Tips for preparing Fermented Idli Batter In Winter

Winters are knocking at the door and who wants to step outside in the cold to satiate food craving. There’s a way to meet your hunger even without stepping out of the home. For instance, if you want to have idli, you must be aware of how to ferment idli batter in cold weather. Let’s learn the ways to ferment Idli batter In Winter.

  1. Addition of Fenugreek Seeds (Methi)
    Though not really necessary, adding Fenugreek seeds helps to aid fermentation. So add in about 1.5 tsp of Methi seeds (my ratio of rice and urad is 3:1).
  2. Grinding Separately
    Rice and Dal have to be ground separately. This results in an increase in volume and also aids in fermentation.
  3. Using Filtered Water
    Use non-chlorinated and/or filtered water since chlorine inhibits the growth of wild yeast which is essential for fermentation.
  4. Using Soaking water to Grind
    Though I have no scientific reason to back this theory, from my personal experience, I find that using soaking water (in which you soak your urad dal and rice) to grind the batter also helps to aid fermentation.
  5. Adding enough Salt
    At times, not adding enough salt to the batter after its ground can also be a reason for lack of fermentation. Try to add at least 1/2 tsp (my mother suggests 3/4 tsp- 1 tsp) for every 1 cup of dry ingredients (rice +urad dal). You might probably need to adjust later according to your taste.
  6. Consistency of the batter
    Adding too much water or too little will hinder fermentation. Give the batter a good stir with your hands instead of a ladle. The warmth from our body will help to kick start the fermenting process. Your end batter should have the consistency of ketchup, flowing, smooth and velvety in texture.
  7. Fermentation Temperature
    The ideal temperature for fermentation is 80-90F. If you live in a warmer place, then your fermentation should take place around the 8-hour mark.
    If you live in a place with the cold climate you would have to take the following precaution:
  • Place your vessel with the batter in a warm, draft-free place. Mostly this should be in a pre-heated oven (switch off the oven though). Leave the Oven light on, since it will give enough heat to keep the temperature steady throughout the fermentation period (mostly overnight). This should take about 10-12 hours.
  • You can also wrap a shawl around the vessel to keep it warmer. Make sure to use a huge vessel (which would accommodate even the doubled up volume of the batter) in that case. If fermentation occurs, your batter might overflow spoiling your shawl.
  • At times, if you use a room heater, placing the vessel in that room would help in fermentation.
  • I saw an idea where someone used a heating pad to proof their bread. I assume the same method might also help in fermentation as well.
  1. Last Resort if nothing works

There are three things you can do in such a case.
– Use a different Rice and Urad Dal. They might be contaminated or old. Also, try to opt for Whole Skinned Urad (namely Urad Gota) instead of split.
– Try a different recipe.
– Use half tsp of yeast in half cup water and a teaspoon of sugar and then adding it to a gallon of batter.

-If these methods also don’t work you can always get readymade idlidosa batter from any departmental store these days. Rishta readymade idlidosa batter  is one of the easily available brands that makes idli for breakfast and snacks.