How to Make Homemade Tofu from Scratch
Making homemade tofu from scratch is a rewarding project that allows you to create a healthy, protein-packed food in your own kitchen. With just a few simple ingredients and basic equipment, you can make delicious fresh tofu that tastes far superior to store-bought.
Homemade tofu has a creamy, smooth texture and can be used in all kinds of recipes. It’s also free from preservatives and additives. I will walk you through the entire process step-by-step, from selecting ingredients to pressing and storing the finished tofu. You only need about an hour of active prep time to transform soybeans into this versatile ingredient.
Tofu begins with just two main ingredients:
Soybeans – Seek out high-quality, non-GMO soybeans if possible. You can find them at health food stores or online.
Coagulant – This is what causes the soy milk to curdle and become tofu. You can use nigari, magnesium chloride, calcium sulfate, lemon juice, or vinegar. Nigari works best.
You will also need:
- Cheesecloth or muslin cloth
- A blender or food processor
- A pot for cooking
- A tofu mold or colander
- Herbs and spices
Step 1: Soak the Soybeans
Place the dry soybeans in a large bowl and cover with several inches of water. Let them soak overnight, or for at least 8 hours. This softens the beans, allowing them to blend more smoothly.
Step 2: Drain and Rinse the Beans
Drain off the water and give the beans a thorough rinse. Discard any beans that are cracked or discolored.
Step 3: Blend the Beans
Add the soaked beans to your blender or food processor, along with fresh water. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. This may take a few minutes.
The resulting soy milk should have a thin, milky consistency. Pour it into a pot.
Step 4: Cook the Soy Milk
Heat the soy milk over medium heat, stirring regularly. Bring it to a gentle simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes.
As it cooks, foam will rise to the surface. Scoop this off and discard it. The milk will begin to thicken slightly.
Step 5: Add a Coagulant
Remove the soy milk from the heat. Stir in your chosen coagulant, such as nigari or vinegar. The amounts vary:
- Nigari – 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of soy milk
- Vinegar – 2 tablespoons per 1 cup of soy milk
Gently stir to distribute the coagulant evenly. This causes the proteins in the soy milk to curdle and separate into soft curds and liquid whey.
Step 6: Pour into a Mold
Line a tofu mold or colander with cheesecloth or muslin. Gently ladle the curdled soy milk into the mold. Allow the whey to drain off for 15-20 minutes.
Step 7: Press the Tofu
Remove the tofu from the mold and transfer it to a plate. Place another plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a cast iron pan.
Press the tofu this way for at least 15-30 minutes to help squeeze out excess liquid. Pressing longer results in firmer tofu.
Step 8: Store the Tofu
Remove the weight and plates. Transfer the tofu to an airtight container filled with fresh water. Refrigerate for up to 1 week, changing the water daily.
Now you can slice, cube, or crumble your homemade tofu and enjoy it in all kinds of recipes! The flavor and texture is far better than store-bought.
Tips for the Best Homemade Tofu
- Use high-quality, non-GMO soybeans.
- Grind the beans thoroughly for smooth soy milk.
- Simmer the milk slowly to develop flavor.
- Carefully add the right amount of coagulant.
- Press firmly to achieve desired texture.
- Store in fresh water in the fridge.
With simple ingredients and basic steps, you can make tofu easily in your own kitchen. What recipes will you use your homemade tofu in first? Let me know how it turns out!