'Soy' easy ... or is it?
When one of my roommates brought a soy milk machine from her parents’ house, I was shocked to see that such a machine even existed. I usually don't like soy milk, so I never thought about how it was made. Okay, I lied. I do drink soy milk, but only in one way: ice-cold, vanilla-flavored and mixed in with instant coffee powder. On average, I buy a pack of two half-gallon cartons every other week just so I can drink this every day at work — believe me, I love my coffee-flavored soy milk! When the soy milk maker sat in my kitchen for a total of six months, I decided it was finally time to take a shot at making my very own soy milk.
The challenge (for me at least) was to figure out how to make my soy milk taste like the vanilla one I buy in the supermarket. I looked up countless recipes and how-to videos, only to reach the conclusion that it is nearly impossible to achieve the same taste. However, I figured I should still attempt to make my own since it's cheaper than buying it and healthier since it has no preservatives.
From what I’ve seen, these are the basic directions:
- Soak the beans in water for about 8-10 hours.
- Grind up the beans in a blender.
- Cook the pulp in water.
- Strain with a cheesecloth.
- Flavor or sweeten as desired.
- Removing the skins that cover each bean results in a less “beany” taste. However, this is difficult and time-consuming.
- You can also add in some rice or oats to reduce the “beany” taste.
- This same process can be used for nuts instead of soy beans to make other milks, such as almond milk.
- Flavor the milk with pandan leaves or extracts such as vanilla. You can also try instant coffee powder (yum).
- Sweeten the milk with sugar, honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup.
- Save the soy bean pulp! It’s called “okara” and can be used to bulk up foods such as chili and casserole.
So how did my soy milk turn out? Well, it was pretty troublesome taking off the soy bean skins, but now that I have a lot of leftover soaked and peeled soy beans, it should be easier to make the next few batches. Taste-wise, it’s slightly beany, and less sweet and thinner than store-bought soy milk. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results — my healthy drink just got healthier, and my wallet lighter!
Photos by Tammy Hui