All you need are two ingredients to make fresh soy milk: soybeans and water. Just soak the soybeans overnight, blend, strain, and boil. Serve hot, so good!
We’ve been making soy milk at home ever since I was a kid. Hot and fresh, it beats anything you can buy from the store.
Homemade Soy Milk
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My mom had this cool soy milk maker (we got ours from Don Quijote, a popular Asian supermarket). We would bring it out on weekends and make soy milk together. Then we would sit down for breakfast with hot mugs of soy milk and watch morning tv. The idea of making milk from soy beans blew my mind as a kid…and I still think it is really cool!
Then I went to college in NYC and noticed that soy milk was a popular thing to drink (this was before the nut milk craze). I bought a box of soy milk from a market in Union Square and realized that the soy milk on the mainland was very different from the soy milk we made at home.
I had to get my proper soy milk fix from Chinatown. (I loved the now-closed Fong Inn Too on Mott Street…what a gem). As one friend put it, there is “fresh Asian soy milk” and there is “mainland boxed soy milk.” They’re both made from dried yellow soybeans, but the boxed version is very diluted and often has sweeteners and additives. Fresh soy milk (also known as dou jiang) is velvety, pure, and very “whole tasting.”
Dried yellow soybeans, ready to soak in water for 12-hours
Soy Milk In Hawaii
I’ve mentioned in past posts that Hawaii looooves tofu and all tofu-related products. Here tofu is never seen as a substitute for anything. It is just it’s own thing, wonderful and delicious. We have two main tofu factories on Oahu. One is Aloha Tofu Factory (full post here) and the other is Mrs Cheng’s Soy Bean Products.
They’re both located near each other, we just happen to visit Aloha Tofu Factory more frequently because they have a bigger variety (including the fried tofu skin we use to make aburaage). Both places make wonderful fresh soy milk. Mrs Cheng’s offers soy milk by the pint and quart, and you can chose plain soy milk or soy milk sweetened with maple syrup. Aloha Tofu Factory offers plain soy milk by the pint, half-gallon, or gallon.
While we make soy milk at home, we also love buying soy milk hahah. There’s nothing like stopping at the tofu factory on a hot Honolulu afternoon and getting a pint of chilled soy milk for your drive. Ahh super refreshing!
Soybeans with the skin removed (after a 12 hour soak in water)
How To Make Soy Milk
Did you know that making soy milk is super easy? Though my mom had the cool soy milk maker, the only “equipment” you really need is a blender and a nut milk bag (or cheesecloth).
I use a ratio of 1/2 cup soybeans to 1 cup water.
Soak the soybeans in water overnight (do it for at least 12 hours).
The next morning, remove and discard the skin from the soybeans. This step is not absolutely necessary, but removing the skins makes for a richer, more flavorful drink. Just hold the soybean between two fingers, press tightly, and the skin will slip off easily. Do this for as many soybeans as you can. But if you are in a rush, you can skip this step.
Now put the shelled soybeans and water into a blender.
Blend until you almost get a smooth liquid and it’s all white like in the photo above.
Straining the milk into the pot
Then use a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to strain the liquid into a pot. You can do this yourself, but it’s extra helpful if you have one person holding the bag and the other person pouring the liquid from the blender.
Bring the soy milk to a boil over medium high heat.
Once it boils, skim off the foam top, and then turn the heat down to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes. This boil and simmer step is important because you cannot eat soybeans raw. They must be cooked. This is the cooking step.
After 15 minutes, your soy milk is ready to drink! Drink it plain or sweeten with a bit of sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
Laura Soybeans is our go-to brand for yellow soybeans
Soybeans Are Important
Since there is really only one ingredient in this recipe, the quality of that ingredient is very important. You want good, fresh crop, yellow soybeans.
My Soybean Pick:
How Long Will Soy Milk Keep?
This soy milk will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. I usually make an eight cup serving (which is double the recipe below) on the weekends. And on weekday mornings, I’ll heat up two cups for my husband and myself. I just pour it into a small pot and warm slowly over low heat.
Note: don’t try to make a ton and once and then freeze soy milk. Freezing changes the texture. It’s better to make smaller, fresh portions each week.
Hot Versus Cold
You can drink soy milk hot or cold.
I prefer it hot when I drink in the morning and evenings (warm liquids are also better for your body). And I like it chilled in the afternoons. Can’t go wrong either way.
Hot soy milk, ready to drink
Soy Milk Substitutions and Variations
- Drink the soy milk plain, or sweeten it with sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
- If you want thicker soy milk, use less water. If you want thinner soy milk, use more water.
- Use soy milk the way you would regular milk: blend it into smoothies, use it to make oatmeal, the possibilities are endless.
- If you are lucky enough to get you tiao (fried Chinese crullers), dip the you tiao into a bowl of hot soy milk for a very classic Chinese breakfast.
Soy Milk Tips
A few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you soak the soybeans for at least 12 hours.
- Watch the stove very carefully when you boil the strained soy milk. It can go from a slight simmer to rapid boiling over the pot super fast. This makes for lots of extra clean up work. Even after years of making soy milk, this still happens once in a while haha.
- Save your soybean pulp (also called okara)…there are many things you can make with it! I’ll post the recipes using okara soon.
Soy Milk Recipe
Recipe below ^_^
- 1/2 cup dried soybeans
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
- Soak the soybeans in water overnight (at least 12 hours).
- Drain the water. Peel off and discard the soybean skins. You don't have to peel them all, but peel as much as you can. This step isn't absolutely necessary but makes for a better final drink.
- Put the peeled soybeans and water in a blender. Blend on 'high' until the beans are completely blended (the liquid should look white).
- Using a nut milk bag (or cheesecloth) to strain the soymilk into a pot. Bring the strained soymilk to a boil (careful with this step as soymilk goes from not boiling to overflowing the pot really fast when it boils!)
- Turn down to a simmer. Skim off the foam. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Add the sugar (or honey or maple syrup). Stir to dissolve. Now it's ready to drink!