Soy milk makers
May 29, 2005 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Any experience with home soy milk makers? Packaged soy milk is so expensive, yet soybeans are pretty cheap, so I'm considering getting a home soy milk making machine. I did try making soy milk myself, manually, many years ago and was underwhelmed by the result, which tasted more like bean soup than milk, and it took a lot of time and effort and, apparently, skill. But these machines make it seem so easy even a child could do it and so cheap that I couldn't afford not to get one.
posted by TimeFactor to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
You should try making soy milk yourself again, maybe 2 or 3 times, using different methods, such as this one. That's what I'd do, at least. The soy milk making machines are really just heating and grinding your beans... not something that should be tough to do yoruself. Maybe it didn't really take a lot of skill, but you were just using a bad method?
posted by rxrfrx at 8:14 PM on May 29, 2005

I second rxfrfx - also know that even "plain" commercial soymilk has some additives (sugar, salt) that make it more palatable. And if you look at the soyajoy troubleshooting page they have several recommendations for dealing with beany flavor.
posted by O9scar at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2005

My husband made soy milk several times by hand and found it to be drinkable but slightly beany. He bought a SoyaJoy in March and made a few more batches of milk. The milk was better than his earlier tries, but still very slightly beany, even with flavourings added. He also made one batch of tofu from the milk, which was perfect for my hot and sour soup. It's a decent unit and seems to be the best of the available machines. The only drawback was getting hit with serious Canada Customs charges when it was shipped.

However, he hasn't touched the machine since April. If you buy one of these things, make sure you have the room to store it and that your enthusiasm won't wane within weeks.
posted by maudlin at 9:14 PM on May 29, 2005

Tangent: Years ago I assisted making tofu in a small industrial kitchen on a hippie commune where the products (tofu & tempeh) were sold in the local community. I helped out maybe a dozen or more times. One thing that was emphasized to me was that the success of their venture relied upon following traditional recipes (basically, water, nigari -- sea salt with seaweed liking caking agent and little else) and using machinery from Japan.

It was pretty obvious (for producing quality consistent tofu anyway) that it would be difficult to emulate the processes in a normal kitchen (if only because it took something like 12 hours start to finish and was actually a lot of work).
After the cooking and grinding and de-slagging and before adding it to the compression units, I would run off the final mix into a few bottles - soya milk - which would last me a week and which was absolutely beautiful every time. But it goes off quick because it's proteinous, hence the commercial need for the addition of sugar/preservatives.
posted by peacay at 1:34 AM on May 30, 2005

Thanks! I'm inspired to try making soymilk by hand again. rxrfrx's link's suggestions to pre-crack the beans before soaking and to nuke them after are two steps I'm sure I didn't take previously and seem like they'd help. I'm also going to start with beans whose quality I can better attest to, per O9scar's link. We drink a lot of soymilk, though, so if a machine isn't too expensive (and the SoyaJoy is one of the cheapest) and the results are acceptable then it'd pay for itself pretty quickly.

peacay, strangely my tofu-making experiments have been much more successful than my soy milk-making, probably because my expectations are much lower for tofu - it ends up tasting like whatever sauce I cook it with anyway - and we don't consume as much of it and as often.
posted by TimeFactor at 11:12 AM on May 30, 2005

One thing to be aware of is that most commercial soy milks are fortified with vitamins that can be lacking in a vegetarian or vegan diet (Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12 and calcium are frequent additives). If you're vegtarian or vegan and you start drinking homemade soy milk exclusively, you may need to find alternate sources for these vitamins and minerals.
posted by rhiannon at 11:29 AM on May 30, 2005

Definitely try making it "from scratch" before buying a machine. I've made it about a half-dozen times just using beans, sugar, water and vanilla extract and it came out very well each time. Here's a recipe that looks even easier than using dried beans; it uses soy flour. Good luck.
posted by cog_nate at 12:49 PM on May 31, 2005

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