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How to make Homemade Tofu from Soy Milk

A block of homemade tofu made from soy milk on a cheesecloth

Did you know that you can make homemade Tofu from just two simple ingredients which are readily available at most grocery stores? Tofu is commonly used in East-Asian dishes, and in recent years has become popular in the West with Vegans and Vegetarians due to it’s high protein content. Some people even use tofu as a substitute for eggs and cheese.

The tofu which we will be making today only requires soy milk and vinegar. You can use any brand of soy milk of your own choice, although unsweetened would undoubtedly be best. Similarly, you can use any coagulant of your choice – I opt for vinegar because I always have it in the house and have had the best results.

You may be surprised to know that making tofu is actually incredibly easy. All you have to do is bring soy milk to a gentle boil, add your coagulant, turn off the heat, and stir until all the curds separate from the whey. The only thing left to do then is drain the whey and press the tofu. I pressed mine for 4 hours and this was sufficient to make extra-firm tofu perfect to cook with.

“There is nothing more gratifying than making your own food from scratch. Ancient traditions living on in our modern times … Delicious food coming from our kitchens!”

Although you can buy tofu readily from most supermarkets, there is a certain satisfaction that comes with making your own. Here in the UK it is most certainly cheaper to make your own than buying ready made, and it really does require minimum effort. I’ve also found that homemade tofu tastes noticeably better with a smooth texture, firmness, and mild but fresh taste. Plus, any food that you make from scratch tends to taste better as you appreciate it more!

This tofu is Vegan, Gluten-Free and Nut-Free.

In my recipe I have tried to keep things really simple and accessible. I use a small plastic Tupperware container to shape my tofu and weights to press it (you can even use tins, books, or anything you have around the house) but if you want to achieve a really professional finish there are multiple tofu presses on the market which will make the process smoother, such as this one https://amzn.to/2P9QqdN – you can also use the same press to make homemade paneer, whose recipe follows the same process but with diary milk. (Please note that as an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission from every purchase through this link)

How to make Homemade Tofu from Soy Milk (2 Ingredients!)

How to make Homemade Tofu from Soy Milk (2 Ingredients!)

Yield: 160 - 180g

Easily make homemade tofu with just 2 commonly available ingredients. Delicious, fresh, and with an amazing texture!

Ingredients

  • 1 litre Unsweetened Soy Milk
  • 100ml Water
  • 1 tbsp, 0.5 tsp Vinegar (I use Apple Cider Vinegar)

Instructions

  1. Combine 100ml Cold Water with 1tbsp and 1/2 tsp Vinegar in a small bowl.
  2. Pour the soy milk into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and wait for the milk to come to a gentle boil. Do gently stir in-between to prevent any milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once the milk has boiled, pour the water and vinegar mixture into the pan. Switch the heat off and immediately begin to stir the pan in one direction only. You should begin to see the whey (green liquid) separating from the curds. Continue to stir for around 3 minutes, then leave it to rest. The curds should separate after a few minutes of resting time.
  4. Once separated, drape a cheesecloth (or a thin cotton cloth, as I used) over a sieve. Carefully pour all the contents of the pan into the cloth. The whey will drain through and you will be left with the curds in the cloth. Run cold water through the curds to remove any residing taste of vinegar, then gather the top of the cloth together and gently squeeze any water from the curds. You will be left with a something very similar to the picture above on the left hand side. You may have to squeeze the water out a few times.
  5. To press the tofu, place the cloth and curds into a tofu press and leave for approximately 4 hours (for extra firm tofu).

Notes

Tip: You can flavour your tofu by adding ingredients when you separate the curds from the whey. Just be sure to chop your ingredients very fine otherwise it will create air pockets and compromise the texture when pressing.. Also bare in mind added ingredients can alter the shelf life of the product. Chilli flakes would work well here.

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If I don’t have access to Soy Milk, can I make my own?

Yes, absolutely! Simply soak soy beans (these are commonly available in Asian markets) overnight in plenty of water. They will swell and soften. Drain the soybeans and add them to a blender with a little water. Blend and keep adding slightly more water until you reach a smooth, thin and flowing consistency. Take a large pot and rest a sieve on top, covered with a cheese-cloth. Pour the soy milk through the cloth to separate the milk (in the pan) from any larger pieces which didn’t blend. Discard these pieces. Now you have freshly made soy milk in your saucepan – continue with the recipe as instructed.

How to Store Homemade Tofu?

Add your fresh tofu to an airtight container and cover with cold water. Store in the fridge and replace the water on a daily basis to keep the tofu fresh. It will taste best if used within 2 days, but will keep up to a week if stored correctly.

You can also freeze tofu. This changes the texture and creates air-pockets within the tofu. Some people actually prefer this texture, as it makes it crispier when frying and more chewy in texture. Frozen tofu will stay good for around 4 months.

How to Serve Homemade Tofu?

If you’ve never eaten tofu before you may be wondering how it tastes. The honest truth is that it doesn’t taste of much – but this is a great thing as it allows the tofu to take on the taste of whatever it is added to. That’s why the best recipes add tofu to highly spiced dishes, marinate it, or use it as a base for other strong flavours.

There are really endless ways to use tofu. You can use it as a substitute for paneer as in my Paneer Tikka Masala recipe. My personal favourite way to use it is in Indo-Chinese recipes, such as my Chilli Tofu – here, it’s battered in a spicy mix before being fried with copious amounts of ginger, garlic and sweet, spicy and sour sauces.

For classic Asian flavours, serve tofu with stir-fried noodles or various sauces, such as satay peanut sauce or sweet & sour. You can also add tofu to various broths and noodle-soups such as ramen.

Alternatively, you can use it as a substitute for eggs – this works particularly well with soft tofu which has been pressed for only 30 minutes. Check out my Paneer Bhurji recipe for an idea of how you could make a spicy version of scrambled tofu. Tofu also works well when blended to make desserts such as mousse and cheesecake, or savoury treats such as quiche. Stay tuned for these recipes!

CategoriesFood
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  2. Jasmine says:

    I’m very new to tofu…. can I leave it in the crumbles stage after removing the water but before pressing? Would that work to cook with or do I have to press it and then crumble it again?

    1. It really depends what you want to cook. If you want to make something like a tofu scramble you can absolutely just squeeze excess water out with your hands and then use it without pressing!
      For any kind of dish that requires tofu to hold its shape definitely press it- it’s super easy, if you don’t have any fancy equipment you can just wrap it in a cloth, put a plate on top and stack some heavy books on top of that. If you do it at midday your tofu will be done pressing by the early evening!
      Hope it helped! Ellanor x

  3. Lynda says:

    Hi, do you think this would work with any other plant based milk? I try & vary diwt and not rely too much on soya. Lynda

    1. Sorry for my slow reply Lynda,
      I don’t think this would work with any other plant based milk as they won’t curdle in the same way, sorry.
      I will work on a recipe for another bean based ‘tofu’ for you!
      Ellanor x

  4. SJ says:

    😟 This sadly didn’t work for me and I’m wondering if it’s perhaps coz I used apple cider vinegar (the only one I had in the cupboard lol)?

    1. Oh no! What went wrong? If you let me know what didn’t work I should be able to help you work it out, no problems!
      I used Apple Cider Vinegar myself so that’s not the problem, don’t worry. You can use any vinegar or lemon juice.
      If the milk didn’t curdle you may need to add more vinegar or lemon juice until it does!

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