Monday, November 21, 2005

making soymilk for fun & tofu

we have a soyajoy.

this makes the whole process much, much, easier. however, if you do not have or want one, you can still make soymilk & tofu. here are directions to make soymilk and tofu without a soymilk maker.

wash dry soybeans, about 2 cups. soak well in plenty of water, overnight.
using a blender, juicer, grainmill, coffee grinder, or even a mortar and pestle, grind the beans slowly and finely into a paste. add soaking water so that the paste is like a smooth batter while blending. this puree is known as "Go", and must be cooked as soon as possible.

bring 7.5 cups of water to a boil in a large stainless pan. slowly add the puree. stir constantly. bring this to a boil then turn the heat off until boiling has ceased. slowly reheat to a simmer for about 8 minutes.

pour the solution through a cloth straining bag, over a colander and a bowl. the liquid left is soymilk. twist the straining cloth closed and squeeze the rest of the milk out with chopsticks or a pair of tongs. the leftover solids in the bag are known as "Okara". save this in the refrigerator to use as well.

you have made fresh, unsweetened soymilk. the website above is full of ideas for flavoring, sweetening, thickening this milk if you want. my husband prefers it ice cold from the fridge. this is where you would be in the process if you had a soymilk maker.

if you want to turn this milk into tofu, you must have Nigari. again, we purchased the complete tofu kit from the website above and an extra pound of natural nigari. mix one teaspoon of crystal nigari in a cup of warm water and set aside.

let the temperature of the soymilk fall from simmer to about 170 or 180. while stirring slowly, pour about 3/4 of the nigari solution in. wait 3 minutes and watch the curds form. the more the soymilk is stirred now, the firmer your tofu will be. if there is still milk in the whey add the rest of the nigari. if not, do not add it. in some cases you will need to mix even more nigari, depending on your water and so on. once there is a clear seperation between curds and whey, it is ready.

lay a cloth to line the tofu box (any container with holes, of any shape, will do, as long as you line it with the cloth and have something that fits inside like a lid to put a weight on and press the tofu) and ladle the curds and whey inside slowly, allowing the whey to drain away. once it is all in, fold the cloth in and put the lid over it. put a 2-5 lb weight (a bottle of water, etc) on the lid to press. in 20 minutes this tofu is ready to prepare. or, you can leave it to cool inside the press for a few hours before removing and dropping in cool water in the fridge. change the water every couple of days until you use it.

homemade nigari tofu is , in my opinion, magically delicious.


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