Some people ask me, Why bother making recipes vegan or vegan-accessible? I shrug and tell them that I’m doing it for the culinary challenge. I laugh along with them as they say something equivalent to, “But you know these vegans are crazy, right? It’s no way to live.”
But the truth is, sometimes I do have these vegan phases. So, I’m not going to hide it anymore.
Why do I work so hard to create tasty recipes that don’t use animal products? Well, because SOMEtimes, I just don’t FEEL like eating sheep and cow excretions, chicken period, or carcasses of all of the above. And if I can do something better for the environment or make a small gesture against the cruel industries that supply these, even for a few days, then I say Why the hell not.
Add to that the fact that the price of milk and eggs in Israel just keeps shooting up uncontrollably, and you’ll understand why for Mr. Graceful and me, as students in our second year of university without a great income, it’s easier to move to a more plant- and bean-based diet. While a completely vegan diet isn’t suitable for us right now, and may never be, I think there is great value even just to considerably and consciously reducing our intake of animal-based products.
All you hardcore, preachy vegans out there will probably disagree. And that’s okay.
I have discovered throughout my life that real Hardcore is not found in the black and white of the extreme edges, but rather in the beauty of the spectrum of colors that can be found in between.
And in any case, preachy doesn’t look good on anybody. It’s just not cool.
Of all the non-dairy “milks” that can be made at home, I personally think soy is the best. Rice yields too gelatinous a result, and cashews, almonds and other nuts are considerably more expensive per cup than that pretty, simple, round bean.
This recipe is a light modification of a step in the process of tofu making from the blog alittletouched. I’ve made the tofu as well and it was great, and I may post about it here with photos in the future. An important note: This milk is a bit “beanier” in flavor than the kind you can get at a supermarket, but with a little added vanilla and even sugar this can be slightly adjusted. It may never taste like store-bought soy milk, but it’s well worth it. Besides, doesn’t that just make you wonder a little bit about the store-bought variety? Why doesn’t it actually taste like soy??? Food for thought. And now, the soy milk.
** A huge thanks to my dear friends, Liron and Nir, for letting me use their camera while Mr. Graceful took ours to document his amazing adventure of taking on a 130-K bike ride from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv! **
Home-Made Soy Milk:
Serves: about 8 cups
Estimated time: 10 hours soak and drain + 30 minutes work
Kosher Classification: Neutral
1 cup dry soy beans
8 cups clean water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Sugar or sweetener to taste
Additional water for soaking
Rinse the soybeans and soak them overnight or for at least 8 hours.
The beans will double in size (and get to look more like beans rather than small, awkward marbles) so be sure to use a container big enough to handle that transformation, as well as enough water.
After the beans have finished soaking, rinse them again and put them through the food processor (or strong blender), processing and adding 2 cups of water until the mixture is smooth.
Boil the remaining six cups of water in a large pot and transfer the bean mixture into it.
Stir it over medium heat until it becomes frothy… This can happen very fast so keep a close watch, and don’t do silly things like try to take a picture of it frothing over.
Then continue to simmer on low for about ten minutes.
Line a colander with a cheesecloth or thin kitchen towel, and place it over a bowl to catch the liquids. Make sure the bottom of the colander isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl – that would be kind of counter-productive. This contraption is so simple and yet genius, and is often used in cheese making (see the Yogurt Cheese recipe)… It is also used for making tofu out of soy milk (the process is actually very similar to cheese making).
Pour the water-with-soy slowly and carefully into the colander and strain for about an hour.
The liquid in the bowl is your soy milk. Add vanilla to balance the “beany” taste, and sugar (or sweetener) to taste if you like it a bit sweet (make sure to stir it until it dissolves completely).
Pour into a large jar or jug and chill in the refrigerator. If you use a jug, make sure to cover it in the fridge to help it keep longer. The soy milk will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
The soy chunks (the stuff that stayed caught in the colander) can be used in stir-fries, soups, dips, pancakes… Your creativity is the limit.
In A Nutshell:
- Rinse the beans and soak them for 8 hours or overnight in a bowl big enough to hold double the amount.
- Rinse beans again and process in a food processor, adding 2 cups of water until smooth.
- Boil the remaining 6 cups of water in a large pot, add the processed beans and cook until frothy. Then simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
- Line a colander with a cheesecloth or thin kitchen towel and put it over a bowl so that the bottom of the colander does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Pour cooked mixture carefully into towel and strain for 2 hours.
- Add sugar to taste and the vanilla and stir thoroughly until it dissolves. Chill.
- Keeps for about a week in the refrigerator.