A few weeks ago, I picked up a Joyoung soymilk maker and a couple of pounds of Arrowhead Mills soy beans to give homemade soy milk a try. I wanted to serve my family a more natural soy milk, something without carrageenan and a host of added vitamins. I’ve been using the machine steadily since then, and I am now confident that I found a surefire method for producing pretty good homemade soy milk.
The first step is soaking beans. The dried beans need to soak for several hours, and since I like to have beans ready to go when I need them, I have been keeping a container of water covered beans in the fridge. When I make a batch, I immediately take a scoop (about a half cup) of dried beans, given them a rinse, and put them in a sealed container with water. These wait in the fridge for me for a few days, and I never have to think about getting beans soaking when I need them.
The next step is to remove the skins, or at least most of them. The skins can make the milk taste beany, so the more skins you remove, the better the soy milk will taste. To do this, I rinse off the soaked beans and cover them with really hot tap water. After these have had a hot bath for just a few minutes, the skins are ready to pop off. I rub the beans together between my hand or grab fistfulls and squish them about, and the skins come off fairly easily. The skins are much lighter than the beans, so they can be floated out of the bowl by adding water, swishing things around, then pouring the water off while the skins are still floating. This whole process can be time consuming at first, but as you get better it will take less than five minutes. Don’t stress about getting every last skin off, as this is likely not possible without giving each bean it’s own special attention, and that’s not realistic. Things will taste fine so long as you remove a good number of them.
The rest of the work is up to the machine. Fill the jug with water to the mark provided (I use filtered tap water), set the blade and heating element inside, plug it in, and press the magic button. About 20 minutes later you will have a batch of hot soy milk waiting to be filtered. The soymilk maker comes with a pitcher and fine metal colander to use for this, so it’s as easy as placing the colander over the mouth of the jug (which it fits perfectly) and pouring the hot soymilk through it.
I finish my soy milk with a good pinch of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon) and a tablespoon of agave nectar added to the pitcher. You might want at least a little salt and a little sweetener to mimic the natural salts and sugars in cow’s milk to make the soymilk taste good to the western palate. Sometimes I treat hubby and I to a tea latte by steeping tes directly in the hot soy milk, which is wonderful. Otherwise, the soymilk goes into a covered jug in the fridge. We use it for cereal, oatmeal, in tea, and once in a while for chocolate milk. I’ve also tried adding vanilla and orange extract to make a creamsicle flavored treat, though this needs a little more sweetening that the single tablespoon of agave.
One last note: I’ve read quite a bit about the merits of saving and using the okara, which is the sludge of insoluble soybean leftover after making soymilk. This stuff is supposedly a very heathly source of protein and fiber, so I added a batch’s worth of it to a pot of black bean chili. The chili was delicious, and the okara served as a great thickener. That said, it came with an unpleasant side effect that I did not see mentioned anywhere, and so I would like to offer you a word of warning. I don’t know if it was the okara alone or the combination of okara and beans, but whatever it was made for the perfect recipe for voluminous and frequent flatus. The effect was so dramatic and so universal among the family that I cannot convince anyone to give okara a second try in any other way, even Thing 2 who would normally find such an effect an incentive for eating seconds. In fact, all I have to do is say okara, and the whole family grimaces. Someday maybe I’ll try something different with it, but it will take awhile before the memories of the night of terror fades enough to risk it again.