Around once a month I teach a bread class at the one of a kind Institute of Domestic Technology, founded by our friend Joseph Shuldiner. The IDT is not your usual cooking school and its offerings are difficult to define succinctly. If I had to take a stab at explaining what the IDT does it would be that it teaches things worth doing from scratch that most people haven’t attempted since the pre-Betty Crocker era: cheesemaking, home coffee roasting, bacon curing, bread baking, jam and exotic projects like making your own nocino and toothpaste.
One of the perks of teaching at the IDT is getting to sit in on some of the other classes. The coffee roasting class changed my life. Now, every morning, I look forward to fresh coffee I roasted myself in a Whirley-Pop Popcorn maker. This past weekend I sat in a new IDT class taught by author Andrea Nguyen on how to make tofu from scratch.
Nguyen is the author of a couple of cookbooks including Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home and a new book, The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches. She began the tofu class with with some soy beans that were soaked the night before. The pre-soaked beans were ground up in a blender and the slurry was boiled in a pot with some water.
The mixture was poured through a cloth to produce soy milk. The cloth was gathered up and squeezed to get out every drop of milk.
Nguyen showed us three different ways to create blocks of tofu with everything from a simple colander to a plastic tofu kit, to a beautiful Japanese wooden tofu form.
The next step was to coagulate the soy milk using nigari crystals (available at Asian markets).
After the soy milk separated the curds were ladled into the forms.
In just a short time we had blocks of delicious tofu.
One of the students brought some dehydrated crackers to class. He makes them with discarded fruit pulp that he gets at a local juice bar. He dehydrates the pulp with some soaked sunflower seeds. The result is delicious. It’s a clever idea.
Back to the tofu. I’m going to try making my own this summer. At the very least I can make my own soy milk and skip the sugary stuff I’ve been using.
You can get organic non-GMO soybeans and coagulant online at www.laurasoybeans.com.
Incidentally, IDT founder Joseph Shuldiner wrote my favorite vegan cookbook which is aimed at vegans and non-vegans (such as myself) alike: Pure Vegan: 70 Recipes for Beautiful Meals and Clean Living.