Ever wonder how Tofu is made?
Watch this video all about how we make Tofu at Amy's:
Amy's makes a lot of tofu!
Did you know that tofu has served as the primary source of protein for Asian peoples as far back as 2,000 years ago? It was actually invented in China and soon thereafter became widespread across the orient. It is only in the past 50 years that tofu has become known to non-Asian Americans but its popularity is growing rapidly. Americans are eating out more often and exploring the vast array of ethnic food choices introduced by inspired chefs and immigrants who bring their native foods to our communities.
When it comes to tofu, nothing could appear more basic. Soybeans are crushed to extract their milk which is then thickened and formed into a standard shape. So what’s the big deal?
You already know that Amy’s prepares each of its products from scratch. What we haven’t told you is that we also prepare many of our ingredients from scratch as well. Tofu is a primary ingredient at Amy’s as it appears in many of our products. We use tofu in different shapes and with varied firmness depending on the product. For Spinach Pizza we use very small pieces while in our popular Brown Rice & Vegetables Bowl we use larger pieces. The demand for so much variety of tofu is the key reason we have chosen to make it ourselves, from scratch.
It’s fun to know how things are made so we thought we’d share how we prepare tofu each day at Amy’s. We adopted methods from trained tofu makers who learned the traditional methods that haven’t changed for over a millennium. One could say we are tofu “artisans”. Each batch is hand crafted from the slow stirring of soymilk into curds, to the pressing and soaking of the finished product.
It all starts with the beans. We contract with growers who can guarantee us the best quality organic soybeans on the market. And because they are organic, we are assured that the beans have not been genetically modified. We conduct rigorous and regular testing to make sure we are getting exactly what we want. Unlike edamame, the popular green soybeans that people love to munch, soybeans used for tofu are a unique variety that arrives dried, similar to most beans you buy at the market. The first step is to soak the beans until they are at the perfect level of hydration.
The beans are then crushed and heated to separate the solids, otherwise known as okara, from the milk. The warm soy milk is then slowly hand-stirred while nigari (a natural salt derivative of seawater) is added to form the curds. (The amount of nigari used will determine the firmness of the tofu) When the curds are at just the right point, they are poured into a press lined with thin cloth. The remaining water is then pressed from the curds allowing them to bind.
The pressing complete, the tofu is submerged in a bath of cold water to finish setting up. There is no fresher tofu on the planet!
Once the tofu is cooled, it is used immediately for the many meals we produce each day. We chop it, dice it and even marinate it for a variety of uses. Tofu is also a staple at our home. Tofu is so easy to use and can be served in countless ways. We urge you to explore the fascinating world of cooking with tofu and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover.
If you would like to know more about tofu, there is the quintessential book called, what else but, The Book of Tofu by Akiko Aoyagi and William Shurtleff. It is a great source on the subject as it explains the origins of and how to make tofu, as well as a large recipe section that reveal the versatility of tofu.