Since we have begun transitioning to a waste free lifestyle one of the more dramatic adjustments I’ve made in the kitchen is making our own vegan milks, and also tofu. I have attempted and succeeded making several different milks so far, our favourite being almond and soy; soy the most versatile in my opinion, and what we are all used to the most as it is what we have predominantly drank In the past.
It was very important to me; a fundamental step in transitioning to waste free living, to stop buying tetra packs of long life vegan milks and plastic packaged tofu. Happily we have now reached the stage where I have been making our own milks for several months, and I have also begun making our own tofu, thereby drastically reducing our waste and recycling production.
Making soy milk is very cost effective, and although more involved and time consuming than making nut milk, can be achieved quite easily every few days once you have practised it regularly and it becomes routine. I now use two different ways to make soy milk; the longer method I use predominantly for drinking as it is creamier and yields more milk, and the quicker method I use when I am using it solely for making tofu or in other cooking. I thought I’d share the longer method here first.
Soy Milk (This recipe is a slightly adjusted version of one found in How It All Vegan, a very much loved vegan cookbook in our home! I have also gained wisdom and knowledge from the wonderful Natural Tucker by John Downes)
(This recipe makes roughly 2.5 litres)
- 1.5 cups organic dried soy beans, soaked overnight in plenty of water (they will swell up to approximately 4 cups when soaked), strained and rinsed well
- 3 cups boiling water
- 7 cups cold water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbs vanilla extract (optional)
- 5-6 tbs rice malt syrup
- Nut milk bag or piece of muslin for straining
- Begin by blending one third of the soy beans in 1 cup of the boiling water, and in a large pot add 6 of the 7 cups of cold water. Pour the pulp from the blender into the large pot, then repeat this process with the remaining two thirds of beans and 2 cups of boiling water. Use the last cup of cold water to rinse out the blender and add this to the pot also.
- Place the pot of raw gó puree (as it is called at this stage) over a medium heat on the stove and slowly bring to the boil, stirring often to prevent it from catching on the bottom. When the puree boils foam will rise to the top of the pot. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to cool until it is at a temperature you can handle with your hands. It is now called simply gó puree.
- When cool enough strain the gó through muslin or a nut milk bag (I made my own nut milk bag from cotton muslin, it is extremely helpful), squeezing as much of the milk out of the pulp or bean meal as you can. The remaining meal is called okara and is absolutely awesome kept in the fridge for up to a few days or in the freezer for several months and used in vegetable patties, soy loaf,deep fried balls or baking. When we have too much we sprinkle it over our garden beds, put it in the compost, or sprinkle it on the ground outside for our resident wallabies.
- Place your now strained soy milk back into the large pot (give the pot a wash first to remove any remaining pulp) and add the salt, vanilla, and rice malt. Place on a very low heat for half an hour, stirring often, you do not want the milk to catch or burn. Turn off the heat and the soy milk is ready!
I usually wait for the milk to cool a little, remove any skin that has formed on the top (another very useful and delicious by product of making soy milk called yuba), bottle, and place in the fridge. A creamy and delightful soy milk that will keep for up to a week in the fridge!