Monday, January 31, 2011

Making Tofu

I made tofu today.  It's not that hard.  The only thing I had to buy was soy beans.  I used fresh squeezed lemon juice to thicken it.  It has a lemon scent and the texture is perfect.  Thank you to blogger Rachel [] for doing all the hard part -- researching and testing.  I just followed her instructions to the letter and it came out perfect.

I had to hunt up a bunch of stuff I don't use that often like my candy thermometer, a piece of muslin and some rubber gloves.  The muslin was handy because I've been sewing that comfort cover with muslin....a stroke of luck.  The rubber gloves were sad looking but ... that's okay, I found them and they worked.

It took about 1 1/2 hours to make but most of the time spent was doing other stuff while waiting for it to rest between steps.  

1 1/3 cups dried soy
10 1/2 cups water divided
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. Rinse and the soak 1 1/3 cups of organic soy beans in 4 1/2 cups of fresh water overnight 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Blend them in the blender or food processor in batches with the water till it's really soupy and creamy about 2 minutes for each batch.
  3. Boil 5 cups of fresh water in a really large soup pot.  Add the batches to the boiling water.  Heat and stir till it almost boils and then turn the heat down to keep it cooking but not boiling for 8 minutes. Stirring with a wooden spoon.  It foams like crazy...foam, foam, foam.  That's why you need a really large pot. 
  4. Get a big bowl and put a colander in it.  Line the colander with the muslin -- letting it drape evenly over the sides.  Ladle the hot mixture into the muslin lined colander.  
  5.  Gather up the sides of the muslin and twist and twist and squeeze, twist and squeeze to get as much soy milk as you can squeezed out of the pulp and into the bowl.  Use rubber gloves to protect your hands from the heat as you twist and squeeze. 
  6. Put the resulting soy pulp into an airtight container and put it in the fridge or freezer.  The soy pulp is called okara.  It's really nutritious and you can make veggie burgers and yummy stuff like muffins out of it later.  I'll let you know what I settle on to use it for.
  7. Rinse out your big pot and put the soy milk back into it.  Heat it up with your thermometer in it again to 150 - 155 degrees.
  8. Meanwhile mix 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice with 1 cup of water.
  9. When you get to 150 degrees, take it off the heat and pour in 1/2 the lemon/water mixture and stir around and around in a circle just 5 or 6 times then hold the spoon straight up till the liquid stops moving.  
  10. Add the rest of the lemon/water and stir in a swirling motion gently a few times till you notice it's coagulating.  
  11. Cover it and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  12. Plan what container you are going to mold the tofu in.  I used a small straight sided bowl and I turned it upside down to drain because it did not have drain holes in it.  I found a flat plastic lid that fit inside the bowl.  It has to have drainage so the whey can drain away that's why I turned it upside down with the lid in place and balanced it on top of a can of tomatoes in a bowl.  Rachel says you can make it in the colander using a plate on top and weights on it if you want.  It just needs to compress and drain.  Rig something up or buy a tofu mold.
  13. Ladle the curds very gently into the colander that you've lined with your rinsed muslin again.  Gather up the muslin by the sides but this time don't squeeze.  Lift it gently (muslin and all) into your mold bowl.  Spread out the muslin and fold all 4 sides individually over the mold to cover the top and put a plate or lid on it that fits down into the bowl.  Hold the lid in place with two fingers as you turn the whole thing over on top of a can of something that's sitting in a bowl to catch the whey.  The whey starts to drain off as soon as you turn it over.  Balance it upside down on top of a can and the can presses the lid upward.
  14. Put 2 cans (2 to 3 lbs of weights) on top of the upside down bowl and let it compress and sit for 15 minutes.  A lot of whey will continue to drain out.
  15. Fill a big bowl with cold water in the sink.
  16. Very gently uncover and remove the muslin as you slide the cake of tofu ever-so-carefully into the cold water and float the naked block of tofu as it's sinking into the cold water.  
  17. Run a dribble of cold fresh water over it for 15 minutes as it drains in the sink.  Put a corner of muslin over the water bowl to protect the tofu from getting hit with running water.  
  18. It's ready to eat.  Or you may put in the fridge covered with cold water.  It'll last for a few days.
The taste is lightly lemony, fragrant, pure white and delicious.  It doesn't taste like any tofu I've had before.   I cut it into nice square chunks and tasted it's mild freshness with a hint of lemon..mmmBraggs.  Wow it just melts in my mouth.  It's so totally fresh, delicate, and wholesome tasting

I can't wait to make something with it for dinner -- steamed vegetables with sauteed tofu and a spicy sauce.  Douglass will be impressed.  He'll love it.

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