My memory could still tell. It was not that difficult making my first soy milk at home from scratch however I didn’t enjoy doing it that much.
After years, I am much happier with more or less the same steps, finishing the grinding and filtering tasks in minutes. Practices do help, more helpful are, I have with me the right tools and more importantly I believe they complement each other.
I have a feeling that many of you reading this post are already adept at making homemade soy milk. So don’t be surprised if you find no fancy equipment; with me are just a few ordinary kitchen gadgets but they makes straining much more easier.
Draping one or two cheese clothes across a colander
I have a piece of very fine cloth which after draped across the colander gives no room for the bean pulp (okara), but the strained milk, to escape. If your cloth (or cheese cloth) is not fine enough, use two pieces which together shall help yield a smoother and creamier soy milk.
Matching colander with pot
This is my ‘semi-auto filtering system’. I rested the colander over a pot, which is about half the depth of the pot and it sat there securely while I repeatedly added in the blended bean paste. And a large part of the soy milk will automatically be strained from the colander. Only toward the end, I need to give the bean pulp ONE final squeeze (for the amount in this recipe).
Getting the right pot
Soy milk may overflow easily as it is brought to a boil. So it is preferred to have a pot that is twice the volume of the raw milk. My cast iron pot does a good job for this even the soy milk fills two third of it.
Cleaning while boiling
I cleaned the blender soon after I strained all the milk in the pot and while started boiling it. Because when the remaining okara in the blender is still wet, it can easily be washed away by rinsing under running water, even without any detergents. As the remnants get dried, they turn stubborn.
- 1 cup dried organic soy beans
- 6-7 cups water
- sugar to taste (I use ~45g rock sugar here)
- Note: 1 cup dried soy beans after soaked shall swell into 3 cups
Clean soy beans a couple of times, discarding hulls and dark-colored ones.
Soak soy beans with water (covering 2 cm above) overnight, about 12 hours. Drain beans, rinse them until water turns clear and discard any more hulls. Get a large container for soaking as the dried beans will soak up lots of water and grow more than double in size.
Pulse soy beans and water in blender in batches (1 cup soaked beans with about 2 cups water). Blend until you see little or no yellow particles, between 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour bean paste into center of the cloth and let it strain through the colander.
After the last batch of paste is poured into the colander, lift all sides of cheese cloth, forming a closed bag, but leave the colander as it is, and squeeze the remaining juice from the pulp. Having finished straining, gently lift and remove the colander. You shall see most of the soy milk foams are caught in it.
Over medium heat, bring the soy milk to a boil. I leave the cover ajar to monitor the status cause the milk when heated enough will turn foamy and easily overflow the pot.
As the soy milk just starts to boil, open lid and turn to low heat. Add rock sugar (if using); use a spoon to give some stirs occasionally to prevent browning at the bottom – because my soy milk in this recipe is rather thick. Keep boiling for another 5 to 10 minutes, when you shall smell the soy milk flavor.
Serve hot or chill. If stored in fridge, consume it within 3 to 4 days.
Getting rid of beany flavor: Make sure the soy milk is thoroughly boiled, if not, you may taste some unpleasant raw smell of beans.
Saving the bean pulp or okara: Like rice pulp from rice soup, bean pulp can also be saved for adding into patties, porridge … or did I hear making waffles with okara?
Using rock sugar: Unlike white sugar for adding into milk or coffee, rock sugar has to be cooked with hot liquid to dissolve completely.
Cooking bean pulp
Update, August 26, 2011: I made soy milk again and reserved the pulp for making a savory dish, which is this Fish Fillet with Soybean Crumbs 豆酥魚.
An easier alternative
Also consider cooking Beancurd Skin Sweet Soup 腐竹糖水 which shall save you most of the steps. The dried yuba for making the sweet soup actually is made from soy milk.
When soy milk is being boiled without stirring and its ambient is cool enough, you may find a skin form on the top. That is a fresh yuba.
In H.K., We often drink soy milk as dessert and also like to enjoy it with Chinese cruller or sticky rice roll during breakfast. Recently, corn flakes also come as a good partner for my soy milk, with which I find them nicely paired with bread or toast.
Note that soy milk is free of the milk sugar (lactose) and is a good choice for people who are lactose intolerant. Also, it is a good alternative to those who are allergic the proteins of cow’s milk (soya.be) .
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