How to Make Tofu – Easy Homemade Tofu Recipe

Nowadays, tofu is an essential food in many people’s lives, especially for vegetarians. Tofu is rich in protein, similar to beef, making it an important alternative source of nutrition. Besides buying tofu at the store, we can also make tofu at home. Let’s learn how to make tofu with my easy homemade tofu recipe.

how to make homemade tofu

Ingredients for Homemade Tofu

The ingredients for making tofu at home are quite simple, consisting of soy milk and a coagulant. From soybeans, we’ll make fresh soy milk, then add a coagulant to the milk to get tofu. Although it seems really simple, there are points you should pay attention to. You must use fresh, raw soy milk. Soy milk bought from supermarkets can’t be used to make tofu because there are several preservatives and stabilizers to extend the shelf life of soy milk. However, these additives prevent the protein and fat in soy milk from coagulating to become tofu. Therefore, we have two options: either buy raw, fresh soy milk from Asian stores (if available) or make soy milk at home. I prefer homemade soy milk as I can assure myself that there are no additives in my soy milk, guaranteeing a success rate of 100%. For homemade soy milk, prepare soybeans and water.

Homemade Soy Milk
You must use raw, fresh soy milk to make tofu.

How to Select the Best Soybeans

When choosing dried soybeans, it’s crucial to check for signs of mold because dried beans are susceptible to mold. Select beans with a consistent color and smooth skin. Observe carefully for signs of mold on the outside of the beans. Regarding their hue, good soybeans generally have a yellow or light beige tone. Remove soybeans that present a dark or grey color, as it’s a sign of old, damaged beans.

Popular Tofu Coagulants

Tofu coagulation is a process where soy milk is transformed into tofu. When a coagulant like calcium sulfate or magnesium chloride is added to hot soy milk, it changes the pH balance. This causes the proteins and fats in the soy milk to coalesce into curds. The type of coagulant used can affect the texture and taste of the final tofu product. This process is a key aspect of transforming soy milk into the solid form of tofu.

  • Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum): This coagulant produces smooth and tender tofu. It provides the best texture; however, consuming too much gypsum can cause kidney stones.
  • Magnesium Chloride (Nigari): Nigari tends to create firmer, slightly grainier tofu. Nigari can add a slight bitterness to tofu but is safe for our health.
nigari salt
Nigari Salt
  • Lemon Juice or Vinegar: These acidic coagulants produce a softer, less smooth tofu with a tangier flavor. They are always available in every household, but the texture and taste might not be as good as gypsum and nigari. In short, the choice of coagulant greatly influences the final texture and taste profile of the tofu. In my opinion, I choose Nigari because with a small amount, the tofu is not bitter at all, and most importantly, it’s safe for our health.

Homemade Tofu Recipe

Here’s the exact amount of each ingredient to make tofu at home:

  • 1 liter (33.8 fl oz) raw soy milk or 200g (7oz) dried soybeans and 1 liter (33.8 fl oz) water to make 1 liter of raw soy milk.
  • Nigari: 1/3 teaspoon (2 grams) + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 tablespoon of water
  • Or Gypsum: 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) + 1 tablespoon of water
  • Or Lime/Lemon Juice: 1.5 tablespoons lime/lemon juice
  • Or Vinegar: 1 teaspoon of vinegar 5% + 1/4 teaspoon salt

How to Make Tofu at Home

Step 1. Making Soy Milk from Soybeans

  • Wash and soak soybeans for at least 6-8 hours.
  • Peel the skin of soybeans (optional).
  • Blend/grind soybeans with a blender, juicer, or slow juicer.
  • Filter soybeans to remove remaining soy residues. For more detail, check my instructions on making soy milk at home.
homemade soy milk
Filter soy milk after blending/grinding.

Step 2. Adding Nigari/Gypsum/Lemon Juice

  • Before adding the coagulant into the milk, you should weigh the milk again to get the exact amount of coagulant. Per 1 liter of soy milk, you’ll need 1/3 tsp (2g) nigari or ¬Ω tsp (3g) or 1 tsp vinegar 5% or 1.5 tbsp lime/lemon juice.
  • In a large pot (use the largest pot you have), add raw soy milk and start heating it up on medium heat. While waiting, prepare the coagulant mixture, following the recipe above. For 1 liter of soy milk, if you use nigari, mix 1/3 tsp of nigari with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of water. With gypsum, mix 1/2 tsp of gypsum with 1 tbsp of water; with vinegar 5%, mix 1 tsp of vinegar and 1/4 tsp of salt. Using lime/lemon juice is easier; you’ll squeeze fresh lime/lemon to take 1.5 tbsp of juice. However, don’t use bottled lemon juice as there are preservatives that can affect the coagulation process. Cover and wait for 2-3 minutes for the soybeans to coagulate completely.
how to make tofu

Step 3. Pressing Tofu

  • While waiting, prepare the tofu mold. You should use a specialized mold for tofu. Line the tofu mold with thin fabric (e.g., cheesecloth). Once the soybeans have coagulated, pour the entire mixture into the tofu mold and place it on the sink because water from tofu will drain out. Then, cover the top of your tofu with another layer of fabric and place the mold’s lid on.
  • Finally, place a heavy object (for example, a cup of water) on the lid to press the tofu. To adjust the firmness of the tofu, you can increase or decrease the weight of the object. Wait for 15 minutes.
homemade tofu

Step 4. Removing the Mold

  • After 15 minutes, you can remove tofu from its mold. Gently lift the mold’s lid and flip the mold onto a plate/cutting board to release the tofu.
  • With homemade tofu, you can cut it into cubes to fry or make any delicious dish you like. Homemade tofu is usually softer than store-bought tofu. You can see the texture of tofu made from nigari in the image below.
homemade tofu
how to make homemade tofu

Homemade Tofu (with detailed images)

Yield: 250g
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Besides buying tofu at the store, we can also make tofu at home. Let's learn how to make tofu with my easy homemade tofu recipe.

Ingredients

Soy Milk

Coagulant

Instructions

Step 1. Making Soy Milk from Soybeans

  • Wash and soak soybeans for at least 6-8 hours. Peel the skin of soybeans (optional). Then, Blend/grind soybeans with a blender, juicer, or slow juicer. Finally, filter soybeans to remove remaining soy residues. For more detail, check my instructions on making soy milk at home.homemade soy milk

Step 2. Adding Nigari/Gypsum/Lemon Juice

  • Before adding the coagulant into the milk, you should weigh the milk again to get the exact amount of coagulant. Per 1 liter of soy milk, you'll need 1/3 tsp (2g) nigari or 1/2 tsp (3g) or 1 tsp vinegar 5% or 1.5 tbsp lime/lemon juice. In a large pot (use the largest pot you have), add raw soy milk and start heating it up on medium heat.homemade soy milk
  • While waiting, prepare the coagulant mixture, following the recipe above. For 1 liter of soy milk, if you use nigari, mix 1/3 tsp of nigari with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of water. With gypsum, mix 1/2 tsp of gypsum with 1 tbsp of water; with vinegar 5%, mix 1 tsp of vinegar and 1/4 tsp of salt. Using lime/lemon juice is easier; you'll squeeze fresh lime/lemon to take 1.5 tbsp of juice. However, don't use bottled lemon juice as there are preservatives that can affect the coagulation process. Cover and wait for 2-3 minutes for the soybeans to coagulate completely.how to make tofu

Step 3. Pressing Tofu

  • While waiting, prepare the tofu mold. You should use a specialized mold for tofu. Line the tofu mold with thin fabric (e.g., cheesecloth). Once the soybeans have coagulated, pour the entire mixture into the tofu mold and place it on the sink because water from tofu will drain out. Then, cover the top of your tofu with another layer of fabric and place the mold's lid on.homemade tofu
  • Finally, place a heavy object (for example, a cup of water) on the lid to press the tofu. To adjust the firmness of the tofu, you can increase or decrease the weight of the object. Wait for 15 minutes.homemade tofu

Step 4. Removing the Mold

  • After 15 minutes, you can remove tofu from its mold. Gently lift the mold's lid and flip the mold onto a plate/cutting board to release the tofu.homemade tofu
  • With homemade tofu, you can cut it into cubes to fry or make any delicious dish you like. Homemade tofu is usually softer than store-bought tofu. You can see the texture of tofu made from nigari in the image below.homemade tofu
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 125g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 6gProtein: 10g

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