Monday, May 30, 2016
My Sunday afternoon project: making soy milk for the first time
Thanks to encouragement from some of you, I attempted my first batch of homemade soy milk, yesterday afternoon. I read up on several different techniques, and then went to it.
I chose the method that worked best for my circumstances, but would still yield a digestible and, hopefully, tasty product. I'll give you my verdict on this first attempt, in just a bit. But first, the practicalities --
I made a half-batch (began with 1/2 cup dried organic, non-GMO soybeans) and spent about 30 minutes of actual working time. This working time was simmering a pot of the raw soy milk on the stove. So I was able to also pop a large bowl of popcorn, then make a casserole of macaroni and cheese. My point is, it wasn't like I was toiling away at soy milk-production for the whole 30 minutes.
The result -- yield of about 3 cups of soy milk, for a cost of under 30 cents (including gas for the stove). That's about 1/3 the cost of Dollar Tree soy milk, and less than sale-priced cow's milk. (The homemade soy milk worked out to about $1.50 per gallon.)
Price-wise, what this means for our household, is that I can affordably use soy milk, in its plain version, in casseroles that I make for the family, that I would otherwise use cow's milk (so that I can eat it too), like home-style macaroni and cheese. Normally, I make macaroni and cheese with cow's milk and cheddar to serve to my family, but I don't get to eat any, substituting cooked noodles, topped with shredded cheddar for myself. Doing so always feels a bit disappointing to me. So, homemade soy milk provides an opportunity for me to eat what I'm serving my family. (Even though I'm lactose intolerant, I can tolerate small amounts of aged cheddar, in case you're wondering.)
Taste-wise, I have to say, the taste was not awesome for drinking plain. After I took out what I needed plain, for last night's mac and cheese, I added a bit of sugar and vanilla. And then, it was okay for adding to tea, making pudding, cake, chocolate milk, smoothies or cocoa. To be truthful, here, I wouldn't drink a glass of either this soy milk (except if I flavored it) or commercial soy milk, and not even cow's milk, as is. I'm not a milk drinker. This was my first try. I have more soybeans to use, so I'll work at tweaking a recipe to suit my taste.
The downside to homemade soy milk is apparently it doesn't keep as long as commercial soy milk, which means I will have to make it frequently. I did soak twice the amount of soy beans, and froze half, so the next batch will have less prep-time involved.
Was it worth it? Definitely! I now have a milk substitute that I can use in family cooking that I also want to consume. I think I can make a version that I will enjoy in the exact same foods that I use commercial soy milk (mostly on oatmeal, in tea, coffee and cocoa). But more importantly, trying new things on a regular basis means that I will find many new ways to economize that I wouldn't, otherwise.
An update on last Sunday's afternoon project, the pajama shorts that I made for my daughter. She says they're super comfy. That's a thumbs up!