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Homemade Soy Milk

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All you need are two ingredients to make fresh soy milk: soybeans and water. Just soak the soybeans overnight. The blend, strain, and boil. Sweeten with honey, if desired. Serve hot, so good!

A cup of homemade soy milk, ready to drink.
Homemade soy milk, ready to drink ^_^

We've been making soy milk at home ever since I was a kid. Hot and fresh, it beats anything you can buy from the store.

Homemade Soy Milk

My mom had this cool soy milk maker (we got ours from Don Quijote, a popular Asian supermarket). We would bring it out on weekends and make soy milk together. Then we would sit down for breakfast with hot mugs of soy milk and watch morning tv.

The idea of making milk from soy beans blew my mind as a kid...and I still think it is really cool! 

Then I went to college in NYC and noticed that soy milk was a popular thing to drink (this was before the nut milk craze). I purchase a box of soy milk from my neighborhood market and realized that the soy milk on the mainland was very different from the soy milk we made at home.

I had to get my proper soy milk fix from Chinatown. (I loved the now-closed Fong Inn Too on Mott Street...what a gem). As one friend put it, there is "fresh Asian soy milk" and there is "mainland boxed soy milk."

They're both made from dried yellow soybeans, but the boxed version is diluted and often has sweeteners and additives. Fresh soy milk (also known as dou jiang) is velvety, pure, and very "whole tasting."

Soy beans and honey for making homemade soy milk.
Dried yellow soybeans (soaked in water for 12-hours) and honey.

Soy Milk In Hawaii

I've mentioned in past posts that Hawaii looooves tofu and all tofu-related products. Here tofu is never seen as a substitute. It is just it's own thing, wonderful and delicious.

We have two main tofu factories on Oahu. One is Aloha Tofu Factory (full post here) and the other is Mrs Cheng's Soy Bean Products.

They're both located near each other. We just visit Aloha Tofu Factory more frequently because they have a bigger variety (including the fried tofu skin we use to make aburaage). Both places make excellent fresh soy milk.

Mrs Cheng's offers soy milk by the pint and quart, and you can chose plain soy milk or soy milk sweetened with maple syrup. Aloha Tofu Factory offers plain soy milk by the pint, half-gallon, or gallon. 

While we make soy milk at home, we also love buying soy milk! There's nothing like stopping at the tofu factory on a hot Honolulu afternoon and getting a pint of chilled soy milk for your drive. Ahh super refreshing ^_^

Getting ready to blend together soaked soybeans with water in the VItamix.

How To Make Soy Milk

Did you know that making soy milk is super easy? Though my mom used the cool soy milk maker, the only "equipment" you really need is a blender and a nut milk bag (or cheesecloth).

Soak the soybeans in water overnight (or at least 12 hours). 

Blending together soaked soybeans with water in the VItamix.

After soaking, rinse the soybeans a few times and drain the water. Put the soybeans and fresh water into a blender.

Blend until you almost get a smooth liquid and it's all white like in the photo above.

This should take about 1-2 minutes. Maybe give the blender a break after 1 minute so that you don't overheat it.

Straining out the soy milk through a cheesecloth.
Straining out the soy milk.

Then use a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to strain the liquid into a pot.

You can do this yourself, but it's extra helpful if you have one person holding the bag and the other person pouring the liquid from the blender.

Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. What about that leftover pulp inside the nut milk bag or cheesecloth?

Leftover soybean pulp (also called okara).
Okara (soybean pulp).

The soybean pulp that's left after you strain out the soy milk is called okara. Don't throw it away. Okara is a popular ingredient. There are many delicious things you can make with it.

Think okara cookies, okara patties, etc. I'll post the recipes using okara soon.

Heading up homemade soy milk on the stove in a pot.

Bring the strained soy milk to a boil over medium high heat. 

Once it boils, skim off the foam top, and then turn the heat down to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Note: This boil and simmer step is important because you cannot eat soybeans raw. They must be cooked. This is the cooking step. 

After 15 minutes, the soy milk is ready to drink! Drink it plain or sweeten with a bit of honey, sugar, or maple syrup.

A big bag of dried soybeans
Laura Soybeans is our go-to brand for yellow soybeans.

Soybeans Are Important

Since there is only one main ingredient in this recipe, the quality of that ingredient is very important.

You want good, fresh crop, yellow soybeans.

My Soybean Pick:

There are many different places you can purchase soybeans, I buy ours from Laura Soybeans. They come in 13-pound packages which will make a lot of soy milk. I plan on also making fresh tofu from these soybeans.

Substitutions and Variations

Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Drink the soy milk plain, or sweeten it with sugar, honey, or maple syrup. 
  • If you want thicker soy milk, use less water. If you want thinner soy milk, use more water.
  • Use soy milk the way you would regular milk: blend it into smoothies, use it to make oatmeal, the possibilities are endless.
  • If you are lucky enough to get you tiao (fried Chinese crullers), dip the you tiao into a bowl of hot soy milk for a classic Chinese breakfast. 

There are so many ways to enjoy soy milk!

A cup of homemade soy milk, ready to drink.
Hot soy milk, ready to enjoy!

FAQs and Tips

Soak.

Make sure you soak the soybeans for at least 12 hours.

How long will soy milk keep?

This soy milk will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. I usually make an eight cup serving (which is double the recipe below) on the weekends. And on weekday mornings, I'll heat up two cups for my husband and myself. I just pour it into a small pot and warm slowly over low heat. 

Note: don't try to make a ton at once and freeze extra soy milk. Freezing changes the texture. It's better to make smaller, fresh portions each week.

Save the soybean pulp.

The soybean pulp (also called okara) is the pulp that's left after you strain out the soy milk. Don't throw it away ^_^ There are many delicious things you can make with it! I'll post the recipes using okara soon.

Watch the stove.

Watch the stove very carefully when you boil the strained soy milk. It can go from a slight simmer to rapid boiling over the pot super fast. This makes for lots of extra clean up work. Even after years of making soy milk, this still happens once in a while haha. 

Drink hot or cold.

You can drink soy milk hot or cold.

I prefer it hot when I drink in the morning and evenings (warm liquids are also better for your body). And I like it chilled in the afternoons. Can't go wrong either way.

Do you love black sesame?

Don't forget to also try our recipe for Black Sesame Soy Milk.

Soy Milk Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

Soy Milk

Soy Milk

Yield: 4 cups soy milk
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 35 minutes

We love making fresh soy milk on weekend mornings. Soak the soybeans overnight, blend, strain, and boil! Drink plain or sweeten with sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Enjoy hot or cold.

Ingredients

Instructions

    1. Soak the soybeans in water overnight (at least 12 hours).
    2. Rinse and drain the water.
    3. Put the soybeans and a fresh water in a blender. Blend on 'high' until the beans are completely blended (the liquid should look white). 
    4. Using a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to strain the soy milk into a pot. Bring the strained soy milk to a boil (be careful with this step as soy milk goes from not boiling to overflowing the pot very quickly!)
    5. Turn down to a simmer. Skim off the foam. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Add the honey (add more if you like sweeter). Stir to dissolve. Now it's ready to drink!

Bowls of mango pudding, ready to eat.
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