Making Tofu

We made tofu this week, yet another thing I never really imagined myself doing until culinary school. Here’s a summary of the process:

  1. Soak soybeans overnight.
  2. Grind the soaked beans with hot liquid.
  3. Boil the beans in the hot liquid.
  4. Pour the hot liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth and capture the liquids. The solids you capture are called okara, which has some limited culinary use. Press out as much liquid as possible. It can be useful to put the okara-filled cheesecloth into a nut milk bag, twist the top, and press out the liquid. The cloudy liquid you capture is used to make tofu so you want to get as much as you can.
  5. Heat the liquid and coagulate it using a natural compound such as calcium sulfate or magnesium chloride. (If you merely simmered the liquid, you could add sweetener and it would be a drinkable soy milk at this point.)
  6. Press the coagulated solids into a cheesecloth-lined tofu box for 45 minutes or so. You could also use a regular mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.
  7. Pull out the tofu. You are done!

Below: A plastic tofu press.

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Below: Black soy beans in their soaking liquid.

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