If you are a south Indian, I am sure you have tried dosa at least once in your life. And you also know that dosa batter is fermented before cooking. But why do we ferment dosa batter?
There are several reasons to ferment dosa batter. It allows the batter to develop flavor and digestibility, makes the dosas more shelf-stable, and contributes to the overall texture of the dish. Also, it helps to increase the protein level by promoting the essential amino acid methionine.
Read on to know more about fermenting dosa batter.
Why Do We Ferment Dosa Batter?
There are a few different reasons why we ferment dosa batter. The most important reason is that it allows the batter to develop flavor and digestibility.
During fermentation, lactic acid bacteria break down the carbohydrates in the rice and lentils, making them easier to digest. Otherwise, the oil or ghee/butter contained in it might make it hard to digest and make you feel bloated with gas.
The bacteria also create compounds that add flavor to the dosa.
Another benefit of fermented batter is that it’s more shelf-stable. Unfermented batters tend to spoil quickly, but fermented batters can last for several days. This is especially helpful when you’re making dosas for a large crowd.
In general, fermentation can maintain the pH of the gut of any food, making it healthy. So, dosa batter is fermented to maintain pH balance which is vital to your health.
Moreover, fermentation also increases the final product’s protein level. Additionally, fermentation increases the levels of vitamins and minerals in the batter.
What Happens If You Don’t Ferment Dosa Batter?
Fermentation is the metabolic process in which microorganisms’ activity creates a noticeable change in foods by balancing the bacteria and moisture in them. It can increase the taste and flavors by maintaining the food’s health values and protein level. Additionally, it gives the right texture to any food.
While fermentation of dosa batter might not bring specific change to the flavors, it is responsible for making the crepe really crispy. If you ever try making dosa with unfermented batter, you may face the following issues.
1. Dosa Will Not Taste Good
As you already know, dosa is a south Indian food, and because of its unique taste and flavor, it has become popular worldwide. The South Indians always make their dosa after they have fermented the batter. Because without the fermentation, you will not get the dish’s original taste.
2. The Crepe Will Not Look Right
The dosa tastes not only unique but also looks unique, which is a big appeal to foreigners and people of other countries. It is supposed to look like a flawless roll made of crispy crepe.
If the batter is not fermented well, then the crepe might not turn out to be as crispy as it was supposed to. Also, it might break or crack, destroying the perfect look of this item.
3. The Crepe Might Taste Rubbery
If you do not ferment your dosa batter, the looks of the dish change, as well as the texture and taste. The dish might not turn out to be crispy as it is supposed to be. Instead, it might become rubbery, making it hard to eat.
How Long Does Fermented Dosa Batter Last?
If stored properly, fermented dosa batter can easily last for up to 4 days to 1 month. But how and in which condition?
The key is to keep the batter in a cool, dark place, such as the refrigerator.
While you need to ferment dosa batter for 8 hours, it can last 4 days in the air-tight container in the refrigerator. But you can preserve it in the freezer for 1 month.
However, be sure to stir the batter before each use and discard any that has developed mold or other signs of spoilage. With a little effort, you can enjoy delicious and healthy dosa anytime.
What Happens If Dosa Batter Is Over-Fermented?
If you add too much salt before fermentation, the batter can get really sour. The fermented batter usually gets rid of all the harmful bacteria, but when it is over-fermented, it might not be healthy to utilize it.
The dosa batter will not taste as good as the fermented dosas when it is over-fermented. Instead, it might taste sour like store-bought batter.
Making dosas with over-fermented batter can result in the batter being too thick or too thin. The dosa can get hard and spongy if the batter is too thick. And if it is too thin, it will be hard to fold after baking. It will not taste good either.
It is not easy to make dosas with over-fermented batter either. It can get too flat or too compressed. The batter might not expand enough during the making process. It can build up excessive gas production and gluten structure that can be hazardous for your health.
Also, when the batter is over fermented and has not been used in 24 hours, it produces a high amount of harmful bacteria, and fungus may start to develop. If you eat this, there can be a high risk of acidity and other health complications.
What Do I Do When My Dosa Batter is Over Fermented?
Sometimes, a measurement mistake can ruin the batter by making it over-fermented. Sometimes you can fix it by adding a few more ingredients; sometimes, you cannot use it to make the dosa. You can fix the over-fermented dosa batter using any of the following methods.
1. Try Adding Rice Flour
If you find that your dosa batter is over-fermented, you can add more rice flour to see if that fixes the issue, as it does not have a different taste or flavor. But it can consume the sour taste you might experience after making over fermented dosa.
However, this might not always work, and you can only add the rice flour in small quantities.
2. Add More Sugar
Adding a little bit more sugar might help eliminate the sourness of your over-fermented batter. Additionally, this can increase the crispness of your dosa. However, too much sugar can ruin the batter.
3. Drain Out Excess Water
Battering needs lots of water, but it is supposed to dry out when you store it. You can know your batter has been over-fermented by noticing a layer of water over it. You can often fix the batter by getting rid of the excess water. This has to be done before mixing.
Make sure not to add chlorinated water as this can hinder the fermentation.
4. Make Masala Dosa
Plain dosa can get ruined by the over-fermented batter, but you can still use it in making masala dosa. Also, inserting vegetables like- cabbages and potatoes inside the dosa will eliminate the sour taste. Also, you can use kosher salt instead of regular salt.
5. Try Making A Different Dish
If you cannot fix the batter at all, you can make Uttapam. It is another South Indian dish very similar to dosa as the batter is made in a similar process. While making uttapams with over-fermented batter, you can add onions and other vegetables to make it taste better.
You can also make it a lentil batter or idli dosa batter to make it taste better. Additionally, you can try making poha and sambar as well.
Is Fermented Dosa Good For Health?
While regular dosa is high in oil and fat and thus can be harmful to health, fermented dosa is quite the opposite. The fermentation increases the taste and texture of this dish and makes it a healthy food. There are some other factors too.
- Less Toxic
While you ferment the dosa, it breaks down its toxic elements, such as extra fat, complex protein, carbohydrate, etc. So, you can consume more nutrition and less harmful elements from the dosa when you consume it.
- More Nutrients
As fermentation increases the nutritious elements in the dosa, you can even get necessary vitamins from it, like- vitamin B. Additionally, this food item consists of protein as well. And when you ferment it, you get the full protein from it.
- Better Digestion
Dosa is a versatile recipe. There can be a lot of ways of preparing it. And it can not be prepared without oil or ghee, or butter. It can give you gastric and indigestion. But when you ferment dosa batter, it can ensure better digestion.
Fermentation helps produce good acids like lactic acid and healthy bacteria and prevents harmful microflora. This maintains the pH balance in food. So, fermented dosa is good for health.
Let’s see the nutrient value per cup of dosa batter
Are you still thinking – why do we ferment dosa batter?
Well, we ferment dosa batter to make it healthier and to make the dosa taste better. However, if you cannot ferment the dosa batter properly, your crispy dosa can get ruined. So, make sure to check the recipe properly a couple of times before the process.
Often adding baking soda helps with proper fermentation. Additionally, make sure to keep track of the fermentation times. Also, you should store the batter in a dry, cool place with no heat.