Tofu is a food that is traditionally part of the cuisine of many Asian countries and it is believed to have originated in ancient China. It is popular, especially with vegans and vegetarians, because it contains high levels of iron and protein without much fat. Tofu is known for its ability to readily absorb flavors, which means that it is a very versatile ingredient and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Let’s take a look at how this popular ingredient is made.
How is tofu made?
Tofu is made by pressing the curds from coagulated soy milk. This means that the first stage is producing soy milk. This is done by taking the dried soybeans and soaking, grinding and straining them. The milk is separated from the pulp in a centrifuge. The milk is placed into a tank to be thickened into a curd. The thickening is achieved by adding a coagulant to the soy milk. Calcium sulfate is the most common coagulant, but magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, specific organic acids and/or enzymes may also used. Spices may also be added to the mixture to add flavor to the tofu. Once this mixture has coagulated it is drained of excess liquid. This mixture is placed into a mold and is then pressed in a pressing machine to most of the remaining liquid and forms a large block of tofu. This large block is sliced into smaller blocks, flavourings are added where applicable, and it is then packaged. The tofu is then pasteurized to remove any bacteria and cooled in a vat of water.
The following video shows tofu being made at a large factory: