It is actually rather easy to learn how to make tofu at home. Sure, it is a bit fussy and takes some time and planning, but the results are really worthwhile!
Tofu has been a protein source in many parts of Asia for over 2000 years. It is a kind of cheese made from soybeans. It is high in protein, low in calories and contains no cholesterol.
This soy bean product is very versatile and can be used in all kinds of cooking, both sweet and savory. Learn how to make tofu by following the steps below.
You can learn how to make Tofu too! The best I have ever eaten is the homemade I make following this recipe:
You will need:
Rinse 5 cups of dried, whole soybeans, and then soak with about 15 cups of cold water overnight for at least 8 hours in a cool place, preferable the refrigerator. The soybeans will double in size and are ready when they are free of wrinkles.
After soaking, rinse the soybeans in a colander. Now pulse in a food processor 2 cups of the soy beans at a time to a gritty, sandy paste. For the best yield you do not want it to be too smooth, neither too coarse.
Making the soy milk:
Boil 2 gallons (or 3 cups of water to every cup of the soaked soy beans) of water in a large pot. When the water boils rapidly, use the whip to stir in the bean paste. Bring it back to boiling, and then turn down the heat to medium low.
Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally. You need to keep a close eye on the pot and be very careful that the soy milk will not boil over, as it does that very easily! You can pour in a little cold water if it foams up too fast, or remove the pot to lower the heat quickly.
Put the colander over a large pot and line the colander with a large piece of nylon mesh or several layers of cheese cloth. Pour the cooked soybean mixture into the cloth lined colander.
Gather up the ends of the cloth and twist them carefully together to release the soy milk from the soybean pulp. Press the bundle with a wooden spoon against the colander to extract as much soybean milk as possible.
When you have pressed out all the milk, open the cloth and mix another 2-3 cups of boiling water into the pulp, then twist it together again and strain out even more soy milk. This is the soy milk that can be used in many other ways of cooking as well.
How to make tofu from the soy milk:
Pour ½ cup of vinegar or lemon juice into a jug with 1 ½ cups of hot water. Now, stir the strained soy milk in the pot while it is still hot in a slow circular motion. Stop the stirring with the spoon in the pot suddenly to create turbulence, then immediately add 1 ¼ cups of the vinegar or lemon curdling solution.
Now stir once in the other direction, and sprinkle ½ cup more of the vinegar or lemon solution over the top of the soy milk. Cover the pot and let it stand for 5 min. After 5 minutes you will see that large white curds have been formed.
If you can still see soy milk, poke around a bit to start the curdling, and add the remaining ¼ cup of vinegar/lemon solution. Cover the pot again and leave for another 2-3 minutes.
The curds are ready when you can see that they are surrounded by a clear yellow liquid, whey. If you would like a very firm tofu, you can place the pot with the curds and whey on the heat and boil for a few minutes more. If there is a lot of whey and only a few curds the beans may not have been ground finely enough.
Pressing the tofu:
Line the colander with the cleaned mesh again, and put on a bowl. Now press gently a large strainer in the pot with the soy bean curd and whey to fill with whey but not curds. Spoon out the whey until most of it is out of the pot. (The whey can be used as a cleaner (!) to clean all the pots and tools you have used.)
This will help the curds to form into a nice firm tofu. Now ladle the curds into the cloth lined colander. Fold the cloth around the curds tightly, put a flat plate on top and something heavy on top of the plate, like a jug filled with water.
Let it press like this for about 30 minutes. If you want a firmer tofu, press heavier and for a longer time. When you remove the weight, plate and cloth the tofu should feel firm to the touch.
Place the tofu block in a bowl of cold water and carefully remove the cloth. Leave it there until it is firm and cool.
You can keep it for up to a week in a container with cold water in the fridge. (But I doubt it will last that long- too good!) Change the water daily.
When you learn how to make tofu yourself, I think you will like it a lot better than the ready made one!