How to Make Idli Batter Ferment Quickly 

how to make idli batter ferment quiclkly

Idli, which originated in India, is one of South India’s most popular meals, enjoyed and welcomed both in India and worldwide. It’s usually eaten for breakfast. Idli is made primarily with rice and black lentils as the main ingredients. The preparation method involves fermenting the components and then steaming the batter made from those ingredients in an idli maker of high quality to cook soft and fluffy Idli’s.

In this article we will discuss how fermentation is important, what factors slow it down, and some tips that you need to keep in mind while fermenting the batter.

What is Fermentation and Why is it Important for Idli Batter?

how to ferment idli batter immediately

In scientific terms, fermentation is a metabolic process in which an organism converts a carbohydrate, such as starch or sugar, into an alcohol or an acid. The batter, which must be fully fermented to generate soft, fluffy idlis, is the most important component.

The idli batter is made from rice and urad dal, or black lentil, and it goes through several steps. Heat promotes the growth of bacteria such as yeasts, which break down carbon dioxide and water in the presence of oxygen and sugar. Water dissolves, but carbon dioxide generates bubbles, which thicken the batter and cause it to swell.

What Factors Could Slow Down Idli Batter Fermentation? 

  • Several factors influence the initiation and course of fermentation. The acid bacteria’s growth and metabolic activities are influenced by temperature, pH, acidity, ethanol, sulfite, and the availability of nutrients. Lactic acid bacteria have more stringent conditions for growth than yeast.
  • Lack of fermentation can also be caused by not adding enough salt to the batter after it has been ground.
  • Fermentation will be hampered if you add too much or too little water. Instead of using a spoon, give the batter a vigorous stir with your hands.
  • Using contaminated rice and urad dal can affect fermentation.

Tips for Quickly Fermenting Idli Batter

how to ferment idli batter in winter
  • The first step in batter fermentation is to stir the batter with your hands. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the dal and rice batter. Failures are caused by uneven mixing. It’s preferable to mix them by hand.
  • Don’t forget to add the washed water from the grinder before mixing the batter with your hands. But only add a small amount of it.
  • While grinding the rice, you can also add a handful of poha or cooked rice. It aids in the rapid fermentation process.
  • Fermentation necessitates a warm environment. The temperature should be between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius (77 and 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit). If it’s cold outside, keep some warm water in a large bowl and soak the batter vessel. Cover it with a blanket or use a regulated heater, such as a heating pad or aquarium heater, to help maintain the temperature. To make things even easier, switch on the oven light and use it to keep the batter warm.
  • When ready to make the batter, preheat the oven to 90 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes and then turn it off.
  • Turn on the oven lights and keep the batter covered inside the oven. It is beneficial.
  • Ferment the batter with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda or baking powder. It will help the batter’s ability to rise in chilly weather. When grinding, add poha or cooked rice to speed up the fermentation process.
  • Ferment for at least 24 hours. The batter will not rise if you don’t observe little bubbles the next morning, and you’ll have to start over.
  • If nothing else seems to be working, consider adding a fermentation starter, such as a teaspoon of commercially prepared idli mix, which contains live culture and helps in the fermentation process.
  • Tap water will also work, but it will slow down the fermentation. Most modern water filters remove both chlorine and chloramine. To avoid chlorine or fluorine, use non-iodized salt such as “Kosher salt” and spring water, boiling, or filtered tap water.

How to Create a Warmer Temperature to Ferment Idli Batter in Winter 

  • Wrap a blanket around the container and store it somewhere warm in your home. It’s fine even if you only receive a glimpse of sunlight.
  • Keep the container in the oven for 2-3 hours with the oven light on. The oven light does not need to be on the entire time or for hours. It is, in my opinion, a waste of resources. It generates a warm environment conducive to the fermentation of the batter after being on for 2-3 hours.
  • Another trick is to add salt to the mix, which helps in the fermentation process, particularly in colder climates. If you’re in a hot area, don’t add salt earlier. It should only be added after the batter has fermented. This ensures that the batter stays fresh for as long as possible.
  • In colder areas, the time necessary will be around 16–24 hours. It will not ferment for 6-8 hours or overnight. So take your time.
  • If you’re going to keep it in the oven, don’t open the door. All of the heat produced will be dissipated.
  • Close the container loosely on top rather than tightly.
  • For the batter, try to use a steel or glass container.
  • Finally, remember to keep a plate or tray at the bottom to avoid a mess.

Storing and Reusing Idli Batter After Fermentation 

  • When the batter is well fermented, combine it with the salt and use it as needed.
  • The batter will stay in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
  • After keeping it in the fridge for a while, it’s best to take it out and let it sit outside for at least 30 minutes before making dosa. Or you can use it immediately. 
  • The consistency of Idlis is a little thicker than that of Dosa.
  • You can prepare Uttapam with batter that is similar to that of Idlis.
  • On the first day, make idlis, and the next day, dosa or uttapam. After two days, the dosas will be crispier and taste better.


Fermentation causes the batter to rise, become lighter, and grow in volume, doubling its size, thickening it, and fluffier. When you steam this batter for idlis, the bacteria or yeast that help in fermentation are eliminated, resulting in soft idlis. Remember that the temperature for the bacteria to perish should be between 60 and 80 degrees Celsius. Bacteria will not die below this temperature and will eventually ruin the food.

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