Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Making Soy Milk

Photo of a half gallon glass milk container full of homemade soy milk with a half-pint jelly jar glass of soy milk. https://trimazing.com/

#VeganMoFo18 Day 25 - Making Soy Milk

Last summer I picked up The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine by John Paino and Lisa Messinger that was a leftover from my friend's mom's garage sale (again, love free!). It has all kinds of tofu recipes, which is cool, but the most awesome thing about this book is that it teaches you how to make soy milk and tofu! I've made nut and oak milks, but had never tried making soy milk before.

Photo of hylium soy beans soaking in a stainless steel bowl of water. https://trimazing.com/
Soaking Soybeans
The book suggests that the hilum variety of soybeans is a better quality of soybean to use when making milk or tofu, and that it is best to use organic beans as well. I always buy organic soy products as non-organic soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified to be Roundup Ready, that is, they can withstand being sprayed with Roundup to kill competitive weeds in the fields without dying themselves; thus can be covered in the glyphosate herbicide, something I don't want to eat! I have a quart of organic soybeans that I bought from Whole Foods a couple months ago in anticipation of making soy milk and tofu. I'm not sure what variety they are, however, I did buy a 25 pound sack of organic hylium soybeans from Azure Standard, and they look identical. 

The first step is to soak the soybeans overnight in water, no longer than 15 hours. The water should not become foamy, nor should the beans sprout.

Photo of Vitamix blender with soaked soybeans and water in it. https://trimazing.com/
Soaked beans in Vitamix
Next, drain and rinse the beans. Add them in batches to a blender with some water and blend for two minutes. Pour the blended mixture into a large saucepan and repeat with the remaining beans.

Photo of a large stockpot full of blended soybeans simmering on the stove. https://trimazing.com/
Simmering Blended Beans
More water is added to the pureed beans in the saucepan and is then brought to a boil. I make sure to use a pot that is much bigger than needed and to heat on my burner that has a simmer option because this mixture is foamy (like the best foamed latte you've ever seen!) and will suddenly bubble up and over the sides of the pot in an instant! Don't take your eyes off of this pot until it comes to a boil and be ready to turn off the heat and stir to keep it from boiling over! Lower the heat to simmer and keep it simmering for 15 minutes.

Photo showing author using a chopstick to remove the tofu skin (yuba) from the surface by slipping it under the skin and lifting it off. https://trimazing.com/
Removing the Tofu Skin (Yuba) from the Surface with a Chopstick
Oddly enough, once this mixture boils, the foam starts to break down and dissipate. What replaces that foam is a skin, called yuba, that starts to form on the top of the simmering milk. Run a chopstick around the edges of the pan to loosen the skin and then run the chopstick under the surface to collect the yuba. You can transfer it onto a baking sheet and unroll it so that it is the circle that came off the surface of the soy milk. Yuba can be used as noodles or as a faux poultry skin if you make a seitan chicken or turkey substitute.

Photo of two yuba skins on a baking sheet. https://trimazing.com/
Yes, it does look kinda like a condom, but I wouldn't suggest that as a zero waste option!!

After the mixture has simmered for 15 minutes, it is now called gô. Either line a colander with cheesecloth or have a nut milk bag ready in a bowl to strain the soybean solids (okara) from the gô. I tried both methods and prefer using the nut milk bag because it is a reusable option.

Photo of a colander lined with cheesecloth with the leftover okara when the go strained through it. https://trimazing.com/
Straining the Gô through Cheesecloth

Photo of using a nut milk bag to strain the go. https://trimazing.com/
Straining the Gô through a Nut Milk Bag

Photo of cooling the okara in cheesecloth in a bowl of cold water. https://trimazing.com/
Cooling the Okara in Water
Let the milk drain through the cheesecloth or nut milk bag, then gather the cloth or bag up and drag it through a bowl of cold water to cool it down. Put the cloth or bag back into the colander and then pour that water through the okara in the bag. Pick up the bag and twist the cloth to squeeze out as much water as you can from the okara.

Photo of okara that was strained from the go. https://trimazing.com/
This is the okara, cooked soy pulp that you squeezed the soy milk from. It has the consistency of mashed potatoes and tastes pretty similar to it as well. Don't toss this! You can form it into patties and cook up as a meat replacer or add it to veggie burger recipes to stretch the recipe out. It can also be used in baked goods, like pancakes or waffles, to make them flakier.

If you're not ready to use the okara right away, you can refrigerate it for up to a week, or freeze it up to a year! I've frozen my okara and will try it in some recipes soon and report back.

Now you have your finished soy milk! Pour it into your container and chill it (unless you're going onto the next step to make tofu, which will be covered in the next post).

Photo of a half gallon glass milk container full of homemade soy milk with a half-pint jelly jar glass of soy milk. https://trimazing.com/
Resulting Soy Milk in a Half Gallon Milk Jar

Another Method for Making Soy Milk

Miyoko Schinner has a slightly different method for making soy milk in her book, The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples. She suggests that by not soaking the soybeans before cooking them, you get a less "beany" tasting soy milk, more like a commercially made soy milk you buy in the store. So I gave it a try!
Photo of the author pouring unsoaked soybeans into a pot of boiling water from a metal measuring cup. https://trimazing.com/
Unsoaked Beans into Boiling Water
With this method, you add unsoaked soybeans to already boiling water and boil them for 1 minute only. Then you take the pot off the heat and the beans sit in this water for 30 minutes, allowing the water to slowly cool. 

Next you drain and rinse the soaked beans and blend them in batches with fresh water into a thick slurry, but only blend them 10-20 seconds. This slurry was significantly chunkier than the previous method.

Photo of blended soybeans and water being strained through a nut milk bag into a glass measuring cup. https://trimazing.com/
Straining in Nut Milk Bag
The slurry is then poured into a cheesecloth-lined colander or nut milk bag. I used a nut milk bag only this time as I prefer using it over cheesecloth. You don't have to wait for this to cool as it's already cooled down from boiling while it sat for 30 minutes.

Photo a bowl of okara left from straining the blended soybeans and water. https://trimazing.com/
The okara from this batch was much chunkier and it was difficult to squeeze all of the milk from it. It is much more fluid, kind of chunky, and not flaky at all. It is more like sloppy mashed potatoes! And it made twice as much waste product than the first method.

Photo of strained soy milk simmering in a large pot. https://trimazing.com/
Simmering Soy Milk
The strained soy milk is poured back into the pot, brought to a simmer over medium heat and held there for 5-10 minutes, taking care that it doesn't boil over.

You then pour your hot soy milk into jars and let it cool before using. Miyoko says it will keep in your refrigerator, unopened, for up to 3 weeks, but only 3-4 days after opening.

My Thoughts After Making and Tasting Both Methods

Photo of two half gallon glass milk containers with homemade soy milk with a half-pint jelly jar glass of soy milk in front. First method (left) and Second method (right). https://trimazing.com/
First Method on Left, Second Method on Right
The soy milk using Miyoko's method was more yellow in color than in Paino and Messinger's method. 

They smelled the same. 

Miyoko's soy milk did taste a bit more mild, but it was really hard to discern between the two.

Using Miyoko's method, soy milk solids stuck to the bottom of the pot when simmering and really cooked on. This did not happen with the first method. 

The okara from the first method is flaky and tasty. The okara from Miyoko's method is chunky, difficult to strain, and tastes like raw beans.

I wanted to love Miyoko's method for making soy milk because I thought it'd be easier to strain the gô being that it was not boiling hot when you did it. However, the resulting okara tastes raw and is difficult to completely strain. I'm not sure I even want to use that okara. The okara from the first method is light, fluffy, easy to strain, and tastes delicious! The slight difference in the taste of the resulting soy milk is not discernible enough to me to use her method. I prefer soaking the beans and blending them thoroughly before boiling the mixture. The first method is my preferred method.

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