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Tuesday Tips: Making Milk

31. March 2009

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will know that I got myself a brandnew soy milk maker.

I’ve been thinking about getting one for ages, and now I finally have. All I can say is, where was this wonderful device all my life?

Making your own soy milk is allegedly hard, and when I’ve made it on the stove, the results were definitely “home-made”. They were grainy, floaty pulp in flat-tasting water.

Well, not any more.

Her’es a step-by-step to how I made my soy milk.
You can probably get similar results if you have the following:

  • a very good grinding blender (it needs to be able to make puree out of uncooked beans)
  • a fine-mesh sieve
  • cheesecloth (aka muslin cloth) if you want a finer taste

Okay, here’s how to do it:

  1. Get yourself some organic dried soy beans. organic dried beans aren’t that much more expensive than the regular kind, and if you make stuff at home, it might as well be peticide-free, right?
  2. Wash your beans in warm water. I used half a cup of beans, as per my recipe’s instructions (it comes with its own measuring cup). Anywhere between 1/2 to 1 cup of dried beans should work perfectly fine). Rinse them until the water runs clear. You don’t want any dust or dirt left on them. Scrub them a bit between your fingers to get them nice and clean.
  3. Get a bowl that can hold triple the amount of beans you currently have. In case of doubt, go larger. Any vessel will do, so use a pot if you have to.
  4. Put your clean beans in and top up your soaking container with lots of filtered water. Filtered water tastesd “finer” than plain old tap, but if your tap water is good, use that, it’s probably okay. Don’t boil your water, it’ll taste flat. Get bottled water if you absolutely must, although I feel it defeats the purpose of this exercise. You want a lot of water. Don’t worry about using too much. Using too little is a very bad idea.
  5. Let your beans soak for 8-12 hours. You can soak them for longer. I like to change the water early in the process, but that’s a personal preference. I rinse the beans after about 2 hours and refill the water. The soaking water at that stage will be slightly yellow and may be a little slimy. This is normal.
  6. After 12 hours, the water will probably have some white foam in it. That’s the gassy part of beans. Look! All gone! Soaking beans is fun. I’m alwaays amazed at how pretty the beans get as they plump up. Drain your beans and wash them thoroughly. You want them squeaky clean.
  7. This step ensures a fine, smooth taste. Put your beans in a large bowl. I prefer to cover them in water again, some people prefer to do this dry. Rub the beans gently together with your hands. Their skins will come off when you do this. Discard the skins. Once you feel you’ve got most of the skins off, proceed to the next step. The more you do this, the finer and less “beany” your final milk will be.
  8. This is the part where my Soyquick does all my work. If you have a soy milk maker, you will now add your beans and water to the machine as per its instructions, put the lid on, plug it in, press a button and wipe down your benches while the milk cooks for you in about 15 minutes. If you’re lucky enough to have a soy milk maker, we’ll see you back at step 11. Everyone else, follow me.
  9. Add your beans to your super blender. Add enough water to cover the beans. You may have to add more water as you blend. Again, filtered water for best results. Now blend it. And I mean, set your blender to liquefy. You want to grind these babies down nice and finely. You should be left with a soupy mush by the end of it, in texture somewhere around the mashed poato range.
  10. Pour your bean mush into a large pot and top with water. Here, you’ll be experimenting, depending on how you like your soy milk. I think about a litre to a litlre and a half is a good goal to be shooting for. you can always chenge your final consistency, so don’t stress too much.  One last time: FILTERED WATER. Okay. bring this baby to a full, rolling boil, then cover and let it simmer (that means turn down your heat to low so the liquid is still moving on the surface, but not full-on boiling) for at least 10 minutes. I’m not sure if boiling it for longer will affect the taste, but I doubt it.
    NOTE: Some recipes tell you to strain your milk out before boiling it and I’ve done that in the past with bad results. Hence I recommend leaving the okara (soy bean pulp) in while you boil this baby. I have not tried this, but that’s what my soy milk maker does, so there you have it.
  11.  Welcome back, soy milk machine people! once the milk is done boiling, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into your holding container. This can be any wide-mouthed container, but I would recommend something witha  lot of surface area to help cool the milk. It should probably have a spout for easier pouring. Spouted mixing bowls would be perfect.
    Press the okara (pulp) in your sieve to get as much milky liquid as possible. Okara can be used in baking and will make your breads moister. Don’t throw it away! There are still heaps of nutrients in this stuff. I froze mine for now.
    If you feel that your milk is still too rough-looking, you can strain it again, using the muslin cloth. This might make your milk quite watery though. Wetting your muslin before using it results in less loss of milk.
  12. Season your milk. One of the problems a lot of people have with home-made soy milk is it’s beany, flat taste. Whether you’re weaning yourself off cow’s milk or commerical soy milks, you will have a certain idea what milk is supposed to taste like. Some things you can add to your milk to help it improve in flavour: salt (this one’s a must. A little goes a long way, but it makes all flavours sing), sugar, liquid sweetener, vanilla, stevia, chocolate powder, blended up fruits (although I’d hold off on the last two until later, unles you’re sure you won’t want plain milk this batch).  For my first batch, I used vanilla sugar, stevia, raw sugar and salt.
  13. If you prefer your milk with more body than what you’ve got, you can add a little bit of thickening agent (like tapioca starch, kuzu, guar gum, etc). be conservative with adding these, or you’ll end up with pudding.
  14. Let your milk cool before pouring it into a bottle or other container. The milk will keep in the fridge for up to three days, so consume quickly. If your milk goes sour, you can still use it as a substitute for buttermilk in baking. once it grows black mould, throw it out (and maybe halve your recipe next time…)

And there you have it, perfect soy milk. Once you’ve done that, try some of the following:

  • mung bean milk
  • rice milk
  • oat milk
  • mixed grain milk
  • half millet, half soy
  • hazelnut milk
  • almond milk
  • half rice, half soy
  • soy milk with black sesame seeds (Korean style)

Do you have a favourite milk recipe? Do you buy commercial milks? If so, what kind is your favourite?
And does anyone out there own a soy milk maker? 

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