Looking at the title of this post, I can imagine some of you are making some strange assumptions.
On Twitter, when I first mentioned it, there was a comment or two that arrived joking about cows in the garden. The milk is dairy free so suitable for those who are lactose intolerant, but it is really the bees knees?
I buy a lot of shop bought soy milk so I reasoned to myself that making it out of the soy beans would be infinitely cheaper than buying ready-made soy milk every couple of days.
A dedicated milk making machine costs upwards of £100, so I attempted to make it by hand – which was easier than I first thought to do.
I am not kidding when I say that it is actually very easy to make the soy milk. This is what I did, and I will share my thoughts at the end.
125g white dried soy beans for “approximately” 1 litre of milk. I bought Tesco soy beans to practice with.
1 – Soak the beans
The beans are dried, and they really need soaking overnight so that they are soft and pliable. Cover the beans in a container with water. Change the water a couple of times if you can and then just leave them to do their magic.
Some recipes seem to say that it would be good to dehull the beans after they are soaked, but considering they are going to be liquidised later, I don’t see the need to do that.
Make sure you take out any discoloured or damaged beans as you don’t want to spoil the quality of your soy milk. Soaking can probably be done from 6 – 24 hours to be able to use the beans, and they are ready when they are soft to the bite or soft and pliable when you squeeze them.
2 – Microwave the soy beans
Some recipes recommend heating up the soy beans before using them for milk as it takes away the beany taste. I was not sure about that, but I did micro mine for about 2 minutes before doing anything else with them.
3 – Liquidise / Blend the Soy Beans
In a blender or liquidiser (or a coffee bean grinder which I used) put the beans AND 1 litre of water in if you can. I had to do mine little by little as I used the small grinder to do mine, but I would root out the blender next time and do it in one go.
4 – Boil the Liquid
As with any heated milk, it has the potential to froth up very quickly when you get it to boiling point. Anyone who has heated milk in a pan for slightly too long will know what I mean by that. It is a good idea to use a fairly big pan so that the milk doesn’t boil over the top as you will need to boil the mixture for about 5 – 10 minutes to get it right.
Stir the liquid while it is cooking all the way through. I did not stop stirring with mine, just in case, but I imagine you could get away with some time away from the pot at a time, but I wouldn’t risk it.
As with any milk that you boil, if you are taken by surprise and it looks like it is going to boil over, add some cold water and the foam should shrink back into the pot. If you don’t take care at this stage, you could end up with a right mess on your cooker top.
When it is ready, the milk will have separated from the curds and the mixture will look slightly grainy.
5 – Separating the curds from the milk.
To separate the curds (ochra) from the milk, use a fine sieve, or a cloth bag and strain the mixture. A bit of squeezing of the mix, or using a spatula might get every last drop out of the mix. The ochra can be used for soup, stews as a filler, but I just threw mine away. In future, I might be tempted to give it a try to see what it tastes like and how it cooks.
To end with it, I forgot to take a pretty picture of it in a glass to make it pretty – sorry. Next time. There will have to be a next time as I really did not get much milk out of my recipe. I would guess that I needed much more water than I used and on my next attempt, I will add 2 litres of water to the mix.
I might also microwave it for much longer at my next attempt, as it tasted very very beany to me which I really didn’t like. I’ve read that cows milk has a lot of salt added so I might try adding some sugar or salt to see if I can get to a taste that I find palatable for using in coffee, which is what I really use it for. It looks idea for making tofu, so that might be an idea for the next time as well. I definitely left mine too long and too much water boiled off.
Have a go yourself it really is quite easy.