Tofu is soybean curd with a cheese-like texture. Homemade tofu can be used in a wide variety of sweet and savory recipes because it has little flavor and smell.
There are many health benefits from eating fresh homemade tofu. Tofu is a good source of protein and iron and is low in fat and calories. The FDA recommends eating soy protein stating, "Twenty-five grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease."
Tofu is made by curdling hot soy milk with a coagulant, similar to the way cheese is made from milk.
Here's how to make tofu at home. Heat two quart of soy milk to 180 degrees, stirring frequently. Then remove from heat.
- Mix four teaspoons of magnesium sulfate, sold as Epsom salt, with one-fourth cup of water to dissolve.
- While watching carefully, add the magnesium sulfate mixture to the hot soy milk gradually.
- The soy milk will begin to curdle and form solid curds and liquid whey.
- The amount of the coagulant mixture to be added to the soy mixture depends on the desired firmness of the final tofu product.
- For a soft tofu product, curdling should be minimal and the soy milk can be stirred easily. For a hard tofu product, increase curdling until stirring the soy milk is more difficult.
- Once the curdling has taken place and the desired tofu firmness has been reached, it is time to mold the tofu. A tofu mold can be easily made out of a paper two quart milk or orange juice container by cutting off one side for a top and poking several holes in the opposite side to allow the liquid to drain.
- Place the tofu mold in a sink to drain the excess liquid.
- Place rinsed cheesecloth in the tofu mold leaving enough extra cheesecloth on each side to cover the tofu.
- Pour the curdled mixture into the mold.
- Fold the extra cheesecloth over the curdled soy milk.
- Place a board on top of the tofu. Place a heavy object on the pressing board, making sure that the pressure is uniform.
- The final firmness of the tofu is dependent upon the time and pressure. Increasing the weight and time will increase the firmness of the tofu.
- After the tofu has reached the consistency desired, lift the tofu from the mold and unwrap.
The fresh homemade tofu can be stored in water in the refrigerator for up to one week or can be frozen for longer storage.