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Ultimate Guide to Making Tofu from Scratch ”
Tofu is an incredibly healthy vegan protein that’s a mainstay in many vegetarian and vegan diets. One quick way to save money and make tofu that tastes even better than store-bought is to make it yourself at home – follow our simple, step-by-step guide to making tofu below!
What is Tofu?
Tofu is a simple vegan protein containing just soymilk curds and water. Tofu makers coagulate soy milk, causing the soy milk to turn to solid curds. They then press the curds and water into a solid block. The pressing time and strength determine the firmness of the resulting tofu.
How To Make Tofu From Scratch
Tools You’ll Need
This recipe requires very few ingredients, but it does need a few simple kitchen tools to get the job done. Here’s everything you’ll need to make tofu at home:
- Food processor or high-powered blender
- Large pot or Dutch oven
- Digital thermometer
- Nut milk bag
- Tofu press, or a heavy plate with weights
- Mixing bowls and wooden spoon or spatula
- 1 1/2 c. dried soybeans, we used non-GMO from the bulk section at Whole Foods
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- water (measurements below)
- First, place your dried soybeans in a medium mixing bowl and cover with 4 1/2 c. of water. Leave the soybeans to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- After the beans soak, transfer the beans and water into a food processor or high-powered blender. Process the soy mixture until you’ve ground the beans and the liquid is a smooth consistency.
- Bring 5 c. of water to a rapid boil on the stovetop in a large pot or Dutch oven. Stir in the soybean mixture, then reduce the heat to medium while continually stirring.
- When the mixture is simmering, reduce the heat to low and continue cooking and stirring until a layer of foam forms— ~8 minutes.
- Place your milk bag into a large bowl and pour the pot’s contents into it. Carefully lift the milk bag out of the bowl to let the liquid strain out. Using a wooden spoon or flat spatula, press out as much liquid as possible and discard your ground soybeans or save them for another use.
- Give your pot or Dutch oven a quick rinse, then pour the strained soymilk back into it. Heat it over low heat, stirring frequently.
- Stir together 1 c. of water with 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice. This mixture is the critical coagulant that makes your milk curdle and turn into soy curds.
- Once the soymilk’s temperature reaches 150°F – 155°F, remove it from the heat. Use a digital thermometer to monitor the soymilk’s temperature.
- Add half of the coagulant to the pot or Dutch oven and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon 6 times, in a clockwise, circular pattern. After 6 stirs, stop the spatula and hold it upright in the pot until the soymilk stops circulating.
- Pour in the rest of the coagulant mixture and gently stir the soymilk in a figure-eight pattern until small curds begin to form. Cover the pot and leave the curds to sit for 15 mins.
- After 15 mins, there will be a water layer on top, with your soy curds on the bottom.
- Rinse out your large mixing bowl and nut milk bag, as you’ll use them again.
- Put the nut milk bag in the bowl and use a large, slotted spoon to transfer the soy curds from the Dutch oven into the bag. Once all of your curds are in the bag, squeeze as much liquid out of them as you can.
- Transfer your soy curds into a tofu press. If you don’t have a tofu press, you can keep your tofu in the nut milk bag and place a plate or cutting board on top of it. Then, place something heavy on top of the plate or board to press the excess liquid out of the curds. Press the tofu like this for 15 mins, then drain the excess water and refrigerate your tofu for an hour.
Final Notes: Tofu Tips + Storage
This homemade tofu is a little different texturally than the firm tofu from the grocery store – it’s a little softer and more crumbly, but it’s still much firmer than a creamy, silken variety.
Use your homemade tofu immediately after an hour’s refrigeration, or place it in some cold water and store the tofu in your fridge for up to 3 days. Be sure to press the excess water out of your tofu with a tofu press before you prepare it if you’re going to fry, grill, or bake it.
We hope you love using this tofu to up the protein levels and lower the cost of all of your favorite vegan recipes!
Ultimate Guide to Making Tofu from Scratch