So what is tofu anyway?
You know those little green edamame pods we all love snacking on? Well, tofu is not made from those (those are little baby soybeans), but wait a while longer and they will mature out of their green phase, making them ripe for a life as a delicious block of tofu. The soybeans in tofu team up with anti-oxidants and these protein packed cubes have been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of cardio vascular diseases. Soybean based protein, like tofu, is one of the few plant based proteins that contain all of the essential amino acids we need to stay healthy. If being a complete protein isn’t enough reason for you to give tofu a try then consider the following:
House Foods Tofu is also:
- Made from 100% US soybeans
- Non-GMO verified
- Gluten-free certified
- Kosher certified
- Cholesterol free, with virtually no unsaturated fats
- Rich in minerals (calcium and iron)
- Easy to prepare
- Tasty in a wide variety of dishes (including: sweet, spicy, savory, sour)
- Climbing the ladder of popular mainstream foods
Tofu is as old as the Romans, The Great Wall and the first Peruvian clay pots! It was first seen in China and the most widely accepted theory maintains that it was developed by Liu An, a Han Dynasty prince who lived in Northern China from 179 BC to 122 BC. Since then, we have switched production from Chinese royalty to modern machinery, but we think it tastes better this way!
It’s a good thing China didn’t give away their not-so-secret tofu recipe because tofu has come back in style again and again since its Asian origination. We at House Foods are happy to say that while we have mechanized our process, we have weaved within it some traditional tofu production methods.
1. Soybeans Selection
The first step is acquiring the soybeans. We only use Non-GMO soybeans grown in the U.S. Each batch of soybeans we receive is tested by our Quality Control department, and if the GMO contamination is detected, the batch of soybeans will be rejected. We also look for soybeans with the highest protein content, as they are the best for making tofu.
Those beans that make it through our acquisition process go on to our soaking round and spend the next 10 to 13 hours in a tank filled with water.
3. Grinding and Filtration
After a prescribed amount of water is added to the soybeans, they are ground to slurry (a thin mixture of an insoluble substance) in order to make the extraction of protein easy, then are heated. The heating process eliminates soybean odor while pasteurizing the slurry and allowing for a better coagulation of proteins.
In the filtration phase, the solid matter and soy pulp (okara) are seperated, resulting in smooth soymilk.
The soymilk must then begin a trnasformation during the coagulation phase. It becomes a thickened mass when mixed with calcium salt and other coagulants, resulting in the coagulatioon of soymilk into curd form.
The tofu curds are broken up into a cloth-lined box.
The box is then pressed to eliminate excess water. The harder and the longer the tofu curds are pressed, the firmer they get, resulting in varying tofu firmness levels. Soft (silken) tofu is made by coagulating thicker soymilk, not by pressing.
After being pressed, the tofu box is then pushed through a large machine to be cut into perfect sized rectangles.
Once the tofu is cut, it is packed into convenient packages filled with water. It is then thermally sealed with the House Foods label.
After the tofu is packaged and labeled, it is pasteurized in a boil-cool pasteurizing machine. It continuously heats the tofu, followed by an immediate cooling process. This ensures that our tofu stays fresher for a longer period of time.