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How to Make Tofu

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Tofu: fluffy vegetable protein


If you love Japanese food, you've probably eaten your fair share of tofu. Tofu, made from soybeans, is a rich source of plant-based protein, making it an excellent alternative source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Its neutral flavor allows tofu to absorb the tastes of various seasonings and marinades, making it a versatile ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes. Additionally, tofu is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy option. With its ability to contribute to a balanced diet, support dietary preferences, and serve as a protein-packed foundation for diverse culinary creations, people choose to include tofu regularly for its nutritional benefits and adaptability in various cuisines.

In this article, we'll teach you how to make a standard silken tofu using the Yamacoh Wooden Tofu Maker Kit.


Soybeans and items for making tofu


First, gather the following items:

  1. Yamacoh Wooden Tofu Maker Kit, 1
  2. Soybeans, 2 cups
  3. Nigari, one bag (12.5ml)
  4. Kitchen thermometer, 1
  5. Cheesecloth bag, 1
  6. Cheesecloth, 1
  7. Sieve
  8. Blender
  9. Ladle
  10. Large bowl
  11. Measuring cup (or a nice rock)
  12. Spatula
  13. Metal tray or baking sheet

The Yamacoh Wooden Tofu Maker needs some preparation before first use.

Soak in vinegar water

Soaking the wooden tofu maker in vinegar water

First, place the maker in a bowl. Add water and a little bit of vinegar. Let soak for 2-3 hours.

Dry thoroughly

After soaking, dry it off with a towel and then let it air dry thoroughly.

Don't worry about the sap

Some sap or resin may come out of the wood after doing the above preparations. The sap won't cause you any problems, but if it bothers you, you can use sandpaper or ethanol to remove it.

Clean and dry soon after use

After using the tofu maker, clean and dry thoroughly immediately to prevent mold from forming.

Now that your tofu maker is ready, you can begin cooking.

Soak the soybeans

Soaking soybeans in water Soybean before and after soaking in water

Pour 6 cups of water in a large bowl, then pour the 2 cups of soybeans in the bowl. Soak from 8-20 hours, depending on ambient temperature.

Blend the soybeans

Blending soybeans ”Blended

Once the soybeans have soaked and are between 2-2.5 times their original size, blend them until you have a somewhat thick soybean smoothy.

Add blended soybeans to bowling water

Boiling water Pouring soybean smoothie into boiling water Soybean smoothie after heating

In a large pot, boil some water and then pour the soybean smoothy into the boiling water. Set heat to low and simmer the mixture for about 8 minutes.

Drain soybean milk

Pouring soybean smoothie into cheesecloth and draining into bowl Squeezing ground soybeans with chopsticks Squeezing ground soybeans with chopsticks Squeezing ground soybeans with chopsticks Soybean grounds Soybean grounds Soybean milk

Place a cheesecloth bag in a sieve, then place the sieve and bag over a large bowl.

Pour the soybean grounds and milk into the cheese cloth bag to separate the milk from the grounds. Carefully close the bag and then--first using chopsticks and then later using your hands--squeeze the bag to drain the milk from the grounds. When squeezing with your hands, I recommend wearing some hand protection, but if you don't have any, take frequent breaks to place your hands under cold running water.

Add Nigari to soybean milk

Heating soybean milk Transferring milk to bowl Pouring Nigari into milk Stirring soybean milk

Mix the Nigari with 50cc (about 3.5 tablespoons) hot water in a measuring cup.

Place the soybean milk back into the pot. Slowly heat the milk up to 80C (about 176F). Pour the heated milk into a large bowl. Pour in Nigari. Gently stir the milk and Nigari together. Let sit to cool for about 15 minutes.

Don't over-stir

It will only take a couple of stirs for the milk to begin to separate and thicken. Once you feel it thicken, stop stirring to prevent the tofu from becoming too hard and tough.

It will only take a couple of stirs for the milk to begin to separate and thicken. Once you feel it thicken, stop stirring to prevent the tofu from becoming too hard and tough.

Place curds in wooden tofu maker

Pouring tofu curds into wooden tofu maker Covering the curds with cheesecloth Placing lid and weight on top of tofu

Place the wooden tofu maker on a metal tray or baking sheet. Place a large cheese cloth in the maker.

After cooling, ladle the tofu curds into the cheesecloth. Wrap the top with the cheese cloth. Place the lid on cheesecloth and then place a measuring cup with water (or a nice rock) on the lid. The water or rock should weigh between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds. Let sit for about 15 minutes to stiffen and drain further.

Rinse with water

Removing tofu from tofu maker Placing tofu in bowl of water Peeling cheesecloth from tofu

After leaving the tofu under pressure for 15 minutes, carefully remove it from the tofu maker and place the bag with the tofu into a bowl of cold water. Carefully open the bag and slowly peel the bag from the tofu. Let the tofu sit in the cold water for about 30 minutes.


Finished tofu

Congratulations, your tofu is now ready to eat or be added to some other dish (like a homemade miso soup you learned to make right here on Globalkitchen Japan).

The product we used: