What’s the idea?
It’s really easy to make soy milk at home from just the dried beans and water, for a healthy and tasty alternative to dairy.
What’s the story?
Recently I have been checking out dairy-free alternatives to milk.
As I had a bit of time on my hands, I decided to research how to make soy milk.
Taste, versatility, health benefit, and cost are all important factors to consider in my books, and soy milk ticks all the boxes.
The soybean originates from East Asia and was first farmed in China around 1100 BC.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that soybeans were more widely consumed in America and from there came across to Europe.
In its original form, soy milk was a by-product of making tofu – a bit like whey from cheese making.
Because it’s quite watery as a by-product, now we prefer to drink it before the tofu is made.
Just like full fat dairy milk before cheese is made.
During my years in the natural health industry there was a lot of controversy over soy.
So milk from nuts, rice and oats started to take over in popularity and soy milk and soy products became questionable.
Now there seems to be a more balanced view.
As with all foods that we consume , soy milk, drunk in moderation, has great benefits for health overall.
(As long as it hasn’t been overly processed or added to, and you don’t have certain specific health conditions).
It is high in potassium and protein but low in saturated fat.
Plus it’s a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan or just concerned with animal welfare and the environment.
People should do this because…?
It’s only soybeans and water – I can’t believe I’ve never made it before!
The fresh milk is far more delicious than shop bought and so easy to make.
Compared to most shop bought brands it has a much higher protein content, no additives, and doesn’t curdle in coffee.
It has a hint of sweetness so maybe no need to add that teaspoon of sugar.
Making your own soy milk saves you money and there’s less packaging.
And finally, high in protein means it’s only a few steps away from making your own soy yoghurt, soy cream cheese and tofu too!
How do you do it?
- medium sized bowl
- colander or sieve
- high-speed blender
- medium saucepan
- metal spoon
- muslin, cheese cloth (or clean pair of tights!)
- sealed container for storage in fridge
For 1 Litre homemade soy milk you will need 125g dried soybeans and 1 Litre water.
- Soak the dried beans in a medium sized bowl full off cold water for 6 – 8 hours;
- After soaking, the beans will have absorbed quite a bit of water;
- Using a sieve or colander, drain off the remaining soak water and rinse the beans under the cold, water tap/faucet;
- Add the beans to a high- speed blender with 1 Litre fresh, cold water and blend for 30 seconds;
- Making sure you have very clean hands, place a muslin, double-folded cheese cloth over a large saucepan and slowly fill up with the blended mixture;
- If you don’t have a cheese cloth you can use an old pair of tights (clean, of course!);
- At first the soybean mixture will strain through by itself, but by the end you will need to pick up the corners of the material, twist tight and then squeeze to get the last drops out;
- You now have raw soy milk in the pan! It is wonderfully fragrant like fresh mown grass.
- Don’t be tempted to drink it straight away. Soybeans are legumes which must be thoroughly cooked before consumption;
- Bring the soy milk to the boil in the pan and keep boiling for 10-15 minutes;
- Stir continuously with a metal spoon to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom or boil over. This changes it to a lovely nutty flavour;
- At this stage, if your straining cloth wasn’t very fine it may be necessary to skim off any scum from the surface of the milk with the spoon (I didn’t have any scum using a muslin cheese cloth).
- Cover with a tea towel and allow to cool;
- Place in a sealed container and refrigerate to drink.
- It will last for 3 – 5 days if kept chilled.
The leftover pulp is called ‘okara‘, which is generally discarded onto the compost heap or fed to garden wildlife.
Apparently, it may be frozen for later to make vegetarian burgers or meatballs. This seems a great way to reduce waste but I have yet to try this out.
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