Saturday, January 3, 2009

Much, Much Better Homemade Soy Milk!!!

There are a lot of advantages making your own soy milk:
  • You know what goes in it.
  • You can customize the flavor to your own tastes.
  • It costs something like 25 cents a quart to make.
  • It's a lot of fun.
Here's what's NOT so great about homemade soy milk:
  • The strong, sour, "beany" smell and taste.
What's with that? Commercial soy milk isn't like that at all.

Don't worry. That disadvantage ends today.

  • A soy milk machine.
  • 2 pots each filled with 3 cups of water and 1/4 t baking soda
  • dry soy beans
(Technically, you don't need a soy milk machine, but it's going to be dangerous putting boiling hot liquids in a blender, so do yourself a favor and get a soy milk machine. I wholeheartedly recommend the SoyQuick Premier 930P. I don't make any money from this recommendation. In my opinion, it's simply the most versatile and best designed soy milk maker available.)

The instructions for soy milk machines tell you to soak the soy beans overnight, then put them in the machine, add water, and then turn the machine on to do its thing.

The taste problem arises in the soaking. The sour, beany taste comes from an activated enzyme - a trypsin inhibitor called lipoxygenase - that is activated when the dry beans interact with moisture. However, if the pH level and temperature are above normal, the enzyme is not activated.

The disadvantage of this method is a nominal blanching step that must be added, but has the benefit that you don't have to soak the soybeans, nor do you have to de-hull them by rubbing them between your hands to get to the "insides" of the beans, called the "cotyledons" (though removing as many hulls as possible helps even more).

  1. Put two small pots on your stove with 3 cups of water and 1/4 t baking soda in each.
  2. Boil the first pot, then throw in your unsoaked soybeans.
  3. Reduce the first pot to a simmering boil, and turn the heat up on the second pot.
  4. After 5 minutes, strain out the water from the first pot, rinse the beans with hot tap water, strain the rinse water, and put the beans in the now boiling 2nd pot for another 5 minute simmer.
  5. When the 2nd 5-minute simmer is done, strain, rinse with hot tap water, strain the rinse water, and put the blanched soybeans in the 930P with hot water to your fill line to proceed as usual.
  6. You'll notice many of the hulls come off during the blanching, but the beans are too hot to rub the rest off. Trust me, it doesn't really matter that you can't get them all off.
I experimented with a lazier method - namely by just using one 10-minute blanching, but it was a little less de-flavorizing. As a comparison, on a beaniness scale from 1 to 10 with commercial soy milk at a 1 and the usual soy milk in the 930P at a 10, here's how I rate the beaniness level in the methods I have tried:
  • Soaking, no de-hulling: 10.
  • Soaking, completely de-hulling: 8.5. And that was spending an hour de-hulling every single bean! Generally this would be a 9, not really much improvement.
  • No soaking, with one lazy 10-minute blanch, no hull removal: 4.
  • No soaking, with one lazy 10-minute blanch, some hulls removed: 3.5.
  • No soaking, with two 5-minute blanches, no hull removal: 2.
  • No soaking, with two 5-minute blanches, some hulls removed: 1.5.
Honest, it's practically perfect and a giant leap forward in making your own soy milk.



  1. I am going to try this method. Even though I am used to the beany taste, I would like my kids to drink more of my soy milk. Maybe this will do the trick! Thanks for the tips.

  2. Thanks for the link from the PPK. I appreciate the info.

    Didn't expect there were any vegans in Metairie. When I lived there it was mostly beer swilling omnis (okay maybe that was just my friends and family).

  3. Hi! I just tried your method and I ended up with really watery stuff (like warm white water). Any insight as to what I could have done wrong?

  4. mfndelicious, I'm not sure, but it could be few things. Did you strain out the blanching water? Did you use enough beans to start with? The right amount of water in the soymilk maker? Have you refrigerated it yet? Is it watery compared to how you usually make it in your soy milk maker or compared to commercial stuff (which adds thickeners like carageenan or xantham gum)?