Thursday, March 5, 2009

Homemade Soymilk: A Photo Essay

I've made soymilk several times now with the SoyQuick I got for Christmas. I now have a bit of a routine where I make 3 batches at once and that usually lasts us about two weeks. For easy drinking I make one each of chocolate, vanilla, and plain. We always run out of vanilla first, but it is easy enough to flavor the plain as needed. 

After some experimentation I came up with a recipe we both like. You can obviously make it with just soybeans (as you should if you are going to turn it into tofu or yogurt) but I add a couple of things to reduce the "beany" flavor and to give it a little more body. We didn't like just adding oats, it make it weirdly thick. Just rice is good, but we wanted it a little more substantial, so I use a combination of the two. This recipe assumes the use of the SoyQuick.

Basic Soy Milk
water to top fill line
6 oz soybeans (2 of the cups that come with the SoyQuick), soaked and hulled
2 tbsp brown rice
1 tbsp oats
1 1/2 tbsp sugar or other sweetener
1/4 tsp sea salt

Place first 4 ingredients in machine and press "soymilk" button. Strain and add remaining ingredients. Cool and refrigerator.


I soak all the beans at least overnight. I usually put them in to soak when I have a moment a few days before I'm going to make it and just stash them in the 'fridge until ready to use. These are applesauce jars, and each one perfectly holds enough soaked beans for one batch. If you want to make soymilk more frequently just keep a jar of these in your 'fridge all the time and change the water every couple of days. You'll have beans ready to go when you're ready to go.

Getting the skins off can be kind of tricky. I have found that if I cover the beans with boiling water and allow to cool until I can handle them they come off much easier. Additionally, it helps to remember that they are going to be pulverized in a few minutes, so being gentle with them is unnecessary. The skins come off much more easily if you smush them up real good. Also changing the water a couple time helps float the skins off. But really, you need not stress about it, you won't get them all off unless you go through them one by one (yeah right).

These are the tools I use. Don't bother with the strainer that comes with the machine, it is horribly designed and tips at the slightest bump. Invest in a good piece of cheese cloth, you can reuse it lots of times. I just put it in a small sauce pan, cover with water and boil ten minutes to to sanitize while my beans are cooling. Everything else gets scalded with boiling water. You need a strainer, cheesecloth, a spoon, whisk, tablespoon, two big measuring cups (I use the one that came with the machine plus my 4 cup Pyrex), and a glass container with lid for storage. 

If I could give you just one tip it would be this: as soon as the soy milk is done, remove the blade/heating element and rinse it. Before you do anything else. This stuff sticks like crazy given the slightest opportunity. You don't have to clean it completely until it has cooled enough to handle, but at least give it a rinse to get off the chunks. The blade cover comes off very easily and the whole thing is very simple to clean. Just make sure that you clean it completely and get everything off that clings to the machine.

I transfer all the okara to a bowl lined with a clean kitchen towel. It is easy to squeeze as dry as possible this way. 

Straining the milk a second time through cheesecloth is optional, but I recommend it. You can see here how much I get with the second straining, which makes for a much smoother milk. 

Here is the squeezed dried okara. It is easy to stash in the 'fridge or freezer until ready to use. So far I've used it to make a Parmesan sprinkle which we like very much and is lower calorie than the one made just with almonds. 

Three batches of soymilk. The red is the plain and the green lids are chocolate and vanilla (green = go/drink!).  To make the chocolate I use 2 big tablespoons of cocoa power, sifted, 2 tablespoons of sugar (plus more to taste or stevia powder), a teaspoon of vanilla and 1/4 cup fresh soymilk. Whisk together over low heat until everything is dissolved and incorporated then whisk into prepared soymilk. For the vanilla I add 1+ tablespoons vanilla extract plus stevia to taste (in addition to the 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar in the base recipe). I actually like mine more vanilla-y but B doesn't, so I add more to mine when I drink it.

I know that SoyQuick (and some of it's more enthusiastic supporters) claim that it takes only 15 minutes to make a batch. That is only kinda true. It takes 15 minutes for the machine to make a batch. But that does not take into account the time to rub the skins off the beans (5-10 minutes, plus 30 minutes hands off cooling time if you use my boiling water trick), or the time to strain and flavor the milk (10-15 minutes), and then of course there is clean up (5-10 minutes). So add that to the 15 minutes that the machine takes to do its thing and you are looking at closer to an hour. However, quite a bit of that is hands off, and if you are making multiple batches you can take that time to start the next batch soaking, clean dishes, (read...), etc.

Homemade soymilk does taste different than store bought, but we adjusted very quickly. And I feel much better knowing that there are no weird thickeners, preservatives, or other additives in something we regularly consume. Additionally, it is much less expensive than store bought. If you go though a gallon of soymilk a week at approximately $6 a gallon for commercial, you would make back your money in about 30 weeks (if you can finagle your way into getting it as a gift then you'll see the savings immediately!). Overall I like the SoyQuick - it takes the guesswork out of making soymilk, it can make a variety of milks, and it is easy to clean. If you only ever make nutmilks I would recommend investing in a high powered blender instead, since nutmilks don't need to cook and a blender is a much more broadly useful machine. However, if you want to make a variety of milks and you go through quite a bit then I think the SoyQuick is a great purchase, even if it is a bit of a unitasker (and like Alton, I have rules about those things!!!).


Bethany said...

wow, that was a great post on the soyquick. I keep waffling on getting one - same w/ a vitamix. believe it or not, I would get it because I love okara patties :).



Anonymous said...

I have those same pitchers, and I also fill mine with homemade "milks"! How funny. :)

the little one said...

This is so impressive!