You can buy a tofu kit but the old way is simple enough. All you need are an instant-read thermometer, some cheesecloth (though you can make do with a clean kitchen towel), and a tofu mold, which you can create out of any kind of container you’re able to punch a few holes into: a plastic storage container, the plastic tub from store-bought tofu, a loaf pan, or even a strainer. There are a number of potential tofu coagulants named in the ingredient list, but don’t worry too much if you don’t want to track down any of the weird ones; vinegar and lemon juice work fine.
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: About 2 hours, mostly unattended
1 gallon soy milk
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar,
1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice, or 2 teaspoons nigari, calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, or Epsom salt, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
1. Put the soy milk in a large pot over medium-low heat and bring to 140°F, then stir in half of the coagulant. Continue stirring for 5 minutes.2. Add the remaining coagulant and reduce the heat to low; cook until the mixture begins to form curds, about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat.
3. Line a tofu mold or fine-meshed strainer with a kitchen towel or cheesecloth and ladle or spoon in the curds. Fold the ends of the towel over the top of the curds and put a 3- to 5-pound weight on top (a large can, jar of water on a plate, or something similar is okay). Drain for about 20 minutes, or more for firmer tofu, then remove the tofu from the mold.
4. Put the tofu in a bowl or dish of cold water in the refrigerator for about an hour to let it set. Use or store in water, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days, changing the water daily.