I watch out for. I made sure to mix starter youghurt when the milk became luke warm. Any other tips?
    I’ll try again tomorrow

  34. Awesome, thanks Hetal for the quick response. The youghurt is sitting in the oven now. I am looking forward to see how it turns out 🙂

  35. Hi again Shama,

    Yogurt lasts at least 2 weeks in the fridge, sometimes longer. You can tell yogurt has gone bad if it smells bad. A tip to increase the shelf life is to take as much as you need and keep it back in the fridge immediately. Many people sit at the dinner table for 30 mins to 1 hour with the yogurt can out the whole time. This not only makes the yogurt more sour, but it does not last as long.

  36. Hi Shama,

    When your oven reaches 200F, turn it off and just open the door to air it out for 30 secs. That should reduce the temperature back down a bit.

  37. I am trying it out today and will let you know how it turns out. The lowest temp on my oven is 200F so I figured I will wait 5/10min before I put the container in the oven. You think thats about correct estimation?

    Additionally I wanted to know how long can this youghurt be stored for? What is the refrigrator life of the youghurt?

  38. 180 degrees Fahrenheit is not hot enough to melt anything. Be sure you turn off the oven as soon as it reaches this temperature. You are placing the plastic container in an oven which has been switched off.

  39. Hi,
    I liked your recipe but i do have a very simple question i.e., you have shifted the milk to a plastic container before keeping it in the oven, so due to the heat will the container melt?????

  40. Hi MJ,

    Yes, you put the container with milk and starter directly in the oven as soon as you switch it off. 180 degrees F is really not that hot, so if you wait to let it cool, you will defeat the purpose of heating it. Good luck and let us know how it comes out.

  41. Hi, thanks for this recipe. One question: do you put in the container (with milk and starter) straightaway in the 180 degrees hot over, or do you wait for it to cool down a bit?

    I love home-made yoghurt. I know we would often have it in India, but I haven’t tried to make it here.

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