How to Make Tofu and Soy Milk

soymilkIn China and Japan fresh soy milk is made daily using a simple, centuries-old process of grinding soaked soybeans and pressing the soy milk out of the beans. There, soy milk is sold by street vendors or in cafes. Soy milk is served hot or cold and is often flavored with soy sauce and vegetables to produce a spicy soup.

A staple in Asia for 2,000 years, tofu is known for its extraordinary nutritional benefits, as well as its versatility. Tofu, also known as soya curd, is a soft cheese-like food made by curdling soya milk with a coagulant.

How to make soy milk?

Soy milk is made by soaking soybeans, grinding them with water. The fluid which results after straining is called soy milk. You can make soy milk at home with basic kitchen tools or with a soy milk machine.

Step1: Ingredients
You need about 125 g whole soya beans to make 1 liter of soy milk.

Step2: Soaking and dehulling the soya beans
Clean the soya beans and soak them in water for 10 – 16 hours. Although not necessary, you can remove the hulls be kneading the soya beans and flushing the loose hulls with water. Removing the hulls makes the extraction process more efficient. An alternative is to crack the soya beans before soaking. The hulls come loose easily and can be washed away. When you use cracked soya beans you need less soaking time: 6 – 8 hours.

Step3: Heating the soya beans (optional)
Heating the soya beans will destroy enzymes which are responsible for the development of beany flavour. This heating can best be achieved by microwaving the wet soaked soya beans during 2 minutes.

Step4: Grinding the soya beans
Grind the soaked soya beans and 1 liter water in a blender. Sieve the mixture trough a cheese cloth and recover the soy milk. The insoluble material which remains on the sieve is called okara, and can be used as an ingredient for bread making or as cattle feed.

Step5: Boiling the soy milk
Heat the soy milk till boiling point and continue boiling for about 5 to 10 minutes. After cooling, the soy milk is ready and can be kept in the fridge for another 3 days.

Step6: Flavoring the soy milk (optional)
The soy milk can be drunk as such but taste can be improved by adding some salt (also cow milk contains a lot of salt).

With soy milk you can easily make your own fruit smoothie. Fruit smoothies are very healthy because they contain soy milk and a lot of fresh fruits.

How to make Tofu?
tofuTofu is made by coagulating soy milk with salts such as calcium sulfate or magnesium chloride.

To produce about 400 g of tofu you need 2 liter soy milk and two teaspoons natural calcium sulfate. Instead of calcium sulfate, you can also use nigari, which is basically magnesium chloride. Nigari is traditionally used in Japan as a coagulant, but is it is more difficult to find and does not add extra calcium to your tofu. Another reason that I prefer calcium sulfate is that nigari has a slight bitter taste.

curdling the milkCurdling the milk
Boil the soy milk for about 5 minutes and cool down to about 70-80C. If you make soy milk with an automatic soy milk maker you only have to cool down the soy mil a bit, no need to boil it again.

Dissolve two teaspoons natural calcium sulfate in one cup of warm water. Do not leave the coagulant to long in the water, otherwise it will harden. Less coagulant produces softer tofu, more produces harder tofu. Pour the prepared coagulant solution slowly into the hot soya milk while gently stirring the soya milk and allow the mixture to stand for 15 to 20 min. If there is still some milky area after adding all coagulant solution, mix some more to use. I also tried to add the calcium sulfate powder directly to the hot soy milk, and that also worked!

forming the tofuForming the tofu
Once all soya milk is separating into small white curds of tofu and an amber liquid, transfer coagulated dispersion into a mould lined with cheesecloth. Any plastic container with small holes can be used as mould. A small weight is placed on the lid of the container and allowed to sit for 20 minutes or so. Empty the resulting block of tofu, which should be firm enough to hold together, into a tub of cold water and store it in refrigerator and change soaking water daily. When you intend to eat the tofu the same day, or the day after, there is no need to store the tofu in the water. To make tofu with extra texture, place it in a sealable container, cover with water and freeze. After unthawing the tofu will have a more fibrous texture.

Tips on handling soybeans
* Soaking the soybeans loosens and softens the hulls for easy grinding. But be careful not to ferment the beans.
* Thermal processing lengthens the shelf life of your soymilk from a week a year.
* Carrageenan is added to stabilize the mixture, and prevent the water from separating from the soymilk.
* Blanching the soybeans lessens their beany flavor and softens the beans.

Dos and Don’ts
* Wear a hairnet, for hygienic purposes, when preparing the soy products.
* Keep your eye on the thermometer, timer and barometer of the pressure cooker or canner.
* Do not open the pressure cooker/canner while processing the bottled soy milk.
* Use only clean weights to press the tofu.
* Observe utmost cleanliness during the entire process.

Where to look for supplies:
1425 G. Araneta Ave.,
San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City
Telephone: (02) 712- 2266

Alabang Business Tower, Muntinlupa
Telephones: (02) 850- 4858; (02) 809- 3376

Paknaan, Mandaue City, Cebu
Telephone: (032) 346- 0789
Faxes: (032) 346- 0863; (032) 346- 1892

Where to go for training:
Food Processing Division,
DOST Compound, East Service Road, Bicutan, Taguig City
Telephone: (02) 837- 2071 to 82 local 2202/2269/2270
Email: rtid@dost.gov.ph

Sources: www.soya.be, Entrepreneur.com.ph
Photo: soya.be

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