Making tofu from scratch
For health reasons, I normally try not to eat too many soy products. However I had a bag of dried organic soy beans sitting in my cupboard so I decided to do something with them. My dear friend Patricia Quinn had written in her book about how easy it was to make homemade tofu, so I decided to give it a go. I enjoy tofu from time to time but until making it myself I was never such a fan. This has all changed now and I shall make tofu more often after tasting how amazing it is fresh from the press. Well worth the work, and most of the time spent was actually just letting it soak and then after, letting it strain.
Ever wondered how to make homemade tofu? I took photos of the process and I’ll try to explain clearly here.
First I soaked the beans overnight in water. They expanded to double their size. I used dried organic soy beans.
I strained them the next morning.
I made soy milk by blending and then boiling the beans in fresh water and bringing it to a boil. Actually, thats a lie- this is what you can do though, its not hard! I actually cheated and used the SoyaBella which made the soy milk for me in about 15 minutes. An unnecessary but handy tool. A gift from the other half many christmas’ ago and something I have put to good use. You can use it to grind herbs, coffee beans, nuts or to make your own flour from grains. It makes it even easier than it already is to make homemade almond or rice milk, as it strains it for you in the metal strainer. I’ll post a photo of the SoyaBella later in case any of you should like to see it?
I made about 4 litres of soy milk for this batch of tofu.
Here’s another link which describes with photos how easy it is to make soy milk and then tofu. http://www.lafujimama.com/2009/09/how-to-make-tofu-no-fancy-equipment/
Strain out the soy bean paste, also called Okara. I put mine in the freezer to use later to make vegetarian sausages. Or you can feed it to the hens. There are lots of things you can do with it if you do a quick google search.
Take the soy milk and heat it up to 180F if it isn’t that hot already. You can use a few different agents to curdle to the milk. All of these are recommended: Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate), Nigari Flakes (Magnesium Chloride). I don’t know about you but I hadn’t heard of any of these things. I read that you could also use Epsom Salts, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar- I had Epsom Salts so I used what I had. It worked perfectly. I dissolved 1 tablespoon of Epsom Salts with about a third of a cup of water. (this was added to about 4 litres of soy milk.) I added this into the hot soy milk in batches, first half of the glass, and one quick short stir through the milk to mix it in. Apparently over-stirring can disrupt the curd formation. I waited 10 minutes to see if it had curdled sufficiently to see plenty of amber liquid with the formed curds separating. It had curdled a bit but not enough, the liquid was still quite milky white, so I added the other water-epsom salts liquid along with another quick stir. This time it finished curdling quickly and as you can see in the photo below there was plenty of largish curds with amber liquid.
I strained the curds and whey through a sheet of muslin or cheesecloth. You can use a clean dishtowel or pillow case if thats all you have.
I let it sit in the strainer for about 20 minutes, then I lifted up the corners of the muslin and transferred the ball of curds in muslin to a smaller strainer. I put a small plate on top of it to press down and help it exude more whey from the curds. I added a very heavy cast iron pot on top of the plate to add further pressure. I let it sit out overnight like this.
In the morning I took of the weights and turned the pressed tofu curds onto a chopping board.
Chop chop chop
If you aren’t going to eat it immediately, cover it in fresh water and put in the fridge. Change the water daily and eat soon.
Finally I fried the tofu in some sesame oil with shoyu soy sauce and some turmeric sprinkled over it.
I didn’t know tofu could be so delicious. Try it! Let me know how you get on.
Here are some other links you might find helpful:
Here’s the link I followed during this first time that I made it -about how to make homemade tofu: