If you live in East India there is very little incentive in making sweet yoghurt (misti doi) at home. Every place has a sweet shop selling it within a mile. Even in every other major Indian cities there are good Bengali sweet shops selling lal misti doi. However, being in US we aren’t so lucky. Misti doi which has been my favorite from childhood was sorely missed here. Notice the past tense in the previous sentence
This post relies on a lot of experimentation. My main target was to come up with an exact formulae with ingredients readily available in US which ensures minimal disappointment. Sounds technical, doesn’t it :)
- 350ml. or 1 can evaporated milk. I used a can I bought from FredMeyer
- 350ml or 1 can sweetened condensed milk. Nestle or Milkmaid or any other brand
- 250ml or 8oz sour cream (you can skip this if you don’t want to make your doi too thick)
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt OR active culture ( I have used home made
plain yogurt as my starter culture, store bought plain yogurt can work
but the label must indicate that the product contains live culture.)
In a heavy bottom pan take evaporated milk and bring it to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat and slowly add sweetened condensed milk to it. Mix it well.***
In a separate bowl take sour cream and whisk it to make it smooth.Gently add it to the milk mixture and make a homogeneous mixture of these three ingredients by mixing it well. There should not be any lump left inside.
In a small bowl beat the yogurt with a fork to liquefy it. Check the temperature of the milk mixture before you add the yogurt to it. It should be lukewarm. 45C/115F is ideal to make the lactobacillus, the bacteria in the culture active. If you add yogurt when the temperature of the milk mixture is high, the lactobacillus will die and your effort will be in vain. You can use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature. After adding yogurt to the mixture give it a nice stir. Pour the mixture into separate ramekins or serving bowl.
Preheat your oven at 170F/80C. Turn it off. Now place the ramekins inside the oven to set the yogurt. If the surrounding temperature is too low keep the oven light on. The warm oven will serve as a incubator. Don't disturb the ramekins until the yogurt is completely set, otherwise it will break the structure. If you are in India you
can set it in a cool dry place in your kitchen as the kitchens are warm enough to set it. It takes 3 - 6 hrs for the mishti doi to set. Once set take it out and chill in the refrigerator.
It is very important to cool the yogurt into the refrigerator once it is set. This way your yogurt won't be too sour as the cool temperature of refrigerator will inactivate the bacteria.
Traditionally mishti doi is set and served in unglazed earthen pot. Earthen pots make the curd thicker and creamier by gradual evaporation through its porous body and also maintaining the optimal temperature for the growth of culture.
To make lal doi you need
The process above will give you misti doi, but it will still be white. If you want to exactly match the color from the sweet shops , you need to do an extra step at the beginning
Take the following ingredients.
- 2tbsp of sugar
- 1/3rd cup hot evaporated milk (take it from the evaporated milk you have boiled)
Heat 2 tbsp of sugar in a pan on low heat till sugar melts and takes a nice deep brown color. Add hot evaporated milk and stir vigorously to avoid formation of lump. Add it to milk mixture (after step 1 of the procedure on top, marked with ***).