Vegetarian cooking

Homemade Tofu

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

TIME: About 2 hours, largely unattended

Tofu kits typically come with good equipment for making tofu at home: coagulant, liner, press, and often a soy milk maker. But the old way is simple enough: You make a tofu press out of any kind of container you’re able to punch a few holes into, like a plastic tub from store-bought tofu, a reusable plastic storage container, or a loaf pan; even a strainer will work fine.

1 gallon soy milk

2 tablespoons distilled vinegar; 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice; or 2 teaspoons nigari, calcium sulfate or chloride, or epsom salt, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water

Put the soy milk in a large pot over medium-low heat and bring to 140В°F. Stir half of the coagulant into the warm soy milk; continue stirring for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining coagulant and reduce the heat to low; cook until the mixture begins to form curds, about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Ladle or spoon the curds into a tofu mold or fine-meshed strainer lined with a tea towel or cheesecloth; fold the ends of the towel over the top of the curds and set a 3- to 5-pound weight (a large can or jar of water on a plate or something similar is okay) on top. Drain for about 20 minutes or more for firmer tofu, then remove the tofu from the mold.

Put the tofu in a bowl or dish of cold water in the refrigerator for about an hour to let it set. Use it or store it in the water, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days, changing the water daily.