Wednesday 15 December 2010

Making our own deliciously fresh Soy Milk!

If you have ever tried Chinese style soy milk (豆漿: dòu jiāng), then you probably would have come to the conclusion that it tastes somewhat different to the mainstream brands of soy milk that are sold in most supermarkets.  Have you ever wondered just how soy milk is made and what actually goes into it?

Well, this week we decided to make traditional soy milk at home.  The result?  Deliciously fresh soy milk free from artificial flavouring, additives and preservatives made from just two ingredients, soy beans and water.

What's the difference in taste between Chinese style soy milk and Western style soy milk?

Chinese style soy milk:
  • is of a thinner consistency and not as creamy as the mainstream supermarket brands which typically have had thickening agents added to them to emulate cows milk
  • has more of a beany-nutty flavour which is actually preferred by the Chinese; there are usually no additional flavourings added to mask this flavour
  • is generally not fortified with additional vitamins or minerals

The Chinese serve soy milk either hot or cold, unsweetened or sweetened with syrup.  A popular way to have it is with a deep fried pastry which is dunked into a bowl of hot soy milk before being gobbled up.

Making Fresh Soy Milk - with a Chinese Dessert/ Soy Milk Maker

Traditionally, Chinese people would make fresh milk by grinding soaked beans, boiling and then pressing and filtering it through a muslin cloth.

However, with the advent of technology, this process is now simplified with the use of an appliance called a Chinese Dessert Master.  This machine is similar to a Soy Milk Maker and effectively (and very conveniently) grinds, boils and filters everything from beans to nuts and seeds with the press of a button.

We are using one manufactured by Giabo.

(L) Chinese Dessert/Soy milk maker from Giabo (R) Soaked beans inside mesh cup

Makes approximately 1400ml soy milk
140g soy beans*
1400ml water

Soak the soy beans in water overnight (approximately 12 hours).

Drain them and place the beans into the mesh cup of the machine.  Add the water to the machine and turn on the machine (selecting the soy milk programme).  The process takes 30 minutes to complete.

At the end of the programme, you simply lift up the mesh cup and voila! you will find the extracted and filtered soy milk!  The soy milk will be warm when it comes out of the machine, and you will find the bean pulp retained inside the mesh cup.

(L) The mesh cup filters out the bean pulp (R) Fresh semi-creamy soy milk - beautiful!

I drink fresh soy milk with no added sugar and served ice cold for a refreshing beverage during the summer heat.  The unique beany taste appeals to me, but some may find it more palatable by adding sugar syrup or natural flavouring such as vanilla. 

* Whole soy beans can be bought from most Asian supermarkets

Have you been tried making soy milk or other types of milk from nuts or rice? Let us know what your experience was.

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