Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Great Soymilk Challenge, Part 2

So, how's it going with that soymilk, I'm sure you are all simply waiting with bated breath to know.

Well, since my last post on the subject, I have made a few--let's say several--batches of soymilk, and have honed my recipes and method somewhat. Bear in mind that I am still awaiting receipt of the barley malt powder I ordered, so I haven't discounted this fascinating-looking recipe: I'm just waiting for all the ingredients to make it.

Just as a reminder, I have recently purchased a SoyQuick Premier Milk Maker 930P and am trying to replace the commercial soy milk I used to buy for a homemade product that tastes just as good, or, if possible, better.

So far, I am, quite honestly, thrilled with the taste results, and with the machine. Cleanup takes literally less than a minute. However, because this machine has no filter cup, you have to filter the okara out. The recipes I am using yield approximately 1 1/2 cups of okara, filtered and squeezed out as dry as I can do it through a cloth.

Last time, I had thought that Bryanna Clark Grogan's idea of using a jelly strainer might be the best solution. After searching in vain for one in various stores, I finally gave in and searched my basement and found not one, not two, but three of them, from my jelly-making days. Who knew? So I tried it:

But no. It sounds like a fantastic idea, but really it isn't. Whyever not?

1. The milk doesn't just drain out of the bag by itself. It clogs up the little pores and you have to stir it, just as you do with metal mesh strainers. Look how precariously the strainer clings to the jar! Imagine the horror of toppling boiling hot okara over your kitchen, yourself!

2. The holes in the jelly bag are too big. If you squeeze it, okara comes out. You'd need to re-strain the okara through a finer cloth anyway.

My solution is at the top of this post, a quadruple-straining process that is far more onerous to imagine than to do. You strain it through a wide mesh sieve, then through the medium sieve that comes with the maker, then through a gold-filter coffee strainer. Then, once it's cool enough, you squeeze the okara through a cloth. Just strain back and forth from the maker (with the wide mesh sieve) to the plastic jug that comes with it, from the plastic jug (with the medium sieve) back into the rinsed-out maker, and from the maker either back into the plastic jug or (as I do) directly into the container you're going to store the milk in (through the gold filter). The filters take just seconds to wash. This is the okara that comes out of the first, coarse filter, strain. There is nearly a cup of it:

On to recipes. My favorite so far:

2 cups soy beans
1 cup chopped dates
2 tbsp oatmeal

Then flavoured with 1 tbsp sugar (if I feel it needs it) and 1/2 tsp salt.

Bear in mind that right now I am concentrating on soy milk for adding to coffee and tea, so this is very thick, rich milk. If I were making it for drinking plain, I would use less oatmeal; probably 1 1/2 tbsp would be perfect.

Yesterday at the Italian Centre, I bought this:

Ooh, I was so excited! This date syrup has approximately the look and texture of molasses, but tastes very date-like. I'd been using fresh dates and wondered what this would be like. So tonight I made this recipe:

2 cups soy beans
3 tbsp oatmeal

Flavoured with 2 tbsp date syrup and 1/2 tsp salt.

The milk was darker than that made with fresh dates, but it tasted fine. It did, however, separate alarmingly in the fridge after about half an hour. I thought it was ruined, but it stirred up okay. (Do NOT, by the way, try to use barley malt syrup as a flavouring, or your milk will separate permanently. I am trusting Julie Hasson that the barley malt powder won't do this.)

On edit: it separated again in coffee, just like barley malt syrup. Gross! Never, never again.

Conclusion: I'm going to stick with the fresh dates.

I've been making 2-3 batches of soymilk per week. This means 3-4 1/2 cups of okara per week. Good gracious!


  1. I suppose you'll just have to pour the date syrup onto some pancakes. Or into oatmeal. Or make some cookies!

    The soymilk really does sound like a lot of work, though I realize sometimes these things aren't as bad as they sound. I guess I'll keep buying mine at the store. For now.

  2. It's so cool that you make your own soy milk. And thanks for the picture of the okara...I've seen the recipes using it, but always had to imagine what it might look like as I had never seen it before.

    The date syrup sounds wonderful; and even though it didn't work out with the soy milk, I'm sure you'll come up with many other marvelous uses for it.

  3. Andrea, right now I'm having a lot of fun, and surprisingly my quadruple straining method isn't as stressful or as messy as washing the old filter cup and machine. And I do swear that the taste of some of these milks is at least equal to and sometimes superior to the best commercial soymilk I've tried. But not so superior that if you like the taste of the commercial ones you should rush out and buy one of these machines.

    I had to of course make yet another batch last night so I could have coffee this morning, and tried it for the first time in the new machine leaving the skins on the beans. Too bad, it wasn't awful, but it certainly wasn't as good, as regards texture or taste. Oh, well!

    Rose, I already have plans for that date syrup!

  4. I think that kind of thick milk will be perfect to make your own yoghurts, don't you ?
    As you know, my maker does not allow so much soy in the milk, and that's a shame for the yoghurts I make.

  5. Hi, fourmi:
    I bet you're right about the yoghurt. I should try it...

  6. Alright, it's official: the gauntlet has been dropped. We have no excuse for not making our own soymilk. Every time I look in the cupboard and see our gleaming new--unused--soymilk maker, then look in our recycling and see that it's half soymilk/creamer, I'm ashamed. Now we've got not only trustworthy testimonial, but recipes. Thanks for posting this and reminding me to get on the homemade soymilk bandwagon!