How we make tofu

How tofu is made

Tofu is a bit like cheese, but different.

  • 08 Apr 2021

The quality, like with anything else in life, comes from attentive and precise work.

From soybeans to soy milk

We first wash and soak the soybeans. After ten to twelve hours, the beans will have doubled in size. We blend the swollen beans with water to make a purée and bring it to a boil. After all of the hulls and fibres have been strained out, the result is a familiar milky-white juice: “soy milk”.

The soy milk is transformed

Next comes the part that really is like cheese making, but without the cow’s milk: Whereas a cheese maker uses rennet to coagulate milk, we add calcium sulphate and nigari to soy milk. Nigari is a traditional Japanese coagulating agent made of concentrated seawater. Calcium sulphate is derived from limestone, and in our case comes from the Harz Mountains in Northern Germany.

These cause the soy milk to flocculate, separating it into whey and protein-rich soy curds.

The soy curds are pressed

The next step is also similar to what happens in a cheese dairy: We collect the soy curds, transfer them to a tofu press and compact the soy curd mass into blocks of solid tofu. These blocks are then cut into shape and cooled in water. The result is plain, unembellished tofu, which you may have already eaten. While our plain “Tofu natur” gets packaged immediately, for our other tofu specialities the enhancement stage begins.

Enhancement No. 1: Herbed tofu

Now comes the fun part for our sensory evaluation team: They cook up the best flavour combinations. Tofu with herbs, with turmeric, or blended with vegetables ‒ by now we have proven recipes for all varieties. We also have contracting partners who reliably deliver ingredients in the best organic quality and who grow basil and wild garlic especially for us. We use oils for frying that are particularly high in oleic acid and can therefore be heated to high temperatures.

Enhancement No. 2: Smoked tofu

Long ago, foods were smoked to improve their shelf life; nowadays we do it just for the delicious taste. However, traditional smoking methods can be hazardous to health. That’s why we smoke our tofu by means of the more cautious friction smoke process, in which a metal gear rubs against a piece of wood. The temperature remains low at 300 to 400°C compared to up to 800°C in a traditional wood-fired smoker oven. The resulting smoke fills the smoking chamber where our Tofu-Wiener sausages and our Smoked Tofu get their aroma.

Enhancement No. 3: Fermented tofu

In Asia, fermented tofu and other fermented soy products like tempeh and shoyu have been part of the traditional diet for hundreds of years. Our fermented tofu is called FETO, and it’s made by adding lactic acid bacteria to plain tofu. Naturally, we only use plant-based cultures, such as are used to make vegan cheese or plant-based yoghurt. Fermentation gently acidifies the tofu and breaks down most of its natural sugars and carbohydrates.

The way to the organic shop

This too is part of the process: We pasteurise and package all of our tofu products, chill them and send them on the fastest way to you. Taifun tofu is now available in almost all German organic shops and health food shops.

We wish you bon appétit!