Natural Homemade Tofu:
Being vegetarian I love tofu but absolutely hate the plastic it’s wrapped in so I decided to start making my own natural homemade tofu.
Last Christmas I bought my Aunt a tofu making kit. I was inspired by her success and I thought I’d give it a go.
I ordered myself a kit from the Swiss vegan website www.fabulous.ch but you can also buy them directly from ‘The Tofu Box’ web page www.thetofubox.com and from Amazon. The box is handmade from pine wood in London originating from a Japanese design.
‘The Tofu Box’ comes with one cheesecloth and a pack of Nigari coagulant, although, I now use fresh lemon juice instead.
Tofu originated from China before being adopted by the Japanese, and is now a staple in S.E. Asian cuisine. Firm tofu is basically curdled soya milk pressed into a solid block using a tofu box press or a home fashioned alternative.
Tofu is naturally gluten-free and low in calories. It’s high in protein so is perfect for vegans and vegetarians as part of a balanced diet. It also contains essential amino acids, is an excellent source of iron and calcium and contains minerals including magnesium, copper, zinc & vitamin B1.
How do you make your own Tofu?
When I finally found package free soya beans on sale in Geneva I was desperate to try making my own.
The process is quite simple but is a little time consuming, depending on how much you intend to make. It takes around 2 hours in total to make tofu from 500g of dried soya beans but it’s very satisfying.
You will Need:
A Blender or Food Processor
1 Large Pot
1 Cheese Cloth
A Sieve or Chinois Strainer
1 Tofu Box (or DIY Press)
- 500g Soaked Soya Beans
- 3.5 Litres Water
- 5 Tbsp Lemon Juice (2 Lemons)
Thoroughly rinse the soya beans and leave to soak in plenty of water overnight (8-12 hours).
Drain the beans in a colander then rinse thoroughly. Your 500g of dried soya beans should now weigh about 1,155g.
My blender holds 1.8 litres so I do the next step (making soya milk) in 3 batches.
Below are the bean to water measurements to make the soya milk:
- 3 x 385g Soya Beans
- 3 x 1,167ml Water
Once fully blended, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth into a large soup pot.
Squeeze out as much of the soya milk as possible.
Once squeezed place your leftover pulp (Okara) into a separate bowl.
You will be left with a pot of soya milk and a lot of Okara.
Okara is the left over pulp and contains around a fifth of the soya bean protein. It contains fibre from the soya bean skin, potassium, calcium and vitamin B3.
Okara can be dried or used fresh in all sorts of recipes from vegan burgers to baking and from soups to smoothies. It can also be used as a compost and as an animal feed.
Bring the milk to the boil stirring to avoid burning the pot. Then simmer the milk for 8 minutes while stirring continuously. Turn off the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
Mix 5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice into ¾ cup of water then pour into the milk. Gently stir in the lemon making sure it is mixed in well.
Leave for 10-15 minutes while the milk coagulates. If the curdled mix is too milky add some extra lemon juice and leave it for another 10 minutes.
Line your tofu box with your rinsed cheesecloth and mount on your draining board or in an oven dish to collect the water.
Drain the curd using a slotted spoon and transfer it into the tofu box.
Fold the cheesecloth over the curd, add the lid then apply weight to the top.
I like firm tofu so use 1.5kg (3.30lbs) and leave it to press for a few hours. If you like a softer tofu leave for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from your press. After pressing you can either eat it raw, roast it or fry it.
How do you store fresh tofu?
Fresh Tofu should be kept in cool water (changed daily) for 5-7 days or can be frozen for 5 months.
Frozen tofu becomes spongy and is, therefore, better at absorbing marinades.
What about the Okara?
The byproduct, Okara, only lasts a few days in the fridge but it can be easily frozen or oven dried over several hours then stored dry.
Add fresh or dried okara to soups and stews or dried on muesli or mixed in porridge. It can also be used to make soya burgers, vegan scrambled eggs or even in sweet and savoury baking.
I hope you find this post helpful and good luck with making your own homemade natural tofu.