How To Make Soymilk
Once in a while, I get into these "I-want-to-eat-freshly-made-food" moods. I've baked my own croissants and Vietnamese baguettes for my upcoming cookbook, "Banh Mi: 75 Authentic and Delicious Vietnamese Sandwich Recipes", which by the way is already available for pre-order. In the past few months, I've also made pasta, ravioli, wonton dough and of course there's my usual ritual of making fruit preserves.
I realized I haven't made soymilk at home in a long time. This weekend, I got the girls involved and we made our own. The process is ultra easy even though it's labor intensive. But the result is well worth it. The amber color is slightly darker than the one you get at the store and the velvety, almost buttery texture is very satisfying. We made many gallons of freshly made soymilk and used much of it in other dishes. I'll share those recipes soon.
Yields: about 4 gallons1 (4-pound) package dried soybeans
4 gallons filtered water
4 pieces rock sugar (see tips), to taste
¼ cup vanilla extract (optional)
The night before:
Soaking the soybeans: In a large mixing bowl (see tips), wash the soybeans thoroughly. Pick out and discard any badly-shaped beans, then soak them overnight (no more than 1 day). Set aside.
The next day:
Prepping the soybean patties: Drain the liquid. In a food processor, coarsely blend the soaked soybeans. Add filtered water (up to a gallon) for a smooth flow, into several batches. Process until you have a smooth yet thick consistency. Transfer to a blender and get a finer, smoother texture.
Note: I used 3 large mixing bowls (1 for the soaked soybeans, 1 for those blended in the food processor and the third for those blended in the Vitamix).
Cooking the soybeans: Place the blended soybeans in a large pot. Place water in a tea kettle (make 5-6 batches of water) and slowly add 2 gallons of boiling filtered water (total) into the pot. Heat the soybean liquid over medium high, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon so it doesn't burn at the bottom. Once it's hot but not boiling, turn off the heat.
Soybean solids (passed through the coarse-mesh strainer) from the first batch.
Straining the soybeans: Strain the liquid through a large coarse-mesh strainer, in batches. Set the soybean solids aside.
Soybean solids from the second batch.
Return the strained liquid to a large clean pot. Patiently bring the liquid to a boil; I started cooking the soymilk over medium-high to prevent the bottom from burning. Once the liquid starts bubbling (it took 50 minutes in this large pot), add 2 large pieces of rock sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and set this batch of soymilk aside.
Soybean solids after being manually pressed through the cheesecloth.
Repeat the same procedure with the reserved soybean solids: Place the soybean solids in another large pot. Place water in a tea kettle and slowly add another 2 gallons of boiling filtered water (total) into the pot. Heat the soybean liquid over medium high, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn at the bottom. Once it's hot but not boiling, strain the liquid in the same manner as previously, then strain one more time with a large cheesecloth, pressing the solids and extracting as much liquid as possible. bring to a boil and add the rock sugar.
Assembly time: Combine the soymilk from both pots. Bring to a boil one more time, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and let cool. When warm, add the vanilla extract (if using) and stir until evenly distributed.
I think it's served best warm but it's also delicious chilled.
You can find rock sugar in any Asian markets. In Vietnamese, it's called đường phèn. You can also use granulated sugar instead.
Make sure you used dried soybeans (the color is white and they're very hard) and not the fresh version (edamame). I buy them at the Korean market (select organic soybeans). You can also find them in most health food stores. They're very inexpensive: less than $2 per package (compared to almost $5 for 1 gallon of fresh soymilk at my local tofu shop in San Jose).
You can find extremely large (the diameter is about the length of my arm) quality mixing bowls/containers in Korean specialty stores and large stockpots (preferably non-stick for easy cleanup) in Middle Eastern markets.
I used the Vitamix blender for this recipe. It's very powerful. Make sure there is some amount of liquid so that the motor does not burn; I also chose to pre-blend the soybeans in a food processor to make sure not to damage the blender.
This recipe is scalable. You could replicate this recipe using only 1 pound of dried soybeans. For instance, you'd blend and cook the soybeans in ½ gallon of water, then strained the soybeans and repeat the same procedure with another ½ gallon, obtaining about 1 gallon of soymilk total.Published By: on March 11, 2013.