I only got around to try soy and its by-products after I married and moved to the US. Never actually had soy at home, my mom didn’t cook with it, but my culinary curiosity would not let me alone if I did not try the many different ingredients I came face to face here in the US.
Among the ton of different stuff I found at the American grocery stores there was soy, in various forms, from beans and curds, to milk and cheeses. Soy burgers and even soy crumbles were on my list to try. And little by little I went trough my list and actually got to appreciate most of the previously mentioned items.
I ended up really liking soy burgers, and even more the so delicious edamame, yummy, now that is something I really love now. I also enjoyed trying tofu, and have been experimenting with it a lot lately, and decided that vanilla flavored soymilk is also delicious as well! (I use it almost daily in my fruit smoothies and blended concoctions!)
Besides my adventurous taste buds, I also got to meet, although yet only virtually, some nice girls that also enjoy soy, and that actually had a lot more experience with it and contact with soy through out their life. Karen and Akemi were the ones that inspired me to get my hands on some soybeans and get to work with them at home!
So, after reading their posts, seeing their nice pictures, and drooling over their baked goods at their blogs, I went ahead and adventured myself in some soy experimentation this past week. And it was so worth it!
I had the beans for some time, having bought them thinking about cooking them myself, but they ended up being transformed into soymilk, and the residue that was left over from the milk production, called okara.
Homemade soymilk, Wow, even I can’t believe I made that myself yet. It came out good, and even thicker than the ones I buy at the store. Now, I won’t lie here, I do not really enjoy the soymilk “as is”, so to suit my tastes it does have to be sweetened, or flavored with cocoa (or nesquick), then I can call it good stuff!
With the milk I got a bonus: the okara; basically the processed soybeans that was leftover after being cooked for the milk making procedure. From what I found out, the okara is very nutritious, so I went ahead and followed the lead of my friends and tried out Akemi’s recipe for Okara Bread. And Oh Boy, now this was good!
I made little rolls with the recipe (just so that it would be easy to freeze), and they came out super moist and delicious, both my husband and my son loved the bread and we all came to a consensus declaring that this was one of the best recipe for rolls that I have made. It was just perfect warm out of the oven with a little butter, good, really good!
Here I am again sneaking soy into the boys, sneaking yes, because I never mentioned the okara being in the bread, of course!
I am not sure I will make soy milk again (just because I really like the one I get at the store!), although I will definitely look for the ready okara at Asian markets in order to make more bread and try out more recipes with it, but this was definitely worth trying, the whole process, very fulfilling to my culinary enrichment. Learning new things is always good to me, especially when there is some cooking involved!
So here I leave you with Karen’s recipe for soymilk and Akemi’s recipe for the okara Bread. Thank you guys, both for leading me out to such good food experience!
Karen’s Soy Milk
300 grams soybeans
About 3 liters water
Soak the beans in water overnight; they will soften and get swollen.
On the next day put 1 liter of water in a big pan and bring it to a boil.
While the water comes to the boil, process the soybeans in a blender, adding the water that it was soaked as necessary.
Add the processed soybean mixture to the boiling water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the mixture reaches the boil, turn of the heat and let it cool down in the pan. After cooled, strain the milk using either cheesecloth or a very fine sieve. The liquid is your Soymilk, and the residue left in the cloth (or sieve) is the okara.
Akemi’s Oakara Bread
For the sponge: In a large bowl combine together 10 grams dry yeast, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup warm water (100 to 110 F). Let stand for 15 minutes.
¼ cup oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups okara
3 to 4 cups flour
Add oil, sugar, salt and okara to the sponge after it bloomed. Mix well together and then start adding flour to the mixture, ½ cup at a time, until you get a smooth dough that doesn’t stick to your hands (you may or may not need all the flour). Put the dough on a bowl, cover with plastic and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Shape dough into desired shape, place it on greased baking sheet and let it rise for 20 more minutes. Bake bread at 350F for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size of your bread.
Note: I baked mine in muffin tins and it took 20 minutes total. Also, the recipe did not say anything, but I brushed my rolls with egg wash before baking.