Having recently developed a taste for tofu I decide to have a go at making my own. From scratch. From soy beans. There are pages and pages of information on the internet on making soy milk and then making the tofu from the soy milk, most with complex instructions. I was slightly filled with trepidation but determined, and was pleasantly surprised. Making the tofu was actually very easy. It got a large number of utensils and pots and pans dirty, but was not difficult, it does require a little organisation and planning but the actual hands on cooking time was only about 30 mins, if that. Maybe I was very lucky and next time it will go wrong.
Tofu is basically soy milk cheese, making it is a two stage process, make the soy milk, then make tofu from the milk. Having made paneer before I was fairly confident the second stage of the process would not be too hard.
So here is the Fuss Free Flavours Fuss Free 6 stage guide to homemade tofu.
1) Soak soy beans
2) Grind soy beans in food processor
3) Boil bean pulp to make the soy milk
4) Strain milk
5) Add a coagulant to cause soy milk to separate to curds and whey
6) Strain and press curds to make tofu
Your yield of tofu will be roughly equal to the initial weight of soy beans used.
Easy Homemade Tofu – Ingredients
Water (1 pint per 2oz of beans)
Two large pans
Sugar thermometer – optional
Weights (Use can of beans, bottles of water)
Stage 1 – Soak the Beans
Rinse the soy beans well and soak in cold water for between 8 and 24 hours. If you do not like a beany tofu roll beans between the palms of your hands to remove skins, these will float to the surface of the soaking water and can be skimmed off. Rinse well.
Stage 2 – Grind the Beans
Add beans to the food processor, cover with water and whizz until they form a creamy white pulp. Transfer to a large pan or stock pot.
Stage 3 – Boil bean pulp to make the soy milk
Add the reminder of the water to the bean pulp and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes. The mix will really foam up, but providing the pot is large enough should not boil over.
Stage 4 – Strain Soy Milk
Strain the milk through a cheese cloth lined sieve into another large pot, keep the soy bean pulp or okara, it is highly nutritious and can be used in many ways.
Stage 5 – Add a coagulant to cause soy milk to separate to curds and whey
The Japanese traditionally use Nigari (a seasalt derivative) coagulate the tofu, Epsom salts will work; I used lemon juice, the juice of half a lemon to 3 pints of soy milk seemed to work well for me (having experimented white wine vinegar also works, initally add 1 tablespoon to the milk – then add more if needed) . Add to the milk when it is at around 75C. If you add the coagulant immediately after straining the simmered milk it will probably be around the right temperature. Sprinkle the lemon juice in and gently stir once, put the lid on the pan and leave the soy milk to separate for 10 mins. It will suddenly start to separate with clumps of curds sitting in a clear whey.
Stage 6 – Strain and press curds to make tofu
Once you have a pan of curds and whey gently ladle the curds into a cheesecloth lined mould – I used a nylon sieve – let all the whey drain out and cover the block of curds with the cloth place a saucer on top and weigh down with a couple of cans of beans or a bottle of water to squeeze more of the whey out. For a firmer tofu press for longer with a heavier weight.
When the tofu has stopped dripping and is solid you are done! Peel off the cloth and admire your fresh tofu. Either use straight away or store in the fridge in water for a few days before using. Store your fresh tofu as you would a diary product – it will spoil if you store it too long, but mine did not last too long before I ate it.
I have now bought a tofu press that makes the whole process far easier, and have been experimenting with different techniques here where I made a fresh homemade spinach tofu.
Recipes to use your tofu in include:
Asparagus with Fried Tofu and Charred Caper Dressing
Crispy Chilli Soy Tofu
Or cube it and add to Reviviscent Skinny Miso Soup