How is TOFU made?
Every stage of production plays an important role. High-quality soybeans are essential. It’s a well-known fact that it’s impossible to make tofu with poor quality soybeans.
How is tofu made?
- First of all, the soybeans are thoroughly rinsed until the water is completely clean.
- Then the soybeans are soaked and allowed to swell.
- The water ratio and soaking time are important and precise.
- After the beans swell as needed, it’s time for blending – the beans are blended with the water to a very fine purée.
- The resulting purée is cooked under pressure at a temperature of more than 100 °C, thereby partially eliminating the soy taste that some find unpleasant.
- The cooked purée is pressed through a sieve, resulting in soy “milk”, i.e. material for making tofu, and okara, which is waste in this case. (Okara is pulp, the insoluble part of the soybean that can be used in various recipes. However, most of the world’s production is used for livestock feed or as a high-quality nitrogen fertilizer).
- Now the soy milk needs to be coagulated. There are multiple means that can be used as a coagulant: at home, vinegar, lemon and salt can be used, and calcium salts or the traditional nigari are used on an industrial scale. Nigari is a mixture of minerals and salt obtained by evaporation of sea water, and it gives tofu a typical slightly bitter flavor characteristic of Japanese tofu.
- The coagulated soy milk, now tofu, is then pressed to allow excess water to flow out. At this stage natural tofu is generally finished, but we dry our tofu further to make it stiffer and to allow easy slicing and grating. Then it is vacuum packed and sterilized. Smoked tofu is dried longer to make it truly compact and stiff and to prevent crumbling during preparation (this is why the nutritional values of smoked tofu are different from those of natural tofu, it is simply more concentrated). This tofu gets its spicy flavor from marinating in soy sauce. It is then sprayed with pollutant-free smoke in a special chamber.
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