Doogh has an unmistakable tangy, fizzy, refreshing flavor. It is made from fermented milk and served with carbonated water over ice (and sometimes with mint). It is popular in Iran and enjoyed during warmer months as a refreshing and nourishing digestive drink.
Many Persian meals end with a glass of dough, and it is simple to make at home. In this recipe post, I show you how to make it with either yogurt and milk or with a shortcut method using kefir. If you already love fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha, doogh is perfect for you!
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Why this recipe works
This recipe uses yogurt to ferment the milk and dilutes the liquid with water so it's a pourable thickness after fermentation.
This fermentation only requires an airtight container. No fancy equipment necessary, but I do recommend an instant-read thermometer.
We add the yogurt after the milk and water mixture have cooled to 110F. This makes sure we do not kill the yogurt cultures by heating them to too high of a temperature.
We let the feed sit at room temperature, which facilitates the fermentation process. This converts the sugar into acid, gas, and alcohol in the yogurt, making it thick and tangy.
Ingredients & substitutions
Milk – This recipe is most delicious with whole milk. Make sure to use pasteurized milk that has at least a 2% fat content.
Yogurt – Use plain or Greek yogurt for this to work properly. You can substitute yogurt for ½ cup of kefir in the recipe.
Honey – Optional. I llike to use it because it takes the edge off the tartness. The addition or omission does not affect the fermentation.
Carbonated water – Use any unflavored sparkling or carbonated water.
Mint – The mint is optional. Use dried and ground mint to add to the doogh to taste, plus a sprig of mint if you want to add an optional garnish. In the summertime, I use only fresh mint.
Salt - I use sea salt in this recipe.
How to make this recipe
Start by adding 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of water to a medium sized saucepan. Heat the liquid until it hits 185F, and don’t let it boil. You can check the temperature using an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the liquid from the heat and allow it to cool to 110F. Then add another cup of milk, yogurt (or kefir), salt, and honey.
Pour the whole mixture into a jar and cover it. If you have a jar lid with a vent, make sure to use it. If not, you will have to vent the jar manually a few times during the fermentation process so the glass isn’t at risk of exploding with the gas buildup.
A quart or 1L size is ideal, but don't use one bigger than ½-gallon or 2L.
Keep the mixture in a dark, warm place for 2-3 days, venting it once a day to be safe (if you don't have a vent on your lid).
Once those days have passed, run the fermented mix through a non-metal sieve or squeeze it through a nut milk bag. Then, transfer it to a clean quart-sized jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week, venting it every day. It is ready to use immediately.
To serve your doogh, fill a glass with ice. Serve it 1:1 doogh to carbonated or still water. I like to add dried, ground mint to taste just before serving as well as a sprig of mint for a pretty garnish.
Easy shortcut with kefir
Simply mix together store-bought kefir in a 1:1 ratio with carbonated or still water. Kefir is fermented, so it will produce a similar result to this doogh recipe.
Fermentation is a process where carbohydrates, such as starch or sugar, are converted into alcohol or acid, using the energy released from the breakdown of the carbohydrates. This is how fruit and barley are turned into wine and beer, and how we get yogurt by fermenting milk.
Both fermented drinks, they do have a few key differences. Doogh is a fermented yogurt-based beverage that is typically spiced with mint, salt, and, carbonated water. Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is made with kefir grains and has a tart, sour taste.
It is sometimes called yogurt soda, though the word doogh is derived from the Farsi term doushidant, which means “treaty”.
While it is certainly very refreshing and tastes great, doogh is also said to aid digestion. I recommend checking out my article on Garm and Sard foods to understand more about Persian food medicine.
Doogh is only the beginning of the amazing Persian recipes that I have to share. Check out some of these classics I think you'll love.
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- 2 cups milk see notes
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup yogurt or ½ cup kefir
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 cups carbonated water
- Dried mint optional
- 1 sprig mint optional
- Add 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of water to a saucepan.
- Heat until it hits 185F, but don’t let it boil.
- Remove from heat and cool to 110F. Then add another cup of milk, yogurt or kefir, salt and sugar.
- Pour it into a jar** (a quart or 1L size works great, no bigger than ½-gallon or 2L) and cover it.
- Keep it in a dark, warm place for 2-3 days until tangy.
- Run it through a non-metal sieve or squeeze it through a nut milk bag.
- Transfer it to a quart-sized jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week, venting it every day. It is ready to use immediately.
- Fill a glass with ice, and serve it 1:1 doogh to carbonated or still water.
- If you like, add mint to taste just before serving.
Substitution with Kefir
- Mix kefir 1:1 with carbonated or still water. Add optional mint to taste just before serving