Tofu preparation, manual 3/3/2012 Omura, Japan

Tofu (bean curd) is a food made by coagulation of soy milk by various agents where the resulting curds are collected and pressed in cheesecloth (or more dense cloth) to remove the excess liquid which results in a white soft blocks of tofu. Tofu is originating in China, where it has been discovered several hundreds years before the Christ. It has low caloric value, it is low on fats and high on proteins. It’s flavour is mild which makes it optimal for marinating and seasoning. Due to the nigari/magnesium chloride which is the coagulating agent used in this manual it is also high on magnesium. It should be noted that consumption of non fermented tofu is in Asia not recommended to the children and old people because it is difficult to digest. This is being solved by fermentation of tofu. The manual below is a result of tofu making workshop which was organized by Jasper Language School in Ōmura, Japan where I was volunteering in March 2012 and I would like to thanks for the opportunity to participate. It is just slightly altered in places where I was not sure and I used info from another online sources.

Final weight of tofu – ??? g has to be calculated ???

  • Ingredients

500 g of dried soy beans
water (purified if possible)
nigari – magnesium chloride (MgCl2) – for 500 g of dried soybeans is recommended to add 4 teaspoons, exact weight has to be found out, in manual 9 g are mentioned but that may not be exact because I am not sure what amount of dried soybeans we used

  • Equipment

2x pot (10 l)
2x bowls (3-5 l)
canvas bag or cheesecloth
500 -1000 ml measuring cup with scale
tea spoon
tofu mould (see the image)
weight (cup filled with water)
plastic bag (to store tofu)
glass closeable box (to store tofu)
glass closeable box (to store okara)

  • Procedure

– wash the dried soybeans in a cold water two or three times and try to remove outer skin
– steep the soybeans in a filtered water if possible for up to two days, if the temperature is below 15°C or just for 10-24 hours, if it is warmer 15-40°C
– after “24 hours” of steeping wash the soybeans again, twice, trying to remove the outer skin
– prepare the blender and add 0.5 l of steeped soybeans and 1 l of cold water, ratio 1:2
– blend on high rotation per minute (rpm) for 90 s, pause for 30 s and blend again for 90 s (the tofu master insist that this is an important part and you should keep following the intervals, I do not know what is the reason of that yet)
– decant the mixture into the canvas bag/cheesecloth placed in a bowl
– squeeze the bag to separate the particles (okara) from the liquid (soy milk)
– add around 200 ml of water to the okara in the bag and squeeze it again into the bowl
– transfer the okara into the bag or container and store at cold till used (up to a week)
– prepare a larger pot (10 l) filled with 4 l of water and bring it to the boil and let to cool a bit down to 85-90°C
– add the soy milk and mix slowly bringing the mixture to a boil on a low flame
– once boiling lower the flame and continue mixing for another 10 minutes, keeping it simmering
– weight the nigari/MgCl2 (9 g)
– switch off the flame and let the mixture cool to 74-76°C
– add slowly the MgCl2 to the soy milk and mix vigorously and observe the coagulation process, stop adding the coagulant when the coagulation is complete, be careful not to add more MgCl2 than necessary
– clean and make ready the tofu mould and place it into the bowl to capture the liquid (which will be disposed later on)
– place a canvas bag (cheese cloth) inside the tofu mould and over the edges and pour the coagulate into it
– fold the cheesecloth on the top and close the mould by the top part and add some weight of around 0.5 kg as for example tea cup with water on the top to create the pressure to facilitate the straining
– keep the tofu straining for 30 to 60 minutes, remove the liquid if the tofu starts to be submerged
– after the 30-60 min remove the liquid from the bowl completely and add larger quantity of water (6-8 l)
– remove the cup, open the mould, turn it sideways keeping it submerged and remove the bag with tofu keeping it floating in the water so it doesn’t brake
– remove carefully the bag and let the tofu float, you may cut it in half to easy up the manipulation
– transfer the tofu into the container adding the pressed liquid ??? (or water) and keep it submerged or put into the plastic bag and keep in the container, in both cases keep at cold (fridge)
– use within several days if left at cold without any additive
– for nutritionally optimal consumption you should ferment the tofu (Katz, 2012) to increase its digestibility
– unfermented tofu should not be consumed by children, older or ill people because it is hard to digest

  • Recommended Literature, links and contacts

Katz S. E. (2012) In The Art of Fermentation. Goodman M. and Jorstad L. (ed.), 1st edn., Chelsea Green Publishing, Vermont, USA, pp 333-335.

Shurtleff W. and Aoyagi A. (1983) In Book of Tofu. 2nd edn. Ten Speed Press, ISBN-13: 978-1580080132, USA.

SoyDirect Soy Milk Maker. Available at (6th of August 2012)


~ by algoldor on August 6, 2012.

One Response to “Tofu preparation, manual 3/3/2012 Omura, Japan”

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