How to make your own silken tofu
Silken tofu is a great ingredient in a plant-based diet. It is different from regular tofu in that it has a silkier, softer texture. Silken tofu is made with a different technique than regular tofu, which results in a very different product, sometimes called Japanese-style tofu. It is especially useful when making creamy recipes such as salad dressings, vegan mayonnaise, cheesecake, tofu whipped cream, etc. I use it in several recipes, including my Quinoa Fruit Salad. However, sometimes it is difficult to find and obtain.
My favorite silken tofu is the one made by Morinaga Nutritional Foods called Mori-Nu silken tofu. It is easy to use and it comes in a convenient aseptic package that has a long shelf life. Unfortunately this tofu is not always easy to find and, especially in other countries, it is simply easier to make your own.
Silken tofu is surprisingly simple to make, especially if you know how to make homemade soy milk. It is always better to start with good ingredients, which in this case means good quality, organic soy beans. The other important ingredient is the coagulant and for this there are many options. Nigari (which is mostly magnesium chloride) and gypsum (calcium sulfate) are two of the most commonly used coagulants in Asian cuisine, but other everyday items can be used such as Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), lemon juice and even vinegar. Each coagulant results in a slightly different texture and end product. For silken tofu with a texture similar to the Mori-Nu brand, I have found that gypsum (calcium sulfate) gives great results.
So here is my experience making my own silken tofu, which I found to be fun and I'm definitely trying it again.
1 cup dry organic soy beans
Coagulant (such as gypsum or nigari, see above)
Soak soy beans overnight with abundant water. Keep in mind that the soy beans will triple in size after being soaked.
The next day, drain the soy beans and add them to a blender. Add about 5 cups of water and blend thoroughly. You might need to do this in batches if your blender is not large enough. A high speed blender is ideal but not necessary. Once blended, use a nut milk bag or a fine sieve strainer to strain the milk completely. Make sure the residue left behind is dry. The milk should be creamy.
Transfer the soy milk to a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring the pot frequently to avoid boiling over. Let the milk cool down to warm or cook before the next step.
To make the actual tofu, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of gypsum per cup of soy milk in 2 tablespoons of water or soy milk and then add it to the soy milk. Put in heatproof containers, such as mason jars, ramekins or heatproof bowls. Steam over medium heat for about 10 minutes to set the silken tofu. Remove from the steamer and let the silken tofu rest for a while longer to set further. You can serve hot or cool. Refrigerate any tofu not consumed right away and consume within the next couple of days.