Tofu is a type of delicious, nutritious food with a history that dates back several millennia in some areas of the world. While most Americans still buy their tofu from grocery stores, there’s a better alternative. You can learn how to make tofu at home. It’s easier than most people think, and with some preparation, making tofu can be a fun and satisfying activity.
Why You Should Eat Tofu
Tofu is an excellent source of protein, a necessity for enjoying good health. And if you eat a vegetarian or plant-based diet, then you might find it challenging to get enough protein.
Even if you don’t eat a vegan diet, don’t miss out on the many benefits of eating it:
- Soybeans are affordable, and swapping out for a meat entree once weekly can lower your grocery costs.
- Eating soy instead of red meat reduces your chance of developing heart disease.
- Soy helps you lose weight (or maintain a healthy weight), a factor in type 2 diabetes.
How to Prepare Tofu at Home
It’s easier than you might think to transform soybeans at home!
Step One: Get Prepared
Tofu only has three primary ingredients: 3 cups of dry soybeans, water, and a coagulant. However, making this delicious culinary delicacy at home takes some other equipment. Before starting the tofu-making process, gather together:
- A large saucepan
- A blender or, ideally, a food processor
- A kitchen thermometer
- A sieve
- A tofu press
Some people use plates covered by heavy objects in place of a press, but this approach won’t yield optimal results. It’s worth investing in an affordable press. TofuBud is the best option for people of all culinary abilities.
Step Two: Mix Soaked Soybeans
Since most people use dried soybeans, they’ll have to soak them overnight. Use the sieve to rinse the soaked beans before putting them in the food processor and covering them with water. Blend the soybeans and water together to form a liquid.
Optional: Marinating the Tofu
Many people marinate tofu before cooking it to add flavor. It’s just as easy to marinate homemade tofu as it is store-bought alternatives. Just pick a marinade, pour it into a dish, place the tofu in it, and leave it to soak for 30 minutes.
Step Three: Cook and Drain
Pour the soybean mixture into the saucepan and add six cups of cool water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer for 15 minutes before using the sieve lined with a piece of cheesecloth to drain the extra water into a bowl. The liquid in the bowl is soy milk. What’s left in the sieve is okara, which can also be used as an ingredient in some recipes.
Step Four: Heat Soy Milk
Return the soy milk to the saucepan and heat it to between 176 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit, checking the thermometer frequently. Pull the mixture off when it reaches the appropriate heat.
Step Five: Add Coagulant
After pulling the soy milk mixture off the stove, add a coagulant. Most tofu manufacturers use nigari, or bittern, but lemon juice or even vinegar will also work. Mix two tablespoons of the coagulant into ½ liter of cold water, then stir it into the heated soy milk gradually. Let the mixture separate naturally. It will take around 15 minutes.
Step Six: Remove the Curd
Pour the separated mixture through the sieve lined with a fresh piece of cheesecloth. What’s left behind will be the curd used to make tofu.
Step Seven: Press the Tofu
Remove the cheesecloth with the curd in it and transfer it to the tofu press. Press the tofu while it’s still in the cheesecloth, then leave the press in the refrigerator for several hours. Once the water has been pressed from the finished product, it will be ready for cooking and can be used just like store-bought alternatives.
The Bottom Line: You Can Make Delicious Tofu at Home, Instead of Purchasing It
Making tofu at home takes some practice, so don’t expect it to come out perfect the first time. With the proper equipment, the whole process becomes quick and easy and eventually, home chefs can have access to high-quality tofu any time they want it.