How to Make Soy Milk & Tofu from Scratch

Homemade soy milk is super easy to make and is a great alternative to dairy milk. It requires only 2 ingredients: water and soybeans.

Making my own soy milk has been a very new thing for me. What got me into making it in the first place was I came across some organic soybeans at my local bulk foods store, and thought I’d try my hand at making some soy milk at home!

I found these organic soybeans at my local bulk foods store <3

I’ve made almost every type of plant milk there is under the sun; almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, macadamia milk, etc. and they all involved a similar process: soak nuts/seeds overnight, then blend them up with some filtered water. Strain, and voila! You have your own plant milk!

However, the process for making soy milk is a little different in the fact that you need to cook the milk before drinking it, as soy is a legume and can’t be eaten raw.

Soy milk is one of the best choices for cooking/baking because of its high fat content (much higher than other plant-based milk products) and has a similar texture to dairy milk.

This soy pulp (or Okara) can be used as a protein-rich ingredient in other recipes!

However, I haven’t even told you the best part of making soy milk! You can use the leftover pulp (a.k.a Okara) from making the milk to whip up some other protein-rich, healthy recipes:

  • Add to stir-fries for extra protein.
  • Add to baked goods such as breads, muffins and cookies as a gluten-free replacement for wheat flour. Simply replace 1 cup wheat/all-purpose flour with 1 cup dry Okara. If using wet Okara, you may need to reduce the liquids in the recipe to take into consideration the moisture content of the wet soy bean pulp.
  • Use to make hummus and other dips.
  • Use as an ingredient in vegetarian patties, burgers or meatballs.
  • Use as a substitute for bread crumbs in meatloaf or use as a gluten-free crumb-coating for chicken and fish, etc.
  • Cook with hot water or soy milk to make a simple and delicious porridge.
  • Add to eggs for a breakfast scramble.
  • Add to homemade granola for extra crunchy texture and a hit of protein.
  • Mix 1-2 tbsp in with smoothies.

No waste, plus multiple recipes in one!

The first step when making any plant-based milk, is to soak the nut/seed/grain/legume. It’s important to soak the soybeans for at least 12 hours, which will help to deactivate antinutrients naturally found in these foods, but also hydrate the beans to withdraw as much of the “milk” as possible). Yellow soybeans are the recommended type to use when making soy milk or tofu.

Before we get started in learning how to make these super delicious organic soy milk & tofu recipes – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!!

If you make this soy milk or tofu recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below, and if you take a picture and share it, please tag me on Instagram @simplynaturalnessa or use the hashtag #simplynaturalnessa so I can see! I’d love to know how it went for you!

How to make soy milk – Step by step

This soy milk recipe will last about 3-5 days in a sealed container in the fridge. Note: The time may vary depending on the container you’re using. If the milk smells, tastes and looks good, it should be okay. I usually keep it for 5 days or even longer in the fridge.

You can mix up the flavour of your soy milk, too, with ingredients like cacao powder, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract or dates, or use this plain soy milk to make other soy products like homemade tofu! One thing to note is that this soy milk tastes very different from most commercial brands, which usually have a heap of ingredients or preservatives in them. But it’s so easy and super cheap to make, I hope you enjoy it!

If you want to freeze your soy milk, just keep in mind that it often loses its texture and some of its flavour when frozen. However, freezing does not affect its safety or nutritional value, and you can keep it in your freezer for around 3-6 months. It does also tend to change in texture when thawed, so it may be better to use it for cooking/baking rather than for drinking just by itself after freezing.

Some pro tips before we begin:

  • Yellow soybeans are advised as they’re apparently the “best kind of soybeans to make soy milk” with. Always opt for organic, non-GMO soybeans in any case.
  • Add more or less water depending on how thick you’d like your soy milk to be.
  • Feel free to add other ingredients like cacao powder or ground cinnamon to mix up the flavour of your soy milk.
The result: creamy, smooth, delicious soy milk! <3

Makes: about 2 cups (500mL)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried soybeans
  • 4 cups water

Optional:

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or one vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp cacao powder (for chocolate milk)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 medjool dates (for extra sweetness)

To make:

  1. Soak the soybeans in water overnight (ideally 12 hours or longer).
  2. Drain the soybeans and remove the outer skins. By removing the skins, your milk will have a much smoother texture, however, this step is optional.
  3. Blend the soybeans in a high speed blender with 3 cups of water until well blended and almost smooth.
  4. Strain the blended mixture using a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or fine mesh strainer. Store the pulp in an airtight container or jar in the fridge to use later on in other recipes.
  5. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, stir and skim foam (a.k.a basically remove the foam from the top of the milk).
  6. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Let the soy milk cool (here you can add other ingredients like vanilla extract, cacao powder, cinnamon, or dates – you can blend the mixture if necessary in your blender).
  8. Keep leftovers in a sealed glass jar or container in the fridge for about 3-5 days.

DIY soy milk tutorial

How to make tofu at home!

When buying tofu in stores there is often a variety of choices you can choose from: silken, soft, firm, and extra firm. But what’s the difference?

Soft tofu is quite similar to silken but has been pressed lightly into a block form.

Regular/firm tofu has been pressed for longer and holds it shape better, but is still soft enough to be used in dishes such as scrambled tofu.

Extra firm tofu is great for any recipe which requires the tofu to be diced/sliced. This form of tofu is great as a meat-free protein alternative, and can be fried, baked or grilled (like in this Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup recipe).

Some of the big bonuses of making your own tofu at home is that 1. you can ensure it’s organic + non-GMO, and 2. you get to be in control of how firm you’d like it to be by adjusting home much coagulant (we’ll be using lemon juice as the coagulant today) you use and how much you press your tofu.

Before we begin, a few notes to keep in mind about tofu…

  • First, it can indeed be eaten raw, though there isn’t much flavour to it at this point.
  • Second, tofu can also be frozen – for around 4-5 months. However, freezing does change the texture of tofu – which can be used to your advantage in certain recipes, e.g. if you freeze and thaw your tofu before cooking it up, it may help it retain more flavour, and become more crispy when fried. It also gives it a chewier (sort of ‘meaty’) texture.

The types of coagulant used most commonly to make tofu include:

  • Gypsum – traditionally used, it’s a natural calcium sulphate, and just gives the tofu a sweeter taste.
  • Nigari – used more as an alternative, and is extracted from seawater (the magnesium chloride in it easily dissolves in water and congeals soymilk much faster).
  • Lemon juice – makes the milk curdle and brings a tasty hint of lemon to the tofu.

Below I’ll be sharing how to make tofu using lemon juice as the coagulant.

Ingredients:

  • 500g dry organic, non-GMO soybeans
  • 3.5L filtered water for making the milk + additional water for soaking the beans

Coagulant for curdling:

  • 1 1/2 medium-sized lemons, juiced

To make:

  1. Start by soaking the soybeans for at least 12 hours, or overnight. They’ll expand to 2-3 times their size so make sure to use a large bowl and use plenty of water.
  2. Drain the beans, then add them to a high-speed processor/blender for just 10-15 seconds to slightly break down the beans. Add the water and blend again until smooth and creamy.
  3. Strain out the milk through a nut milk bag or sieve, into into a large saucepan, and reserve the pulp to use in other recipes later on. Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat, then, bring to a soft boil over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, and skim the foam that forms on the top of the milk during this time.
  4. In the meantime, juice the lemons, and as soon as the milk starts boiling, add the lemon juice and remove the milk from heat.
  5. Stir the lemon juice through carefully a few times then set aside. You’ll notice curdles start to form. Note: If no curdles are forming, turn the heat on for a couple more minutes and add a bit more lemon juice.
  6. Once the bowl is filled with curdles, put a cheesecloth over a mould and transfer the milk curdles with a skimmer spoon. Wrap the cloth tightly around the milk curdles.
  7. Put a heavy object oven the cloth, to press it. This will allow the tofu to firm up and harden as the excess liquid is drained.
  8. Within 20 minutes, your firm tofu is ready. If you’d like it to be softer then check after 5-10 minutes and continue to press, as needed.
  9. Keep your tofu in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Tofu dries out quickly so it’s best to keep it stored in filtered water. You can then press it again before using.

I like to marinate mine in sauces before cooking it up to use in recipes like stir-fries, noodle soups, etc.

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing.

Have you made soy milk or homemade tofu before? What was it like?! Share your favourite recipe below! We love getting your suggestions on recipes to try out!

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

Robles, Iosune. (Updated: April 1, 2020). Soy Milk. Simple Vegan Blog. Retrieved from https://simpleveganblog.com/homemade-soy-milk/

Kazan, Samira. (Updated: August 9, 2020). How To Make Tofu At Home – Two Simple Methods. AlphaFoodie. Retrieved from https://www.alphafoodie.com/how-to-make-tofu-at-home-two-simple-methods/

Okara / Soy Bean Pulp – Nutritious and Delicious, Don’t Throw It Away!. Trang. Run Away Rice. Retrieved from https://runawayrice.com/blog/okara-soy-bean-pulp/