No 'store-made' bread can cross the threshold, we've got an allotment, Anne has been carrying out semi-industrial scale baking, I've been brewing my own beer (which helps to explain why I've been distracting from the food blog) and now, I decided this morning to have a bash at making my own tofu.
Making our own tofu stacks up. We go through a lot of it as a vegan/veggie household but just as importantly if we are to fully evolve in to Tom & Barbara from the Good Life in an 'homage' to Richard Briers then clearly we need to pull off the magic transformation of dried soya beans into a quivering block of lovely bean curd.
Anyway, Making the stuff! Dead easy. In terms of equipment, ready yourself with the following:
Large (5-10 litre) cooking pot
Muslin fabric or bags
A large colander or sieve
and… (drum roll)… a tofu press!
Now on the last bit, the press, having a proper tofu press is the posh option, I however made do with a oblong piece of tupperware with some holes drilled in it and a piece of wood cut to the same size as the tupperware's opening. The drilled holes should be right across the bottom and in a line just around the four bottom edges. And to drain the contraption I used a couple of chopsticks. Seemed appropriate.
The other critical bit is having a coagulant. This is a substance that separates the soya milk you're about to make into curds and whey, just like making cheese. Traditionally you need to use an extract of sea salt called Nigari - but you can also use Epsom Salts or even apple cider or lemon juice. I used Epsom Salts this morning.
So the ingredients look like this, to make a good sized (one meal) serving of tofu:
400g dried soya beans
2.5 tsp Epsom salts
… and a fair bit of water
Soak the dried soya beans overnight in around double their own volume of water. By the morning they'll have expanded dramatically. Blend them in their soaking water as fine as you can.
Now rinse out that big pot you've been using. Add the soya milk and bring up to around 85-90 degrees - just below boiling point. Dissolve the epsom salts in a cup of boiling water.
When the soya milk is up to temp remove from the heat and stir in half the dissolved salts solution. Stir in a whirlpool vigorously for 5-10 times then stand your spatula in the middle of the pot and wait for the turbulence to stop. Then gently add the rest of the salts and stir in gently until the mixture starts to coagulate. Pop a lid on it and leave for 15 minutes.
When you're done pressing, fold out of the cloth and eat – or store in a sealed container in the fridge in a little water until needed.