When Covid started Tofu became almost impossible to find in the markets and I thought to myself: In my house tofu is a staple. How hard can it be to make my own? I started making my own tofu 1 1/2 years ago. It is simple to make, and more delicious then you could ever imagine store bought tofu to tasting. Classic tofu is made with Nigari as a coagulant but lemon juice or apple cider vinegar substitute quite well. Classic tofu is made in a precious wooden box with drainage holes. A colander works as a great substitute! Finally there is the soybeans. Any asian market has inexpensive soybeans and they make for a wonderful tofu. No nut milk bag? No muslin? Cut up a white t-shirt and fashion your own.
This week I went to WFM and saw they only had 2 boxes of tofu left. Was I worried? Nope. Cause I have a tub of fresh, luscious tofu in the fridge right now just waiting to be cooked up for dinner.
Homemade Tofu is easy to make, cheap, and nutritious but it is the nutty flavor, floral scent and creamy texture that will sell you on making your own tofu part of your weekly routine.
The first time I made my own tofu I was in stealth mode. Sure that the finished product would be a gloopy mess I hid my process as I often do, kinda like the first time I whipped up a batch of aquafaba. So I ran to the Asian market and bought a bag of organic soybeans, set them to soak in a bowl of water and hid them overnight in my favorite hidey hole. Where?? In the veggie drawer in the fridge under a few leaves of Chard and Kale.
There come a time in every rightly constructed boy’s life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure. -Mark Twain
The next morning once the coast was clear I took out my ingredients and rewatched one of my all time favorite YouTube videos of a Nigerian woman making tofu in her yard. I drained the soybeans which had swelled to more than 2 times their size and got to work blending them in batches with fresh water. Then I strained them using one of my husband’s clean white t-shirts a trick I use when making vegan feta cheese. The straining leaves you with soy milk and pulp. The pulp that is left over from this process is called okara. Next week I will publish my favorite okara cocktail “Meatball” recipe” Please remind me if I forget…
I set out my two largest pots on the stove and brought the soy milk to a boil stirring constantly. Once it boiled I turned down the heat and allowed it to simmer for 15 minutes stirring every few minutes as only thing soy milk loves to do more then stick to the bottom of a pan is boil over. And, man oh man, you don’t want it to boil over cause it will flow like the lava from an erupting volcano over your whole house kinda like Flubber. A movie I’ve never seen. So how the heck did I know to reference it?? Another of life’s mysteries.
It’s flying rubber. It’s flubber.–Flubber
I stirred the coagulant into the soy milk in 3 batches. I describe exactly how in the recipe below. With each addition more curds appeared as if by magic. Then I covered the pot and let it rest for 15 minutes to form the last of the curds. I set up my colander with a clean folded muslin cloth. After the 15 minutes were up. I gently spooned the curds from the pot with a slotted spoon nestling them softly in the muslin lined colander. Once all the curds are in, I folded the last bit of muslin over the topped pressed it to help press out as much whey as possible.
2 hours later I carefully unwrapped the tofu and lo and behold it had formed a perfect cohesive half sphere of firm tofu. I slipped it into a bowl of cool water and let it firm up for 20 minutes and then…and then…I sliced off a wedge and took a bite. Oh my stars, it was the best tofu I had ever eaten. Creamy, nutty, fresh! I barged into my husband’s office chirping “I did it! I made tofu!” And the rest is history.
Make the best darn tofu you've ever tasted with just 3 ingredients. Pure, silky and nutty. Use it in everything from stirfrys to scrambles and smoothies! You'll never need to depend on supermarket tofu again.
- 1 1/4 cup dry non-GMO soy beans
- 12 cups Water
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice or Applecider vinegar
- 1/2 cup tap water to mix with the lemon juice or ACT
Place your dry soybeans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water. Allow the beans to soak 8-12 hours. They will double or triple in size so plan accordingly in terms of the size of the bowl and the amount of water in the bowl.
Drain you soybeans in a colander or sieve.
Working in batches put 1/3 of your soaked drained beans (about 1 cup) into your blender with 4 cups of fresh water and blend on high for 2 minutes. Pour the contents of your blender into a large bowl. Repeat two more times until you have blended all of your soybeans.
Do NOT taste it it is gross!!! It must be heated to be edible.
Straining the soymilk. You will be straining in batches. The pulp left over from the straining process is called Okara. Place the Okara in a bowl in the refrigerater and use in soups, smoothies and veggie patties. I will be posting an Okara meatball recipe next week.
Using a large nutmilk bag strain the soymilk into your largest pot. I have sucessfully used a clean white t-shirt for this straining in the past. If using a t-shirt, line a colander with the shirt and place over a bowl to catch the soymilk. Carefully pour in about 3 cups of the soy milk. Press with the back of a ladle until much of the liquid has drained into the bowl below and then gather up the sides so you have a sort of "nutmilk bag" and gently squeese until you have expressed most of the liquid. Again I would do this in batches.
Heat your largest pot with all of the soymilk on medum high on the stove. Bring to a boil stirring every couple of minutes until it comes to a boil. PSA:Never turn your back on a pot of hot soymilk. It is capricios and will foam up and overflow the pot before you cane say Mapu Tofu! I mean it, pay attention!
Allow to boil 2 minutes and then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. (Stirring evey few minutes)
While your soymilk is simmering mix your acid (lemon juice or apple cider vinegar into 1/2 cup room temperature tap water. Stir to combine.
When the 15 minutes is up then turn the heat back up and bring to a boil. Stirring every few minutes so your soymilk doesn't burn.
Once your soymilk comes to a boil then turn off the burner and set your timer for 1 minute. When the timer goes off pour 1/3 of your lemon juice or Apple Cider vinegar mixture into the pot and stir vigerously in a zig zag patter for 1 minute. Allow to sit for 1 minute and then gently stir in the second third of the lemon juice or Apple Cider vinegar mixture into the pot and stir very gently for 1 minute making sure not to distub the curds that have begun to form on the bottom of the pot. Again allow the soymilk to rest for 2 more minutes and sprinkle the remaining lemon juice or Apple Cider vinegar mixture onto the top of the soymilk. Stir very gently keeping your spoon in the top third of the soymilk. Cover and allow to curdle for 15 minutes undisturbed.
While your soymilk is curdling line your tofu making box or colander with muslin. When making tofu in a colander I have used an unbleached white t shirt or a thin white kitchen towel to line the colunder.
Once the 15 minutes are up uncover the pot and begin spooning your formed curds into your cloth lines colander using a slotted spoon. Go slowly and gently until you have used all the curds. If you are using a tofu making box fold the muslin to cover your tofu and place the top on the box and weigh down with a couple of tin can. If you are using a colander then gently press down on the tofu curds with a spatula until you have a smooth top and fold the cloth over the top of the tofu. Invert a small plate over the top of the tofu and place a weight on top, like a can, a botle of water or even a clean rock. Allow your tofu to press from 30 minutes up to 6 hours depending on the firmness you wish to achieve. Unwrap your tofu and place in a tub of cold water for 20 minutes. If you are not using right away then place covered in the refirdgerater changing out the water each day until you us it up.