Homemade Soy Milk: how and why you should do it yourself (DIY)
First I have to correct the title: legally I should not call it “Homemade Soy Milk“, but “Homemade Soy Drink“.
Made the necessary clarification should be said that the reason why we buy soy milk, is not because we confuse it with cow’s milk. The reasons are many, mine for example is that of wanting to be more ethical in my food choices.
The soy drink is the most used derivative of all soy products, and is appreciated not only by vegans but also by those who are lactose intolerant: these latter, although omnivores, can not take animal products containing lactose.
It is an excellent alternative to cow’s milk also for its nutritional properties, as it is rich in protein and calcium.
Moreover, especially if homemade and skillfully flavored, soy milk can be very tasty: unlike the commercial one, defined by many as “cardboard milk” (not wrongly I add).
Producing it at home is child’s play, it requires only 2 ingredients: and one of them is water!
Considering the great final savings that we are going to get, we can opt for the high quality ingredients, hang the expense! So go and buy organic soybeans, those non-GMO with less pesticide residues.
Ingredients (for about 1 to 1.5 lt of soy milk)
200 grams of yellow soybeans
1.9 lt of water
A cinnamon stick, or 1 crystal of mastic, or 2 tablespoons of cocoa or carob flour, or a vanilla pod (optional)
A pinch of salt (optional)
Natural sweetener (optional)
Soak the soybeans for at least 24 hours at room temperature (about 25C°: if it is warmer you can reduce the soaking time by a few hours). Renew the water every 4-6 hours to eliminate some of the anti-nutrients, at least the water-soluble ones.
At the end of the soaking time, wash the beans one last time and remove the outer skins as much as you can. Then turn the soybeans into a homogeneous puree using a blender, adding little by little 500 ml of water.
Then pass it through a muslin cheesecloth, or from a nut milk bag, through a sieve and a kitchen cloth, to separate the soy milk from its pose, also called okara. Do not throw it away, you could use it to enrich your meatballs, cakes, etc.
Bring the soy milk to a boil together with the remaining water. Lower the heat and simmer it for 15-20 minutes, around 90-100 C°. Soya cannot be consumed raw because of its anti-nutrients, in particular its trypsin inhibitor content. For this it must be heat treated. In addition, this phase serves both to make the unpleasant odors of the soya volatile and to denature its proteins: and if you want to use it to prepare the tofu, this process facilitates the ‘precipitation’ that occurs during coagulation.
In the meantime, don’t forget to monitor the pot and its contents: removing the foam that will form on the surface of the liquid is crucial – a moment of distraction and you will see wasting the precious milk.
The soy milk is ready; you can continue to simmer it a little longer (over low heat) in order to achieve the desired density. Some people recommend a pinch of salt, I prefer not to. You can add some flavors such as cinnamon, mastic (in other words natural chew), vanilla pod, cocoa or carob but also sugar or other natural sweeteners, in case you want to drink it as a drink; or leave it simple as freshly made if destined for salty recipes.
Personally I go crazy for the version made with mastic and sweetened with a teaspoon of honey. A unique goodness!
…But not because it is good, healthy and home-made we can consume liters of it, on the contrary, there are some issues to keep well in mind.
The consumption of soybean should be monitored because it contains anti-nutrients that it is better not to exceed: among the most important are the already mentioned trypsin inhibitor and isoflavones, such as genistein and daidzein(1), which are part of phytoestrogens: are plant-based compounds similar to estrogen, which have beneficial effects and antioxidant actions, but only if their daily dosage does not exceed 80 mg (according to the Italian Ministry of Health), an FDA report of 1999 in the United States suggested not to exceed 75 mg per day(2); however, EFSA – the European Food Safety Authority – has not so far formulated a precise upper limit); abusing them can be harmful to health (3,4,5), like all other powerful nutraceuticals.
On the practical side, in a pleasant cup of soy milk of about 250 ml we have 25 mg of isoflavones (6); so if you drink two cups of homemade soy milk during the day, be careful if you consume other soy foods, such as tofu or soy granules. If you do not exceed 2-3 servings per day, do not run any kind of risk, of course if you do not have any hormonal and / or any particular disorders.
Finally I would like to remind you that homemade soy milk can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, in a container with lid. And there is no contraindication in freezing it when you have to use it for cooking after thawing (do not drink it). In case you have any left over and don’t know how to consume it, why not have fun making tofu by following this recipe which will be as always accurate and proven.
Have a good day and good revolution to all
(1) Reinli K, Block G. Phytoestrogen content of foods: a compendium of literature values. Nutr Cancer. 1996;26:123–48
(2) Jefferson WN. Adult ovarian function can be affected by high levels of soy. J Nutr. 2010;140(12):2322S-2325S. doi:10.3945/jn.110.123802
(3) Chandrareddy A, Muneyyirci-Delale O, McFarlane SI, Murad OM. Adverse effects of phytoestrogens on reproductive health: a report of three cases. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2008;14:132–5
(4) Kurzer MS. Hormonal effects of soy in premenopausal women and men. J Nutr. 2002;132:S570–3
(5) Whitten PL, Lewis C, Russell E, Naftolin F. Potential adverse effects of phytoestrogens. J Nutr. 1995;125:S771–6
(6) Bhagwat, Seema, David B. Haytowitz, and Joanne M. Holden. “USDA database for the isoflavone content of selected foods, release 2.0.” Maryland: US Department of Agriculture 15 (2008).
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