Homemade Tofu (and Soy Milk)

Zero Waste By Dominique Molter |

Like many of the people who took my poll earlier this week on Instagram, you may be surprised to learn how easily you can make delicious tofu from scratch.

IG survey with over 2000 respondents

However, like many of the recipes I cook today, preparing tofu does require some planning ahead. If you want tofu for dinner, you’ll need to soak your soybeans in advance—the night before or very early in the morning.

To make tofu, you first make soy milk. So if you prefer, you can make the milk—and a bit extra to drink—a day or two in advance of making the tofu. This gets most of the prep out of the way. Once you have made the milk, you can finish making the tofu fairly quickly.

Only three ingredients

Delicious homemade tofu requires only soybeans, a coagulant and water.

Think ahead of what you’ll do with the SHOCKINGLY LARGE amount of okara (soybean pulp) that homemade tofu renders. This is the only thing I find difficult to deal with when making tofu. I’ve added okara to soup—it makes a nice thickener—and I’ve made really delicious biscotti with it (I’ll post that recipe very soon). You can use it like you would pulp from nut and seed milks.

When you see the large amount of okara left over from making tofu, I think it makes you respect the food more. So many resources go into producing what we eat. That awareness makes you want to cook with care and not waste a single morsel.

And now for the recipe.

Homemade Soy Milk and Tofu Ingredients 2 cups non-GMO, organic soybeans1 ½ teaspoons nigari powderwater

soybeans and nigari for making tofuSoybeans and nigari

Directions First, make soy milk

1. Soak soybeans overnight.

soaked soybeans for making tofuSoaked soybeans ready to blend

2. Drain, rinse and place beans in a blender with just enough fresh water to cover. Purée in two batches.

processing soaked soybeans to make soy milk and tofuPurée the beans in two (or more) batches

3. Add the puréed beans to a large pot. 

puréed soybeans and water for making soy milk and tofuUse a large pot to make soy milk as it will foam up a lot

4. Stir in 8 cups of fresh water.

simmering the puréed soybeans and water in a large stock potKeep an eye on this as you simmer it so it doesn’t boil over

5. Heat the mixture to a simmer and stir often until it becomes foamy, about 15 minutes.

homemade soy milk cooking in a large potFrothy milk in the making

6. Line a sieve with a thin cloth or nut milk bag and place over another large pot. Strain out the milk. Squeeze out as much as possible from the cloth or nut milk bag. If you’d like to reserve some milk, remove it before moving on to the next step.

straining homemade soy milkAfter straining out the soy milk, you’ll have a pile of okara

Now, make the tofu

7. Heat the milk to 180° Fahrenheit. While the milk heats, dissolve the nigari in 1/2 cup water. If you reserved quite a bit of milk from this, adjust the amount of nigari accordingly. 

heating soy milk to make tofuHeat the milk to make tofu
dissolving the coagulant nigari in water to make tofuDissolve the nigari in water and add to the hot soy milk

8. When the milk has reached 180° Fahrenheit, pour in the dissolved nigari and stir gently. Curds will begin to form.

tofu curds in soy milkCurds have formed after 10 minutes

9. After the curds have formed—about 10 minutes—strain them out. If you have a tofu press, set that up in the kitchen sink, pour the curds into it and form your block of tofu. If you do not have a tofu press, place a colander in the kitchen sink. Line the colander with a thin cloth or nut milk bag. Pour the curds in. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Fold the cloth over the curds, place a plate on top and a weight (I use a jug of water) on that to press out more water.

straining tofu curds in the kitchen sink for homemade tofuStrain curds in a cloth-lined colander set in the sink if you don’t have a tofu mold
straining tofu curds in the kitchen sink for homemade tofuPlace weight over a plate over the tofu to drain it

10. Let the tofu drain for about 20 minutes and then either cook it or store it in the refrigerator in a container of water.

one pound of homemade tofu on a scaleTwo cups of soybeans rendered a little over a pound of tofu
homemade soy milk, tofu and okaraHomemade soy milk, tofu and okara
Biscotti made with okara or soybean pulpBiscotti made with okara (soybean pulp)

Homemade Soy Milk and Tofu Ingredients 2 cups non-GMO, organic soybeans1 ½ teaspoons nigari powderwaterDirections

1. Soak soybeans overnight.

2. Drain, rinse and place beans in a blender with just enough fresh water to cover. Purée in two batches.

3. Add the puréed beans to a large pot. 

4. Stir in 8 cups of fresh water.

5. Heat the mixture to a simmer and stir often until it becomes foamy, about 15 minutes.

6. Line a sieve with a thin cloth or nut milk bag and place over another large pot. Strain out the milk. Squeeze out as much as possible from the cloth or nut milk bag. If you’d like to reserve some milk, remove it before moving on to the next step.

7. Heat the milk to 180° Fahrenheit. While the milk heats, dissolve the nigari in 1/2 cup water. If you reserved quite a bit of milk from this, adjust the amount of nigari accordingly.

8. When the milk has reached 180° Fahrenheit, pour in the dissolved nigari and stir gently. Curds will begin to form.

9. After the curds have formed—about 10 minutes—strain them out. If you have a tofu press, set that up in the kitchen sink, pour the curds into it and form your block of tofu. If you do not have a tofu press, place a colander in the kitchen sink. Line the colander with a thin cloth or nut milk bag. Pour the curds in. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Fold the cloth over the curds, place a plate on top and a weight (I use a jug of water) on that to press out more water.

10. Let the tofu drain for about 20 minutes and then either cook it or store it in the refrigerator in a container of water.

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