Tofu is in many ways really similar to cheese. You start with a milk, add a chemical to it to separate it into curds and whey, and then squeeze most of the liquid whey out. The curds squished together make tofu or cheese. The biggest difference is that tofu has no live bacteria in it and you eat it right away. Oh and when making tofu, you also have to make the milk first... from soybeans.
The website that I got the directions from is this one, the same one that gave me the so-far-yet-to-successful Kasutera cake. Even though you could read it there, I'll explain what I did here anyway.
Ok, so first you start with a pound of dried soybeans. NOT edamame. The dried white ones you can get in bulk. I started with organic, hoping that means they were not involved with Monsanto. (Boooooo!) I washed them and left them to soak in water overnight. In the morning, they were nice and soft (not cooked soft, but not rock hard anymore) and back to their original size. I rinsed them out again.
Then I threw them in a food processor with just enough water to cover them and pureed them. I would recommend using a blender for this, but our blender sucks balls so I had to use the food processor. It was kinda messy, and I had to process them in 4 separate batches. But that was ok, because you have to make the soymilk in two batches, unless you have a giant stockpot. I mean really giant, like one that could hold 2 gallons of liquid easily. Who has one of those?
So take half your pureed soybeans (about 4 cups), which now look nice and white and gooey, and put them in the stock pot with about 14 cups of water and set it on medium low heat. (It helps to have the water already hot when you throw the white goo in, just for time's sake.) You're going to want to cook this for about 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes, but you can't leave it. It will foam over. Several times. Each time it threatens to do so, you can either take it off the heat each time to let it simmer down, or add a half cup of cold water by sprinkling it over the foam. I did both.
|Watch out! Here it comes!|
The pulp that you're left with is called okara and can be used for cooking. I'm sure my next blog will be something about a cool thing that I did with it. It's not good to eat on it's own, though the chickens love it. (Don't worry, Mabel got to try some before she died.)
|250 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.|
|I love science!|
Once the milk is around the 165 temp (it doesn't have to be exact, tofu is more forgiving than cheese), you're gonna add the nigari. Since I can barely read the label on the bottle, I just started adding the stuff in, a half teaspoon at a time, stirring well in between each addition.
Anyway, I lined each mold with some damp cheese cloth and set them in the sink to await the curds. We're getting close, people!
|Kinda looks gross, but it's soooo not.|
|The wicker grooves make it classy.|
So how to eat it? We ate it fresh. We just cut it up into cubes, grated some fresh ginger, and chopped up some scallions. Put these three things together with some soy sauce and bonito fish flakes and we were in heaven...