Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Great Soymilk Challenge, Part 1

Friends, my SoyQuick Premier Milk Maker 930P has arrived! You may recall that a little while back when I was in a really bad mood, I was dissing some of the commercial soymilk brands for this reason or that. I haven't tried them all, and I actually do like several of them, but they are expensive, and some have awful perfumey flavours, and sometimes the milk separates from whatever the heck they put in it to thicken it so you get really unappetizing-looking "flakes", and so on. I've owned a SoyQuick SDZ-5 for a few years now, and while the soymilk it will make tastes okay by itself, in smoothies, and in cooking of all kinds, you're limited as to the amount of beans you can add to the liquid by the size of the filter cup. This is a filter cup, for all you non-SoyQuick-owners who listen bewildered to those of us who own these machines whining about how little it holds, how hard it is to clean, etc.:



It is hard to clean--and you do have to clean it well after each batch--but that's not my main complaint. I understood that there was a hard-to-clean filter when I purchased the machine. My problem was that, in my opinion, the milk is too thin for making into lattes.

Apart from that, it's an excellent product, and still works perfectly. I'll be sorry to retire it! Anyway, I'd been making my own soymilk for cooking and smoothies, and buying commercial soymilk for lattes and tea. Now I've got this new machine with no filter cup to which you can add significantly more beans and other stuff, so there are no excuses for not developing a soymilk I like better than the commercial brands, if I can. And that's my soymilk story.

So, in the image at the top of this post you see the box it came in and all the stuff that came with it. There's a book with many recipes not only for soymilks, but for nut milks and mung bean milks for, presumably, the soy-allergic or the curious.

I ordered mine direct from the manufacturer's site linked to at the top of this post, and heartily recommend them. They threw in free shipping, and the box arrived within three business days of my placing my order. They ship from locations in both the US and Canada. My 930P cost Cdn$199.95; however, considering that two litres of commercial soymilk now go for about $5.00 and that soybeans cost practically nothing, it's not going to take forever for it to pay for itself.

If you want really detailed instructions on making soymilk with this machine, I'll direct you over to Bryanna Clark Grogan's website. I'm using several of her tips. My intention was to start with the awesome-sounding recipe Julie Hasson demonstrates on the SoyQuick website, but I haven't been able to locate the dang barley malt powder and had to order it from an online source (more on that when I receive it). So instead I'm starting from Bryanna's recipe, which I changed very slightly. What I did, in simple steps, is:

1. Soak two of the little cups (that come with the maker) of raw soybeans for at least 8-10 hours or up to five days in the refrigerator.

2. Fill a large bowl with warm water, add the soy beans, and rub or pinch off the bean skins, which are (supposedly; I have my doubts but am keeping them mostly to myself until I've tested it) what give soymilk a "beany" flavour; the bean skins will float off when you pour the water out of the bowl. Normally I don't do this step, but I wanted to give the maker every possible chance this first time. The procedure is not hard, but it takes a while, and is a pain. I found I did best just rubbing my hands together hard with beans in between, and also that unless you want to pinch the skin off each one individually, the beans have to be broken up before the skins will come off. Luckily, they're going to be ground to paste anyway, so that doesn't matter.

3. Fill the metal jug to the Min level with cool water, add the soybeans plus 3 tbsp oatmeal, place the top of the maker firmly over the jug, plug it in, and press the Soymilk button. The machine will grind and repeatedly heat the milk for about 15-20 minutes and beep when it's done.

4. Since there's no filter cup, the okara (ground up soybeans) is dispersed throughout the milk. You need to filter it out. I wait about 20 minutes for the milk to cool before I do this, so that (a) there's less chance of burning myself; and (b) a lot of the okara settles to the bottom of the jug, making the straining process easier. The manufacturer has provided a sieve and plastic jug for this purpose, which is nice, but the sieve holes let in a little too much okara for my taste. This time what I ended up doing was using the sieve, then re-straining through a gold coffee filter, then letting the okara cool and squeezing the residual milk out of it through a cloth. Bryanna has cleverly purchased a jelly strainer which would let you accomplish all those steps in one. I think I will too, because I made quite a mess with the straining.

5. To the strained soymilk, add 2 or 3 tbsp sugar, and 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to your taste; Bryanna likes 3 tbsp but I was happy with just 2). This is for "plain" soymilk, for drinking or lattes. You're not adding enough sugar to make it really sweet, just to give it a little more of the "milky" taste (cows' milk is sweet too, right?). Of course, you can add any other flavourings you wish at this point, depending on your intentions for this milk.

So...how was it? Not bad at all! The extra soybeans make it nicely thick and creamy, and the oatmeal gives it a sweetish-oatmeal flavour that's quite pleasant. I would use less oatmeal if I were making the soymilk to drink plain or cook with, but for coffee/tea you need body, and 3 tbsp delivers.

The downside: twice the beans = twice the okara. That is going to be a challenge. Though, I'm thinking that okara minus the bean skins will be a lot less fibrous and more versatile to cook with. Stay tuned...

I'm still eager to try other recipes, though, and will report back on them as I do. Recipes, tips, and tricks from other users out there would be most welcome!

4 comments:

  1. I have, in the past, considered buying one of these machines, but I worry that after the initial novelty wears off, it will seem like too much trouble to make and strain the soymilk. We use about 1/2 gallon of soymilk in two weeks, which may not be enough to warrant the purchase. I'll stay tuned to see how you like this machine.

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  2. I bought a "soyabella" last month, I love this machines even if it has a filter like your old soyquick.
    I saw a blog specially for okara, maybe it'll interest you (Argh, sorry for my very bad english)
    http://okaraproject.blogspot.com

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  3. Dear lord, that sounds like a full-time job.

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  4. Hi, fourmi. Thanks for the link. If I continue with this challenge, I'm going to need all the okara-related help I can get!

    Stacy, at the moment it sounds like a full time job to me too! I'm hoping I can develop some sort of subroutine and work it painlessly into my schedule, but we'll see how it goes...that said, it's the day after and I still have no regrets ;-)

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