How to Make Tofu

Picture of How to Make Tofu
Tofu is great in so many recipes and easy to make. Along the way you will also make soy milk and have some okara left over. Okara is basically just bean pulp but it is great in breads, burgers, or cookies.
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Step 1: What you will need.

Picture of What you will need.
You'll need water, 3 cups of dry soy beans and 2 TBSP of Epsom Salt. As an alternative to the Epsom Salt, you may use 75ml of lemon juice. Most of the nicer grocery stores will have the soy beans and you can find Epsom Salt at the pharmacy. 

Food processor or blender, 2 large pots, 1 colander, 1 strainer, and a mesh bag. Instead of the mesh bag you could also use a few layers of cheesecloth. 

*Also note this recipe works doubled.

Step 2: Soak and Blend

Picture of Soak and Blend
Soak 3 cups of dry soy beans over night in the refrigerator. 

RInse the soaked beans and discard any discolored ones if you spot any.

Blend a little at a time with enough water to cover the beans. 

Add the processed beans to your largest pot with 12 cups of water.

Step 3: Stir and Simmer

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Stir frequently and simmer for about 20 minutes. This will foam up a bit so be careful not to let it boil over. 

Step 4: Strain Out Milk

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Strain into your second pot. Use a spoon to press out as much of the milk as you can. The liquid is soy milk. The solids are okara.

I usually take out a jar or two of soy milk at this point and continue making the rest into tofu.

Step 5: Coagulate

Picture of Coagulate
Heat the soy milk back up to around 180 degrees. 

Dissolve 2 TBSP of Epsom Salt in 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water.
(Alternatively you could use 75ml of lemon juice.)

Remove from heat and gently stir together.

In about 5 to 10 minutes the curds will separate.

Step 6: Add to Mold

Picture of Add to Mold
Your colander with a mesh bag or cloth makes an excellent mold. Skim out curds and pour into mold.

Press down with a small plate and heavy object.

Leave for about 20 minutes.
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juvylyne10 days ago
Very interesting. Would like to try it. In the beginning you mentioned 12cups of water into 3cups of dry soybeans. I calculated that it must be around 500g soybeans for around 3 liters of water. In your 2TBSP Epsom Salt, how many liters of soymilk do you turn into tofu, since you mentioned that you take out a jar or 2 for soymilk? And how many grams of tofu are made in the end?
Also, regarding the Epsom Salt, you mentioned that 75ml lemon juice can be an altrrnative. I didn't know that. Since lemon is sour, it wouldn't affect the taste of tofu, since tofu usually tastes bland? If not, I would try that alternative.
Thank you for your help.
rachael231 month ago

I have purchased a 300g bag of dried soya beans

what amount of Epsom Salt and water should I be adding? as I'm not working with 'cups'

Thanks for your help

mikeinternet (author)  rachael231 month ago
Not sure what the weight comes out to, but 3 cups is 709.765 milliliters. 700 ml of soy beans would be fine.
kindle1232 months ago

Hi, great instructions. I have some liquid calcium chloride used for cheese making- could I use that as a coagulant? if so, how much would I use for the three cups of beans? thanks for your help.

mikeinternet (author)  kindle1231 month ago
Although I have never tried it myself, it is a popular coagulant. I would say to treat like epsom salt, 2 TBSP in 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water, being sure your soy milk is heated near 180 degrees.

You might want to add half at a time to see if it starts to coagulate with less. Also if it takes more you can always add more. The extra water will just be discarded.

Hope that helps.
thanks very much, Mike. I'll let you know how it goes.
husejn2 years ago
would this recipe work with other types of beans?
mikeinternet (author)  husejn2 years ago
Honestly I have not tried it myself. I always thought bean curd and tofu were pretty much the same thing. although I have seen both written on the same menu before.

It would be great for people with soy bean allergies.

I know black beans will work (just got through eating some), I imagine any bean will . great instructable

I've seen it done with garbanzo beans.
mikeinternet (author)  trask1 year ago
We will need to give that a try. Thanks!
mguer13311 months ago

great instructable, thanks. do you think you can preserve the milk? I was thinking of canning .

mikeinternet (author)  mguer13311 months ago
Thanks. I've never tried it myself. In my experience you'll want to use the milk as soon as possible. Maybe a few days in a jar.

I have tried this great receipe for soy milk making. It works great but I let the okara-soy milk mixture boil gently for 35 min (over the wood stove). It does go over when not stirring. The final soy milk add to be desolved by at least half to be a bit more fluid. I did add a little sugar (80g for 5 liters of milk).

Thanks for this instructable!

mikeinternet (author)  mguer13310 months ago

Thanks! Glad you gave it a try and thanks for adding your tips.

acoyle21 year ago
Thank you for pointing out the Epsom salts have magnesium chloride in them. I'm never have thought of that myself.
joanna511 year ago
Soya is so good for you! Tofu is a great way to eat it.
Yay! Success! Thank you!!
Davilyn1 year ago
Nice. Less expensive that nigari. I would advise to use food grade epsom salt. Regular epsom salt from the drug store is not meant to be ingested and may have been processed with chemicals.
Just used this recipe and my tofu came out great! :)
mikeinternet (author)  thinkathena1 year ago
That is excellent to hear. In the very least this is great way of demystifying just what tofu is exactly.

Hi, I tried a different recipe yesterday, and it did not work out - no curds :( I'm happy to find yours and will give it a try. In the other recipe, it said to heat up to 150-155 for 8 mins and to use 2 teaspoons (in my case, Epson salt) for 1 1/2 cups and 5 cups of water. I barely retrieved any curds. However, I did have a lot of okara left, which I made in protein bars. :)
artxty1 year ago
Hi. Is it possible to re heat the soy milk, say i decide to make a tofu after a day, i'll just take it out of the fridge and re heat to 180 and add the epsom salt to make tofu?
mikeinternet (author)  artxty1 year ago
I have yet to try this myself. But I see no reason why it would not work. I would not wait very long however to preserve freshness.
mairvine2 years ago
Tried this with the lemon juice option and it didn't work. No curds at all. Heated the milk to 180 degrees using a thermometer, then tried it again heating it to 190 and no curds. Guess I'll try again with Epsom salts.
mikeinternet (author)  mairvine2 years ago
I usually use Epsom salt with great results. Hope you have better luck next go.
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Tried it. Didn't work, my soy milk never curdled! So bummed but I'll follow the recipe next time and just use water. For my next batch: If I don't take any soy milk out do I need to use more Epsom salt?
2nd failed attempt! My soy milk never curdled, just separated into a bottom cloudy layer and top water layer. If these are Russ they are so small they pass through the strainer. It looked closer to curdles before I took out the okara. I feel it must be one of 3 reasons, could anyone confirm? 1. I forgot to refrigerate the soaking beans 2. could I have blended the beans too much? 3. I let my puréed beans boil,is that too much heat?
mikeinternet (author)  Joyfulgirl342 years ago
Are you still experimenting with spices?

I don't think any of those are the cause actually. It is best to refrigerate the beans when they soak but mainly to keep them fresh. The more blended the better. And When you are bringing the blended beans and water to a simmer, reaching a boil is common and not a problem.

I would suggest to double check that your soy milk was heated back up to 180 degrees when you added your coagulant. This was a huge problem we had at the beginning. Also you may want to try a little more coagulant if it is still not working.

Good luck.
mikeinternet (author)  Joyfulgirl342 years ago
We have experimented once with this. We added some curry powder to the soy milk before coagulating. It did seem to negatively effect the process but we were left with curry flavored tofu. Although we felt it was not as good as just spicing when you cook it or marinating.
Magnulus4 years ago
As someone who prefers to make his food from scratch, I'm looking forward to trying this. One question, though:

What kind of texture of tofu do you get from this? From looking at it, it looks quite firm and solid, which is what I want. I'm new to tofu, and the stuff I get in the supermarket tends to be way too crumbly for my liking.
mikeinternet (author)  Magnulus4 years ago
20 minutes in the mold makes very firm tofu. For softer tofu don't let it sit in the mold as long, maybe 5 minutes.
My tofu came out crumbly and did not set into a firm 'brick' like I'm used to buying from the market, is this normal or did I do something wrong?
mikeinternet (author)  rgarkey2 years ago
During my first few attempts at this I had a similar problem. When adding the coagulate you need to be sure the soy milk is heated back up to 180 degrees. This was what I was doing wrong and now that I check it with a thermometer I have never had any problems.
vreinkymov2 years ago
Thank you for posting this. Two things I found out in the process:

#1: Calcium Chloride as Coagulant - Works:

I had an old one-time-use chemical dehumidifier that I purchased at the dollar store. The granules are made up of Calcium Chloride and absorb moisture. In the process, other stuff gets absorbed as well, so I dissolved the remaining salt in water and boiled it to get more pure calcium chloride. Afterwards, I used this to make tofu.

#2: Nigari - How it's Made:

Nigari is the traditional coagulant used to make tofu, other than Gypsum. It's made by letting seawater evaporate to the point that salt crystals start forming. These leftover liquid is nigari. You can find a more thorough overview of it here:
mikeinternet (author)  vreinkymov2 years ago
Thanks for this comment. Now you have me wanting to make my own nigari. And in the process sea salt. Very cool.
Owlherder2 years ago
Thank you for making this Instructable. I've been making tofu this way for years. My brother made me some 4 sided wooden molds (no top and no bottom) made so that the resulting block of tofu will fit nicely into my Tupperware storage container, close in size to store-bought tofu blocks.

Set mold into a pan to catch the drainage, line the sides and bottom with strips of muslin, pour in the curds, place small block of wood on top (cut to fit inside the mold frame) and a couple of cans of food from the pantry on top of the wood block.

I just store my molds, muslin strips, home made straining bag all in my large canning pot in the garage. Everything is all together when I'm ready to make tofu.
piggie12302 years ago
Do you ever save the drained milk? I imagine that it would be salty, but if you make it with lemon juice ... my braid keeps saying this should be very much like butter milk since it is essentially the same thing.
mikeinternet (author)  piggie12302 years ago
The liquid that drains out of the mold is pretty much just water. It may be a bit cloudy if the tofu didn't coagulate perfectly but I don't believe it to be of any use.
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