Soy milk!

October 2, 2008

I mentioned I was going to make soy milk. I did, this morning. I am very impressed with the results. It does taste soybean-y (I didn’t do very much to mitigate that–I wanted to try a simple recipe first), but honestly I don’t mind the taste of soybeans, and it’s also really rich and creamy.

My method is a combination of many different recipes online, so I will share what I did here. My recipe would have made about half a gallon (see first tip for why it actually didn’t…). Note that a cup of soy beans is about .4 lbs, which means using my 99 cent per pound organic soybeans, half a gallon of soy milk costs about 40 cents to make (instead of, you know, 4 dollars to buy).

Equipment:

wire mesh strainer
cheese cloth
large pot
large mixing bowl
food processor (blender would also work)

Ingredients:

1 cup dry soybeans
7 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

What I did:

1. Soak soybeans in a ton of water for about 12 hours.
2. While soybeans are still covered in water (but not so much it splashes all over the place), rub soybeans between my hands to remove skins, and periodically remove skins that rise to the top. (There are recipes on the internet that say the skins float to the top of the water, but mine did not. They did rise to the top of the soy beans, though, so they were pretty easy to remove.) This step is supposed to get rid of some of the soybean-y flavor. I mostly did it because I was curious how well it worked, since I had read mixed reviews. It only took me about 3 minutes to get rid of all my skins.
3. Puree soy beans in 2 cups of the water, until smooth. (Do not over-fill food processor. A lot of air gets added during this step. Mine pretty much doubled in volume.)
4. Pour soy bean mixture into mixing bowl, and add remaining (5 cups) water. Stir.
5. Place strainer in pot, and 8 layers of cheesecloth over strainer. Pour a couple of cups of the soy bean mixture into the cheesecloth/strainer (enough to fill the strainer, but so that you can easily gather the cheesecloth to squeeze), then grab the four corners of the cheesecloth and twist to remove as much liquid as possible. My cheesecloth is not as fine as I’d like, so I got some fun squirting happening here, so I found that keeping my hand around the ball of soymilk mixture was prudent, in order to avoid cleaning soybean pulp off my walls. Once you are done squeezing out liquid, set aside the okara (soy bean pulp left in the cheesecloth), and repeat until you’re out of soybean mixture.
6. Rinse the mixing bowl, and repeat step 5, this time transferring from the pot to the mixing bowl.
7. Rinse the pot, pour the raw soy milk into the pot from the mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients (salt, sugar, and vanilla), and slowly bring the soy milk to a boil (I kept it at medium-high heat and stirred constantly). Boil for ~20 minutes.

Tips:
–Do not mistake baking soda for corn starch, and think you’re going to thicken the soy milk a bit with it. (I saved most of my soy milk by pouring off and saving the top milk, and discarding the stuff on the bottom where the baking soda had sunk to.)
–Okara, the soybean pulp, is supposed to be good for lots of things, including baking (you have to cook/dry it first for most things), veggie burgers, etc. It has a ton of fiber and a good bit of protein. I am trying an okara-rice burger, we’ll see how that goes.
–If you have better cheesecloth than I have, you probably only need to strain the mixture once.

When I finally actually get to work, I am going to bring a soy latte made with my fresh soy milk. Mmm, delicious.

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