Block tofu & soya milk

Block tofu & soya milk

By
From
V is for Vegan
Makes
800 g

You will need to buy a coagulant. I recommend ’nigari’ crystals, which can be bought online. You can also use sodium chloride, Epsom salts or lemon juice, but in my tests nigari was the best. I also invested in a plastic tofu mould, although you can use ordinary kitchenware, for instance a plastic Tupperware-style box with holes punched in the bottom, to achieve a similar effect. You will also need a muslin and a metal sieve.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g dried soya beans
2 1/2 tablespoons nigari, (I used crystals)

Method

  1. Firstly, soak the soya beans overnight (for at least 8 hours) in a large bowl, covered with cold tap water. They start out as little round pellets, but as they expand, they become bean shaped.
  2. Put 2.5 litres fresh water into the largest saucepan you have and place over a medium heat to start warming.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the beans and grind with 1 litre fresh water in a powerful blender or Vitamix. You’ll probably have to do this in 2 batches. Add the finely ground bean mixture to the pan and heat until it reaches a temperature of around 70°C.
  4. Then take a cup of the water-bean mixture from the pan and add it to the blender to rinse out the rest of the beans. Pour this into the pan and heat for around 10 minutes, taking care not to scorch the bottom of the pan.
  5. Put a piece of muslin into a metal sieve set over a bowl. Pour enough of the bean mixture to fill the sieve and press down. When you have squeezed most of the soya milk out of the mixture, you will be left with the soya bean lees, also known as okara, which can be used in baking or to make burgers.
  6. Empty the muslin of okara into a clean bowl. Keep straining, squeezing and setting aside the okara until all the contents of your large saucepan have been emptied. You will now have soya milk in your bowl (and may need to use an extra bowl or jug to contain it), which you can use for your tofu, or remove some for use in tea, coffee or smoothies. You can stop at this stage if all you want is soya milk.
  7. Now take the okara in batches, place it back in the muslin, tie the top together and squeeze a second pressing of milk out of the beans. This pressing is important because it gets the last remnants of thick milk from the beans. You’ll need another bowl at this point, to put the exhausted beans in. Continue until you have pressed all of the okara a second time.
  8. Now put all of the soya milk, first and second pressing, back into the large saucepan. Heat gently until it reaches 70–80°C, no hotter. This is the point where you can add flavouring, such as citrus zest, yuzu paste or sesame seeds, beetroot powder or finely chopped herbs such as basil or coriander, or herb oil, if you so choose.
  9. Once it has reached the temperature required, take it off the heat and add the nigari, which will coagulate the mixture. You don’t want to add too much because the coagulants can make the tofu taste bitter, although once your tofu is formed, you can gently rinse it to get rid of any lingering bitterness.
  10. Put a lid on the pan and wait 10 minutes, after which the soya milk will have separated into curds and whey, just as if you were making dairy cheese.
  11. Rinse out the muslin and place it in the tofu mould (see introduction). Using a slotted ladle, carefully scoop out some curds and place them in the lined mould. Continue with the remaining curds. You can discard the whey but there are uses for it – you could give it to plants! Cover the top of the tofu with the muslin.
  12. Finally, you need to press the tofu to get a compact block. If you have a dedicated tofu mould, you can put it in the press that comes with it and weight it down with cans of food. Otherwise, use a Tupperware container or a colander and place a small plate and some cans on top to weight it down.
  13. After half an hour, gently rinse the tofu in cold water, by pouring a few cups of water on it rather than running the tap directly on the tofu, especially if it is very delicate, or it will break up. Keep the rinsed tofu in a container of cold water in the fridge. It will keep for up to 7 days, but do change the water every day or so.
Tags:
Vegan
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