- Food and Cooking
How to Make Soy Milk, Tofu and Okara
Why make your own soy milk, tofu and okara?
The health benefits of soy have been well documented. Consuming soy every day can lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that people should eat at least 25 grams of soy protein each day to lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Soy is also low in saturated fat and can help you to lose weight and stay healthy.
Soy products can be expensive in many places. Making your own soy milk, tofu and okara is a great way to enjoy these healthy foods and save money. You can also avoid any chemical additives that are added during commercial manufacturing processes.
Have you already tried making your own soy milk, tofu or okara?
What You Will Need
- Dried Soy Beans
- A soy milk maker (or a food processor and a very large cooking pot)
- Nigari (magnesium chloride) or gypsum (calcium sulfate). This acts as a coagulant to make the tofu solidify out of the liquid soy milk.
- Cheesecloth (or similar loosely woven gauzy fabric)
- A tofu press
This handy starter kit includes a tofu press, 1 lb of nigari (enough to make 200 lbs of tofu!) and a cloth for straining the tofu.
How to Make Soy Milk with a Soy Milk Maker (Recommended Method)
Making soy milk by hand can be fun, but it's a drag to do regularly. You may prefer to buy a soy milk maker to save you time (and washing up!)
This method couldn't be easier... Soak the beans for a few hours, put them in the machine with water, press the button, and 20 minutes later you have fresh soy milk ready for drinking.
The products below are three of the top rated soy milk makers, based on user recommendations:
How to Make Soy Milk Without a Soy Milk Maker
Makes 3 liters of soy milk
1. Soak 1lb of Soy Beans for 8 hours, or overnight
2. Drain and Rinse the Soy Beans
3. Grind the soy beans in the food processor with enough water to just cover the beans. Process for a few minutes, until the beans have been finely ground into a creamy consistency. You may need to do this part in stages, depending on the size of your food processor. Also, the ground beans tend to stick to the sides of the food processor, so you may need to stop several times to scrape them back into the path of the cutting blades.
4. Heat up 8 cups of water in your large cooking pot on the stove.
5. Add the beans to the pot.
6. When the mixture boils, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, with frequent stirring.
7. Place your cheesecloth over a large bowl and pour the mixture through the cloth. Do this in stages, pressing down on the soybean mush with a wooden spoon to drive all the liquid through the cloth.
8. The filtered liquid is your soy milk!
Drink the soy milk as is, sweeten it, or blend it with fruit to make a delicious smoothie.
Need help using up all that milk? Check out these delicious smoothie recipe books.
How to Make Okara
How to Preserve Okara
The mushy stuff that was left behind on the cheesecloth when the liquid had filtered through is called okara. This is a highly nutritious and versatile food. You can use it fresh that day or preserve it so it can be stored and used later.
The best way of preserving okara is to spread it thinly on baking trays and put it in the oven at low heat to dry it out. It is done once all the moisture has been removed.
Once dried, the okara will be crunchy, and makes a satisfying addition to muesli and cereals. You can also rehydrate it to use in place of ground meat in recipes. You can make a great vegan chilli or bolognese that way.
How to Make Tofu
1. Take the Soy milk you made in "How to Make Soy milk" (or you can buy soy milk and start with this step) and put it back on the stove to warm up.
2. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of Nigari in one cup of warm water.
3. When the soy milk is hot, add the Nigari solution a bit at a time, stirring gently.
4. Leave the mixture for 15 minutes without stirring.
5. Line your tofu press with the cheesecloth.
6. By now, curds should have formed in the mixture. Pour or ladle the mixture into the tofu press bit by bit, allowing time for the liquid to drain through the cloth.
7. Wrap the cheesecloth over the top of the tofu and adjust the press so that it is pressing down on the tofu. Depending on the model you might need to use small weights (or a book) to provide the pressure.
8. The harder and longer the tofu is pressed, the firmer the tofu will be. Check it every 15 minutes or so.
Now you have your own fresh tofu to use in stir-fry, salads and many other dishes. If you're stuck for ideas I highly recommend the book on Japanese cooking featured below.