Mastering tofu (well, as much as a little grasshopper can master a 2,000-year-old practice) has been my highlight of 2020. It’s all the more exciting because I failed so many times, and when I realized what was hindering my success, it was like a dam breaking. I’ve never looked back and now make tofu successfully a couple times a week.
Is it worth making tofu at home? ABSOLUTELY!
- Homemade tofu is so much less expensive than store-bought
- Homemade tofu eliminates plastic packaging (i.e. zero waste / low waste)
- Homemade tofu tastes absolutely scrumptious!
Now that my live Homemade Tofu cooking class is available as an On-Demand class (full video and recipe/instructions), I thought it would be helpful to share the basic “equipment” needed to make your own tofu at home. As you’ll see, I mention a couple things you probably already have on hand, but there are some things that will be new to you.
Tofu Mold: As for the tofu mold, I prefer a wooden tofu mold, which I’ve had for years, but when I looked for one to refer you to, I found it difficult to find one that wasn’t part of a tofu-making kit. However, considering the fact that the kits provide you with everything you need, it may be worth it in the end. The two kits I recommend are:
- SoyaJoy Tofu Kit with Wooden Mold, Nigari, and Cheesecloth
- Yamako Tofu Kit with Wooden Mold, Nigari, and Cheesecloth
Because I wanted to ease you into the homemade tofu-making process, I also wanted to find an option for you to use a mold you may already have on hand without having to buy one just yet. While a “colander” would work (as some blogs suggest), you need more than just a colander…you need a colander/strainer that will also act as a mold (usually square but any shape will do). So, two options to consider:
- A plastic tupperware container you punch / drill holes into the bottom of.
- A small plastic basket — like those that strawberries come in. The fruit basket is actually the perfect size, and it creates / presses a pretty little design into the tofu block once it’s finished pressing.
Cheese Cloth: Whatever mold you use, you still need a cheesecloth, though, so just purchase some at a store near you, or buy some online; here’s one I like — it’s unbleached, you can cut it into whatever size you need, and you can wash it and use it again and again and again. And I do.
Nigari: As for the nigari, as I mentioned, it can be purchased in crystal or liquid form and can be found at most Japanese or Asian grocery stores, or you can order online here (in crystal form) or here (in liquid form). FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve used only the crystalized nigari that I dilute in water, and while it comes in a plastic bag, the amount of plastic waste you avoid using by making your own tofu makes up for it a hundred fold. (For instance, 1 pound of crystallized nigari makes about 240 pounds of tofu!) HOWEVER, I *am* curious about using liquid nigari, and since the one I recommend comes in a glass bottle, it would be even less plastic waste. I just haven’t tried it yet. What I use at the present time is nigari salts that I dissolve in water.
Kitchen / Candy Thermometer: I mention below that this is not required, but I like to know I’m at the right temperature when adding my coagulant, so I use a simple thermometer to do so. Here is the one I have.
The main thing I learned in terms of successfully making tofu was that the soy milk has to be made … from scratch. I mean…you definitely can’t use store-bought commercial soy milk and try to make tofu, but my failed attempts at making tofu also came from using soy milk I made in my favorite soy milk maker. I still use that soy milk maker just for making soy milk for daily use, but for making tofu, you have to do it without a machine.
If you missed the live class, fear not! You can get the video with full instructions and demo by purchasing the On-Demand class for only $9.99!