Thursday, October 9, 2008

Homemade Tofu: A photo diary

It all started with an email to baypuppy: "Hey you with the Vitamix, do you want to make tofu?" The boy and I were having a conversation in bed one night about fake meat, and how I didn't think tofu or seitan (or tempeh) counted as fake meat since they are their own foods. He asked something about making tofu, meaning seitan, then I replied "well.. you COULD make tofu..." and the rest was history.

baypuppy was on board, but she also has a soymilk maker, thus making the process even easier. We picked a day to do it (no school! Yom Kippur!) and started the all day process of making a very small amount of tofu. There really aren't recipes here...

Step 1: Make Soymilk. This involved some amount of soybeans that bp had soaked overnight, and this carafe looking machine that made loud whirring noises and somehow turned said beans into soymilk. We made 3 batches.

Step 2: Place all soy milk into large pot and heat to 170-180 degrees

Step 3: Add coagulant. This part was a little sketchy. There are all sorts of things you can use for coagulating tofu, including Nigiri (some sort of mystery stuff that you have to mail order), and EPSOM SALTS. That one weirded me out. I'm sorry, it's a muscle soak, a laxative, and a tofu coagulant? Too weird. We took the middle road and used apple cider vinegar diluted in water (~1/4 cup vinegar + 1 cup water)

... and coagulate it did....

... and coagulated some more... for a total of about 15 minutes of turning into baby spit up

Step 4: Skim off the "whey." We used a mesh strainer to hold the "curds" back and ladelled off the whey. Now the weird thing about this picture is that it isn't sideways on my computer... yet it is here... you may need to tilt your head to get the full effect.

This is the "curds" with most of the "whey" removed:

Step 5: This step involves a "tofu press" which is a wooden box with holes in it and a lid that's smaller than the top that you put a weight on to "press" the tofu. Yea, we didn't have one of those either. bp got a few cigar boxes from Cali and I drilled holes in one, and we made our own. I don't have pictures of the drilling because you shouldn't operate power tools and take pictures at the same time. Once we had our tofu press lined with cheesecloth, we started spooning in our curds. Mmm... curds...

Step 6: Pressing. The lid to the cigar box was, of course, fitted to the cigar box, and lacking some sort of jigsaw or dremmel tool to make it smaller, we just used a tupperware lid that was roughly the size and shape we needed. A few cans and a cast iron grill pan and voila! Tofu pressing! We pressed it for about a half an hour:

Step 7: Press some more. We took the tofu out of the press, which started off chock full o'curds and it was... a very small piece of tofu featuring a lovely grid pattern from the cheesecloth:

We decided to press it again, this time wrapped in papertowels, on a cookie sheet, with a cutting board and the grill pan again. Once that part was done we had a whopping 10 oz of tofu, which we cut into 6 pieces, 2 for each of us, because Scott was joining us for tofu adventure dinner:
We threw a bunch of things into a container for a marinade (apple juice, ketchup, molasses, unbeef broth concentrate, oregano, allspice, liquid smoke, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, ginger -- I have no idea how much of anything), marinated the tofu for a while, then baked it, along with some cauliflower and carrots which were the only veggies in my house at the time that weren't in queue for another meal:

Scott and bp say "Nom nom tofu."
At some point I'll post the further adventures of what we did with the Okara (soybean pulp)... but I need to do dishes and go to the post office now. Instead, have some bonus kitties in love:


Amey said...

I hae been wanting to try out homemade tofu for a long time. I really love all the details and photos... It gives me courage finally give it a go one of these days...

Bex said...

I need to try some tofu making. I'm so jealous.
And bonus pic of kitties, way too cute

Megan said...

Kitty pics are mandatory during Mofo. Glad you're participating.

Wow, that's a lot of work for not much 'fu. At least you had fun! Did it come out to be cheaper?

megatarian said...

I don't know if it came out to be cheaper. It took almost a pound of soybeans to make 10 oz of tofu. I guess it depends on the price of soybeans where you live!

And it really isn't difficult to make at all, it's just rather step intensive, and it uses a lot of dishes and things you then have to wash, and it's a lot of waiting time. Definitely a fun experience though!

Anonymous said...

i made some yesterday and used epsom salts. it sucked! the texture was good but the taste was caca! i will try it your way next time. TOFU ROCKS!