Tofu can be purchased overseas as well. In Finland, where the vegan diet is booming, a variety of products with the name “tofu” are being sold one after another. However, it is still a little different from the tofu that Japanese people imagine.
The hardest part of making tofu by yourself is making the soy milk. In Japan, non-adjusted soy milk is readily available. But of course, this is not the case in Finland.
So, is it possible to make tofu with adjusted soy milk?
Adjusted Soy Milk Should Also Make Tofu
I used to try to make tofu from Finnish soy milk using a Japanese recipe. However, it did not harden well and I could not make the tofu I had imagined. I gradually came to understand the reason for this “not hardening well” by summarizing the hardening mechanism.
Differences in Soy Milk
First, let’s check the definition of non-adjusted or adjusted soy milk in Japan.
Quote and Translate
Non-adjusted soy milk is soy milk that contains no ingredients other than soybeans and has a soy solids content of 8% or higher.
Adjusted soy milk is soy milk liquid with vegetable oil and fat, sugar, salt and other seasonings added to make it easier to drink, and has a soy solids content of 6% or more.
Soymilk beverages are prepared soymilk flavored with fruit juice or flavoring, and contain 4% or more soybean solids, or 2% or more soybean solids with fruit juice.無調整豆乳、調製豆乳、豆乳飲料の違いは何ですか。｜コープ商品のＱ＆Ａ｜お問い合わせ｜コープ商品サイト｜日本生活協同組合連合会無調整豆乳、調製豆乳、豆乳飲料の違いは何ですか。
Soy milk in Japan is classified according to its “soybean solids content”. What is soybean solids content?
Quote and Translate
Soybean solids content is expressed as a percentage of the remainder of the water skimmed from the soy milk used.豆乳Q&A | 日本豆乳協会日本豆乳協会のホームページでは、豆乳についての紹介や豆乳のレシピ、イベント情報など役立つ情報をご提供しています。
Soy Milk Overseas
Finnish soy milk is labeled as sweetened or not, but not as adjusted or non adjusted soy milk. And even unsweetened soy milk has different ingredients depending on the product.
The picture above shows the main types of soy milk available in Finland.
Pirkka’s soy milk
On the left, Pirkka’s soy milk is made from only water and soybeans. It is made with 7.2% soybeans, which means that it is not quite unadjusted soy milk, but it is pretty close.
Lidl’s soy milk
In the middle, Lidl’s soy milk is made from water, soybeans, seaweed, and salt. The seaweed is supposed to act like gellan gum, a stabilizer also found in alpro soy milk. It is made with 9.7% soybeans, so it has a rich taste.
alpro’s soy milk
On the right, the ingredients of alpro’s soy milk are water, soybeans, pH adjusters, stabilizers, and vitamins. pH adjusters are potassium phosphate and calcium carbonate, and stabilizers are gellan gum. It is made from 8.7% soybeans, which is also thicker because of the stabilizers.
Incidentally, this “**% soybean” is almost the same as the Japanese “soybean solids content”. Checking the ingredients label, we find the following
- Pirkka’s soy milk: soy 7.2% = 3.2g/100mL
- Japanese non-adjusted soy milk: Soybean solids >8% = 4.2g/100g protein
- Japanese adjusted soy milk: 7% soy solids = 3.5g/100g protein
Not Only Protein Content is Important
When I tried to make tofu before, using Finnish soy milk and a Japanese recipe, it didn’t harden well. At the time, I thought it must have been the protein content that was lacking. However, upon closer inspection, I found that the amount of protein was not much different from that of the Japanese one.
I looked into the mechanism of food solidification and came up with an idea. The reason why soy milk didn’t solidify was because it had stabilizers in it. If the stabilizer was the reason why it didn’t harden, then there must be some way to make it harden.