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Make tofu at home

homemade tofuHere we explain how to make tofu at home. Tofu is made by coagulating soymilk with salts such as calcium sulphate or magnesium chloride. In Japan they use nigari, which is basically magnesium chloride with other trace elements. We prefer to make tofu with calcium sulphate because it is the cheapest coagulant and adds extra calcium to your diet. Asian people make daily fresh tofu but in Western countries only very few people have ever tried. Home made tofu tastes very fresh and contains no preservatives. When we make tofu we also make our own soy milk, usually with a soy milk maker, such as the filterless Soyquick. The only special equipment you need is a tofu mould, which basically is a plastic or stainless steel container with holes.
You can buy a tofu mould from companies that sell automatic soy milk makers, or you can make your own by drilling holes in a plastic container. Here we explain how to make tofu in a few simple steps.


To produce about 400 g of tofu you need 2 liter soy milk and two teaspoons natural calcium sulphate. Instead of calcium sulphate, you can also use nigari, but whichis more difficult to find. Another reason that I prefer calcium sulphate is that nigari has a slight bitter taste.

Curdling the milk

adding-coagulantBoil the soy milk for about 5 minutes and cool down to about 70-80C. If you make soy milk with an automatic soy milk maker you only have to cool down the soy mil a bit, no need to boil it again.
Dissolve two teaspoons natural calcium sulphate in one cup of warm water. Do not leave the coagulant to long in the water, otherwise it will harden. Less coagulant produces softer tofu, more produces harder tofu. Pour the prepared coagulant solution slowly into the hot soya milk, while gently stirring the soya milk and allow the mixture to stand for 15 to 20 min. If there is still some milky area after adding all coagulant solution, mix some more to use. I also tried to add the calcium sulphate powder directly to the hot soy milk and that also worked!

Forming the tofu

forming tofuOnce all soya milk is separated into small white curds of tofu and an amber liquid, transfer this coagulated dispersion into a mould lined with cheese cloth. A small weight is placed on the lid of the container and allowed to sit for about 20 minutes. Empty the resulting block of tofu, which should be firm enough to hold together, into a tub of cold water, store it in the refrigerator and change soaking water daily. When you intend to eat the tofu the same day, or the day after, there is no need to store the tofu in water. To make tofu with extra texture, place it in a sealable container, cover with water and freeze. The tofu will have a more fibrous texture after thawing.


Tofu and Tofufa are different

Lilavati- thank you for meaning well, but unfortunately I think you have gotten the wrong end of the stick- tofu (beancurd) and tofu fa (Chinese soya beancurd custard/pudding/jelly) are two different things altogether. Gypsum has been the key ingredient in making tofu fa for centuries, and the method you described will not produce it.
Malaysian Tofufa fan - 23 May 1974

Make tofu with dehulled soybeans

That's also my experience. Dehulled soybeans will indeed make better soymilk. First of all, the hulls do not add much extract to the soymilk. Dehulled soybeans will therefore make stronger soymilk than whole soybeans, at least if you use the same quantity per liter of soymilk.. Secondly, soymilk from dehulled soybeans will have less beany taste. When you soak whole soybeans some soaking water will be trapped inside the hull. This soaking water has a beany taste and cannot be rinsed away.
Rob - 26 October 2013

CaCl2 as tofu coagulant

Has anyone used calcium chloride as a coagulant in tofu making? The only form in which i could get it here is a 10% injectable solution in 5mL ampules.
How much of this should I use?? (i am following the recipe in the Book of Tofu). Thanks!
kaia - 28 October 2013

CaCl2 as tofu coagulant

Are you a nurse??? Calcium chloride should be available at your local pharmacy, or at least they should be able order it for you!
Guest - 28 October 2013

tofu-fa recipe

I have few emails over the years enquiring about tofu-fa tips, so I check in here and found there weren't any such recipe, so here it is - the works!
Tofu-fa is a soft smooth curd, make from extracted soya milk and congulated with gypsum/corn flour, and serve with syrup fragance with pandan leaves. It is popular oriental dessert or morning tea, usually served warm. Other variations to the syrup are - ginger / brown sugar / dash of kaffir lime fragrance etc.

240g soyabeans
2000cc (72oz) water
1.5 teaspoon (flat) gypsum powder (eating type)
1.5 TABLEspoon (semi heap) corn flour

Ingredients - syrup
335g (12oz) sugar
335ml (12oz) water
3 pandan leaves or 1 drop pandan essense
Boil water, add leaves, and sugar and stir.
or Boil water, add sugar stir, add 1 drop pandan essense.

To make soyamilk.
1. Soak beans overnite (6-7hrs or till soft)
2. Blend soyabean with water, final soyamilk quantity must be 2000cc.
3. Take out 12oz from #2, mix and dissolve gypsum and cornflour.
4. Boil remainder of soyabean milk.
5. Into an empty pot, re-stir and pour in #3, then quickly pour in #4.
Note - #4 -> #5 - no wasting time OK!
6. Cover and leave it to cogulate. may take 1.5hrs - 3hrs.
7. Serve with above syrup. Serve Warm.
8. ** EnjoY **

Notes/fastfacts for newbies -
a. flat teaspoon means scoop a teaspoon full and use butter knife to run over the brim. Heap means scoop to full heap, semi heap - scoop and shake off till 1/2 of full heap.
b. blend soyabean - add some water, some bean and power on blender.
c. extract soyabean milk (manual method), use cotton cloth with good strength and porosity eg made in china smooth cotton T shirt, or sister's brand new plain nylon stockings (cut and knot at calf section). pour in blend mix, squeeze and turn into ball, the soyamilk is extracted. If the fabric porosity is too fine, the soya sediments stuck to the fabric mesh, some washing in plain water is required before repeating the extraction procedure. Some use fine metal sieve but maybe cumbersome handling the bubbly foam. I prefer nylon/silk as it strong to withstand squeeze and turning hence quicker to extract the soyamilk and easier to rinse off the stucked sediments and gives smoother quality product. Cloth size- 24inch x 24inch, put it against your face blow through it, if it feels easy to blow through the mesh is right!
d. gypsum/cornflour (ref #3) tend to quickly settle, so you need to RE-stir before hot pour.
e. Watch the boil in #4, stir with wooden spoon regularly to prevent sediment forming in the bottom of the pot. Once sediment form it may get burnt and will wreck the flavour. The instance the soyamilk boils, remove the pot off the element if not it will whooPPP and spill all over the stove.
f. Pour sequence. QUICK but CAREFUL. Restir #3, pour in empty pot. Immediately, Pour #4 in a swirl action, ie aim the pour stream tangential to the inner sides of the pot, this will mix and cook the #3 with #4. Becareful, practise with cold water and pour sequence first. Use a pot just right for the entire amount, the aim is to retain the pour temperature for as long as possible, to assist in the cogulation. The pot best to be insulated, eg cover with brother's woolies, or woodbarrel is best. Do NOT place pot overlow heat it will wreck the tofu-fa.
g. Place cotton cloth / towel over pot, before covering, this cloth will seal in the heat and also absorb water droplets instead of dripping into the product.
h. Use a think large metal spoon to scoop the tofu-fa. Usually there are liquid remaining after the cogulation, carefully remove them with the large spoon. Sometimes the surface have tiny bubble-like texture, use the large spoon to scoop few mm off and discard.
i. scoop layers and place in serving bowl, the tofu-fa is really delicate. Add syrup and serve.
(further experiments) - try adjusting the gypsum amount slightly (reduce) and increase the soyabeans amount - thicker milk content. Once you get the smooothness and texture you like, lock it in! Try tapioca flour, I am not sure if it works, any volunteers?
Ian - 28 November 2013

Making tofu

Hi Ian, I have to heartily disagree with your method of making tofu. Sorry but if everyone took your adive and used gypsum to set the tofu, they would end up with some very nasty stones in their gall bladders/livers.
I've been making excellent tofu for more than 10 years with either lemon juice or better still nigari (concentrated salt water). It sets perfecty with nothing else added. You just make the soya milk by soaking the beans overnight, liquidizing them in water, simmering for twenty minutes, straining the mik and adding the nigari a little a time to boiling hot milk until you see the curds and whey separate at which point seperate curd and whey and just press the tofu. That is all there is to it!
If anyone wants more indepth advice or help just ask me at
P.s. I strongly recommend you use organic soya beans, I noticed how different the result is.
Lilavati - 28 November 2013


there is a difference between tofu fa and just the soy milk..or even curds the way indians make it. Tofu Fa requires food grade gypsum powder. Try a reputable dim sum place and ask for tofu fa - they may have it sometimes, served hot - that's one way to see what it looks like - careful not to mistake it for soy jello.
Bec - 28 November 2013

Making tofu

FWIW, much of the store bought tofu and tofu fa are made with gypsum (calcium sulfate, terra alba).
Guest - 29 November 2013

Make tofu

Thanks for the recipe. Have been trying to find it for ages! ANyway, I think it should not be called "To make soyamilk" but "soya bean curd". I think to get the soyamilk, you don't need to add the step with gypsum. Just add the sugar syrup into the soyamilk right?
Zee - 29 November 2013

making tofu

i dont know why soymilk is automatically separated to water it the same you put salt but it happen while boiling and not reach 85 degree celcius so, the result to my tofu is very hard and easy broken.i dont know why?pls help me how to make perfect like before.
cesar san diego - 25 June 2014

soya milk smell

Hi.... can any body tell me how to remove soya milk bad smell???
moinuddin - 16 February 2015

Soya milk bad smell

Hi. You have to remove the outter coating of the soya beans once they are soaked over night. It is a lot of work but well worth it. You will need to strain it twice if you only want the milk. Can't relly make tofu once you strain it twice. I often find that using nigari makes your tofu with slightly sour/bitter taste. Not something I would enjoy in a soya pudding or on my firm tofu or silken ones.
Shan - 16 March 2015

not coagulated

I extracted milk and boiled the milk then i added five lemons and 1/2 tbs salt but it did coagulated rather turn into thick starch. Can some one explain why ?
afsar - 01 August 2015

not coagulated

How much liter soy milk did you make because 5 lemons seems quite a lot. Did you try to filter the "thick strach" on a cheese cloth? Maybe if will make nice tofu.
Rob - 01 August 2015

Tofu coagulants

I live in Brussels. Where can i buy calcium sulphate or magnesium chloride to make tofu.
Tofu1 - 21 January 2016

Tofu coagulants

You can get calcium sulphate from
Rob - 22 January 2016


pls take these step to make soya tofu. 1. sock soyabeans in watar 3 times of soybeans overnight, 2. clean the soyebean - 2-3 times, 3. Grind the beans in mixi with ading litile bit of water. 4. After grinding boil the mixtuer with adding 6 times of water (example- if 1 kg soyabeans 6 ltr watar) upto 30 min. Filter in a cotton cloth. Use sirka, lamon or Citric Acid for coagulat the milk and gently mix it. Leave the milke for 5-6 min. Again Filter in a Cloth and put some weight on it and after 5-10 min your tofu is ready.
PREM KUMAR - 29 January 2016

Tofu coagulants

Great, thanks so much Rob.
Tofu1 - 02 February 2016

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