Making your own tofu

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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I was reading jn another forum that someone was asking how to make their own tofu.
Googling it, I saw a great many recipes on how to do this but the simplest was to treat it exactly as milk and cheese once a suitable soya milk had been identified for use.

I tried making it myself and found that apparently my soya milk didn't separate into the curds and whey. After leaving the whole lot to stand whilst I got on with something else I came back room a virtually cold mixture that had had time to stand and settle. It had also the clear whey and an emulsion of tofu and whey lower down.

I put everything through the finest nut cloth I had to hand and was quite surprised to only get a clear liquid off the 'curds'.

I'm now left wondering what was in my soya milk that prevented the curds from forming in the manner expected and if I can identify it. I suspect it is one of the ingredients that is an emulsifier. I used Freedom Foods Original Wholebean Soya Milk which contains the following ingredients

Ingredients: Whole soy bean milk (93%) [filtered water, milled whole soy beans], maltodextrin, sunflower oil, malt extract, sugar, mineral salt (sodium bicarbonate), salt, vegetable gums (460,466), flavours.

My gut feeling is that it's one of those 'vegetable gums' that is the problem.
I intend to find a soya milk without them to test again.

The recipe is amazingly easy and almost identical to making dairy cheese.
Heat the milk, add lemon juice, stir, allow to curdle and cool, then drain and press into shape.
http://www.marystestkitchen.com/diy-tofu-just-soymilk-lemon-water/#comment-27380
 

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Morning Glory

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Here is the written step by step guide:
  • Soak soybeans over night. After draining and rinsing the soaked soybeans, blend them with water (3 parts water to 1 part beans) to make soy milk.
  • Heat the fresh soy milk by bringing it to a boil first and then letting it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Strain the soy milk through cheese cloth and collect the solid remnants in the cloth, squeezing out as much milk as possible. You end up with a large lump of semi solids in the cheesecloth. This can be used for other purposes.
  • Bring the liquid soy milk to a boil, remove it from the heat and add a coagulant. Your coagulant is a substance that will curdle the soy milk. You can use acid, like lemon juice or vinegar, or salt. Nigari, which is magnesium chloride, is popular in Japan, and calcium chloride is popular in North America. Adding the coagulant slowly, in stages, makes for fluffier curds.
  • Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes. This gives the curds ample time to form.
  • Collect the curds with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a container to drain and mold into shape
  • The container should have a few holes in the bottom so that the tofu can drain.
  • Use a weight to gently press liquid from the tofu. For firmer tofu, you can let the block rest for up to 50 minutes, and for softer tofu, closer to 20 minutes.
  • The final step is firming up the tofu in a dish of cold water. Set the block in cold water for about 10 minutes for a nice, firm texture. Now you can slice and use it however you want!
 
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SatNavSaysStraightOn

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I used some Australia Organic soya milk that I know has a tendancy to separate when heated.... its ideal. Go for something with as few ingredients as possible and avoid anything with emulsifiers in it - that stops it doing what you want without an considerable amount of acid being added.

I literally brought it to boiling and simmered for a few minutes, added the juice of an entire (very large) lemon to the mixture and continued to simmer carefully for around 5 minites. then allowed to cool completely. I will warn you that it looks very much like it has not separated. It has, it is just very very fine and you will need a proper nut milk bag that is exceptionally fine in order to separated the 'curds' from the 'whey'. they have other names but I forget. I let it all drain overnight after the initial drainage.... then the messy bit of applying pressure during the course of the day and I got a nice amount of tofu from the 1L of organic soya milk. I think I am meant to let it 'cure' for a week, but I have plans for it in tonight's evening meal - New England Chowder. I will add the tofu as the cream agent right at the end in the dish.

I've not written anything up formally or sussed it out completely yet because I've not got soya beans handy and haven't finalised my own solution if that makes sense. I'm still making it up as I go along. Its a trial and error thing which is right down your street!

I will try to have a hunt down for the link to the site (exceptionally good and useful) that I used to base what I did on... there is a website and some YouTube videos (though thankfully the lady writes everything up on her website because I hate watching videos to make food) that is exceptionally good, but I think it is on my tablet which is complaining it needs feeding again and I need to create a shopping list for Stuart to come home with first.... pester me if I forget!
 

Morning Glory

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I've got the soya beans soaking overnight as per the recipe I posted. :) It will be over the weekend that I do this.
 

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If you can make tofu from soya beans couldn't tofu be made from other kinds of dried beans?
probably, but would it be called tofu? I recently read that Burmese tofu (make with besan flour remember) is called something like Tobu or similar. I will have to find the reference again - hard after a laptop rebuild and many days to forget....

As for the tofu I made, it was exceptionally nice (still is but only about a 1/3rd of it remains for tonight's tea) and has now opened up a whole load of new possibilities and old recipes. It was like exceptionally thick dairy cream. How is beyond me so I will try to make it again over the next few days, but we have decided that I won't bother trying to press anywhere near as much of the liquid out of it because at the moment I'm using it to add 'cream' to a chowder in place of the fromage frais that the recipe asks for. It seems a pointless exercise removing all the liquid to get a solid block only to try to dissolve it in the soup liquid afterwards!

However, even my hubby was impressed and it was him who stated that a whole load of old recipes were now back on the agenda so it must have been a hit. I just need to work on obtaining some soya beans to see if I can make my own soya milk from scratch and to see what the options are that it opens up. But it is really odd because all of the recipes I have read that are for making your own tofu say don't expect silken tofu and most say not to expect it to resemble even shop bought firm tofu because it will be crumblier and in bigger 'curds'. Mine is the exact opposite! Much finer and smoother and definitely at the soft end of the silken tofu range! Either way, it is very nice and worth trying to repeat!
 

Morning Glory

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Well so far I'm impressed by the accuracy of the American Test Kitchen recipe (above) using dried soya beans. But I have only got as far as making the soya milk. I was sceptical but it worked! Tomorrow I add the lemon juice (apparently its best to do this in stages) and allow the curds to form. Then strain and press. It will only be worth it for m if the taste is better than shop bought...
 

Morning Glory

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Re other beans. It seems that soya beans have a particular make-up which means they can make tofu. Other bean 'tofus' are made by making bean flour and adding other things to set the mixture. So not the same at all. But worth looking into.
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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Well so far I'm impressed by the accuracy of the American Test Kitchen recipe (above) using dried soya beans. But I have only got as far as making the soya milk. I was sceptical but it worked! Tomorrow I add the lemon juice (apparently its best to do this in stages) and allow the curds to form. Then strain and press. It will only be worth it for m if the taste is better than shop bought...
I found that I needed about twice the amount of lemon juice per 1L of soya milk in the water/lemon juice mixture.... And if my husband is impressed with the homemade tofu, you have nothing to worry about!
 
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