Monday, March 31, 2014

The Newest Addition to Our Little Family!

I'm so happy to announce our newest addition: Ms. Soyajoy Soy Milk Maker!

And here she is with her big sister, Ms. Vitamix.

And hopefully later this year we'll be able to give them a big brother (a super duper bread maker I have my heart set on, which I'll also use to make pasta dough, pizza dough, lentil & veggie loaf, seitan, risotto, vegan dog food, etc.).

Ms. Soyajoy is going to help us make soy milk easily at home, which we will use to make tofu and soy yogurt.

I can imagine that some people might think "why buy a soy milk maker when you have a VITAMIX?! (the mother of all blenders)". I thought the same thing, and didn't want to buy this at first. I've tried to make soy milk 3 times with my Vitamix (which we've owned for almost a year and a half). The experiences have ranged from slightly miserable to very miserable. It's mostly to do with having to boil the soy milk on the stove. It just boils over so quickly, and I felt like I couldn't do anything else. I had to babysit it. The soy milk maker blends and cooks the soy milk all at once. All I have to do is push a button.

Also, another way I look at it is that this is my job. I'm a housewife. Our way of eating is very important to us. We like to eat fresh and organic foods as much as possible (and as inexpensively as possible), so I make a lot of things from scratch. I grind grains/seeds into flours, I make nut butters, I make sauces, I make tempeh, I make seitan, etc. I'd like to add "I make tofu" to that list, since we do eat our fair share of tofu. This soy milk maker helps me do that. I can be doing other things while it's making the soy milk. This is something that helps me do my job quicker and much less miserably, so I think it's a good investment.

I've made tofu twice so far (in the 5 days we've had it) and it is soooooo easy! With my first batch of tofu, I prepped some ingredients for okara burgers while the soy milk maker was doing its thing. Once the machine was done, I started to get the soy milk to curdle to make into tofu. That has to curdle for about 20 minutes before molding it, so during that time I added the okara to the rest of the burger ingredients and baked them in the oven. It was super easy to make both of those (tofu and okara burgers) at the same time.

With the second batch of tofu, I used the okara to make a ricotta-style "cheese" for Steve's lasagna that he takes into work. I used to use store-bought tofu for it. But this way, I get to use a tofu by-product instead of making a block of tofu just to blend it up.

I still need to experiment with it to figure out the best tofu recipe for us (how much soy beans per batch of milk, how many batches of milk per block of tofu, how much Epsom salt per block of tofu, how long to press the tofu, etc.). So many recipes for tofu I've found say to use nigari or gypsum as a coagulant. I can't get those locally, and they're about $8-$12 /lb online. I can get Epsom salt from Big Lots (a 5 minute walk from my house) for about $2.50 for 4 lbs. I really want to figure out the best way to use Epsom salt since it's so cheap. I see a lot of experimenting and tofu-making in my future.