Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homemade tofu

I've been making a lot of cheese lately and wondered about making tofu.  I found out with a quick google search that making tofu is similiar to cheese making.  Tofu is traditionally made by soaking soybeans for a day or so, rinsing them, then blending them up in the food processor.  Water is added and the whole mix is boiled for ages, strained through a muslin and you then have soy milk.  I bought a litre of fresh unsweetened soy milk from the supermarket.  If you do it my way then this is really quick!

Tofu is my eldest daughter's favourite food.  We often buy fresh tofu from the market at the weekend, but just as often seem to have shelf stable versions in the cupboard waiting for one of those nights when you haven't prepared anything in advance.  With tofu, alphabet pasta, very finely chopped green veges and some frozen stock I can actually prepare a dinner in ten minutes that is fairly healthy.  

With both of my daughters a favourite puree of mine was tofu blitzed with tinned apricots (an Alison Holst recipe). Protein and fruit in one serving!

I looked up a number of sites then kind of synthesised the information into the following recipe. If you don't have any calcium chloride then try Anthony Bourdain's recipe that involves eggs, soy milk and salt.  If you don't have any cheese moulds (or indeed proper tofu moulds/ presses) then a sieve and fine cheesecloth would be fine.

Emma's homemade tofu.

One litre fresh unsweetened soy milk
3ml calcium chloride (this came with my Italian cheese making kit from Mad Millies).  Because this doesn't change the taste of the tofu, you could probably add a touch more if you wanted very, very firm tofu)

Heat the soy milk in a saucepan to 70 degrees.  It will start catching around 50 degrees so make sure you keep stirring it.  Once it reaches 70 degrees remove from the element and add the calcium chloride.  Cover the pot and leave to sit for at least an hour.  There should be a lot of curds when you stir the milk mixture.  It will not have a 'clean break' that those involved in cheese making will be familiar with.  Line a cheese mould with a couple of layers of cheese cloth and pour in the mixture.  A lot of liquid will drain out - it will be a creamy/ yellow whey colour.  A small amount may have tiny white curd dots.  Don't worry about it. 

How you press your tofu will depend on how hard or soft it is.  I want tofu firm enough to chop up into chunks.  It wasn't firm enough to do this with just leaving it to drain overnight so in the morning I transferred it to the cheese mould that came with a pressing lid.  I then put a bottle of Sprite on the top and more liquid came out. Or if you like softer tofu, just leave to drain overnight.

Store in fridge once firm.  You should be able to store it in water for a few days.


  1. Having trouble loading pictures. Will try again tomorrow.

  2. Well done! How does the cost comparison buying fresh tofu vs making go?

  3. It cost $2.30 to buy one litre of fresh soy milk. I already had the calcium chloride. To buy your own calcium chloride it costs $3.90 (and you could make probably about 50 tofu blocks from one bottle). So a pretty fair comparison - I think we pay about $4 for a similiar amount of fresh tofu. I don't know if it is cheaper to make it from dried soybeans.