How we make tofu

The history of tofu

  • 05 Jan 2021
  • SB

Tofu, or dòufǔ in Mandarin Chinese, has a long history. It did in fact originate in China. The first recorded mentions of bean curd (dòufǔ) are around 2,000 years old. The soybean itself was domesticated over 5,000 years ago, making it one of our oldest crops.

Tofu is manufactured in a way similar to cheese: In cheesemaking, milk is curdled by adding rennet. Tofu is made by curdling soybean juice, or “soy milk”, with calcium sulphate, a natural product that is mined in the mountains of China. Over 1,000 years ago, tofu arrived in Japan. Japanese tofu masters introduced nigari, a magnesium chloride compound sourced from seawater, as a coagulating agent.

According to Asian tradition

Both kinds of coagulating agents, mountain gypsum and sea salt, are traditional tofu manufacturing agents. Calcium sulphate produces a somewhat firmer tofu that is suitable for use in wok dishes. When both coagulating agents are combined, as we do at Taifun, it creates a tofu for frying that has the consistency and taste preferred here in Europe. We use just nigari when we want to manufacture our Silken Tofu, a slightly sweet tofu with a smoother consistency.

Tofu has long been a nutritional mainstay. Its use spread throughout all of East Asia, then to the USA and finally to Europe. Tofu has been an established and popular food here since the mid-1980s, thanks in no small part to Taifun.

We pursue the millennia-old tradition of tofu manufacturing with utmost respect and curiosity. Grasping the “concept of tofu” is a never-ending learning process. We take a contemporary approach, using both time-honoured and innovative spices and ingredients. We adventurously experiment in a variety of ways, always exceedingly mindful of the essence of tofu.