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Making Your Own Tofu

Amazing, i never thought it would be this easy, except for the occasional wringing of the cheesecloth, (just pretend your mad at someone while you're at it), making your own tofu is cheaper and satisfying. Just like baking breads, it takes time but the results outweigh the mess and all the hoopla. I thought i would not like it, it took me a whole day to make my first, but now that i am on my 4th tofu-making session, i am getting the hang of it.

 How to's:

First make sure you have the curdling salts, i use Nigari which i order from Sanlinx,
for $14.98 (1 lb plus shipping and handling). You can also use epsom salt which i heard is cheaper, i have to try this one. I read somewhere that using Nigari will also leave an aftertaste, bitter etc., but i did not have such problems. I make 500 grams per batch of dry soybeans and use about 2 tablespoons of nigari to make my version of semi-hard tofu. I do not like the soft type since i eat tofu pan fried, with sauces, in soups etc., You can adjust the level of Nigari just by looking at the curdling effect it creates once you pour the Nigari on the hot soybean extract. If the curds are too scattered, add more Nigari.

Next buy your Soybeans in bulk since they are expensive when bought in small 1 lb.packages. I ordered mine from Laura Foods,, 13 lbs. plus shipping and handling costs $20.89. 1 lb soybean is sold for around $2.89 without S/H, so i did save a lot of money here.

First off, soak your soybeans overnight for up to 24 hours. The soybeans will produce more milk when pureed if the beans are very soft. After soaking, blend them in an osterizer or blender for as long as you can manage. The finer the beans are, the more milk and  less pulp. I suggest that before you unload the blender, check out the soybeans and make sure it is very fine and almost liquified.

After all these blending or pureeing, strain the liquid in a very fine cheesecloth, not the cheap very loose kind or the soybeans will simply ooze out of the cloth when you start wringing them. Place the cheesecloth on a strainer, on top of a large cauldron, heavy gauge steel. Let the milk drip and wring the cheesecloth, summon all the gods and squeeze like there is no tomorrow. Pretend it is liquid gold.

Next, heat the milk. But wait, do not throw out that pulp. Set it aside. In the meantime, have a thermometer ready and heat the soymilk to 180 F. You can use a meat thermometer if you have no quick read thermometer. Your nigari should be dissolved in a cup of warm water and ready once the milk heats to the right temperature.

At 180 F, pour the nigari into the milk, stir lightly and turn off the heat. Observe the curds, they should be thick and an amber clear liquid should start floating on top.
Prepare your molds. I use a thin plastic with holes at the bottom. You can use anything, no need to buy. Just make sure the holes are dispersed evenly at the bottom. Layer the cheesecloth at the bottom with plenty of overhang so you can fold it over the tofu.

Leave the tofu on the cauldron or pot for at least 30 minutes, i let it sit there for 40 minutes until it cools down a bit. If the plastic you are using is too thin, it might melt. It happened to me the first time.

Pour the tofu on the mold. Cover with the cheesecloth, and place a weight on top, i use a small wooden chopping board, then add a bottle of pickles on top to further squeeze the water out of the tofu.

It does not take long for the water to drain, a good 3 hours will do and you can have tofu for lunch or dinner.

While draining the tofu, i tasted a small piece and it was amazingly almost like cottage cheese with not salt. I have no idea it is this good, so now i am an official tofu addict. Tofu by the way is the reason why most Asian women from Korea, Japan, and China have very low breast cancer rates. It also helps in lowering cholesterol and a very good source of protein.

Now, what to do with the pulp? Add 100% water into the pulp, if you have 3 cups, add 3 cups of water. Boil this and strain just like you did the first time. You now have SOYMILK, FREE OF CHARGE!!!

The okara, or the pulp can be used to add fiber in your muffin mix, or sauces as thickener. They use this to make miso, i have no plans of doing so.


Jerald said…
congrats! keep up the good work/this is a great presentation.

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