Tofu from Homemade Organic Soy Milk
Yield: 4 quarts soy milk makes 1 1/2 to 2 pounds tofu, plus 3 to 4 cups okara
Prep time: 30 to 45 minutes
Soak 2 1/2 cups (1 pound) organic soybeans in refrigerator overnight in 3 quarts water. Yield: 5 cups.
Drain and grind to a fine gritty paste in blender, in 4 to 5 batches, using a total of 2 cups very hot water to process.
Whisk paste into 3 1/2 quarts rapidly boiling water. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Keep 1 cup cold water at hand to add if pot begins to foam over! Remember, soy milk acts like dairy milk and scorches easily.)
Strain through nylon mesh, multiple layers of cheesecloth, a muslin square, or an old pillow case, working over a colander. Set colander in a larger bowl or pan to catch the strained milk. Then, using a quart jar filled with water for weight, push repeatedly to extract all liquid possible.
Prepare a curdling agent: mix 1/4 cup organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar or organic lemon juice with 1 cup water.
Place four quarts soy milk on stove. Heat to 185° F, using a candy thermometer, then add 3/4 cup of the curdling agent. Stir milk in a clockwise motion twice with a wide, flat wooden spoon or paddle, then interrupt the swirling motion abruptly by holding paddle straight up in container, sprinkling 1/4 cup of the remaining solution over the top.
Remove pan from heat, cover and leave undisturbed for 5 to 10 minutes. Small cloud-like loose white curds will have formed, surrounded by a light yellowish liquid (called "whey" as in dairy cheese making; it has some nutrients and is good in soup stock or baking). Stir gently once, add remaining solution, cover and leave for 5 more minutes.
Place colander inside a larger bowl; line colander with muslin cloth or several layers of cheesecloth. Remove as much of the whey as is possible. Gently ladle out the soft white curds into the layers of cheesecloth, folding it around to cover curds. Place a flat plate on top with a quart jar of water for weight atop the plate.
Remove plate and weight after 20 to 30 minutes (or leave in the refrigerator if for a longer time).
Taste a bit of the fresh, plain tofu while it is warm. Freshly made tofu has a light, pleasant flavor, not as bland as purchased tofu. Mash 1/4 cup with a dash of salt and spoonful of fresh soy milk for a taste and texture similar to fresh homemade cottage cheese.
Store plain tofu in cold water, covered, changing water daily for up to one week, although the flavor is always best the first day or two.
Recipe by, former PCC Nutrition Education Manager