I Made My Own Soymilk and I Hate Myself for It (Or, How to Make Soymilk From Scratch)

by Kate Noonan

“What are you, some kind of vegan Martha Stewart?” my friend shouted into the phone a few nights ago. I had just called her to confess that I was drinking a glass of soymilk. That I had made. From scratch.

Yes, I took on this laborious — although I must say, not difficult — task willingly. And it made me feel equal parts virtuous and obnoxious. And I would do it again (in fact, I have). I suggest you do, too.

Why make your own soymilk? Because the stuff you buy in the store just isn’t as good as the fresh stuff. Ever since I had a taste of the real thing, I’d been craving it. Apparently you can buy it in cities with decent Chinatowns, but as Baltimore’s bombed-out former up-and-coming version of Chinatown consists of little more than one restaurant, I had no choice but to make it myself.

It turns out that soymilk contains just two ingredients: soybeans and water. The process of transforming those things into milk is a lengthy one, but I swear it’s worth it. Unless, of course, you’re really into chocolate-flavored Silk soymilk, in which case you can probably stop reading now.

Here’s how to make enough to fill an old-timey glass milk bottle. (Because if you’re going to the trouble of making your own soymilk, you might as well put it in something that further communicates your superiority.)

Soak 1/2 cup soybeans (preferably organic, and if possible purchased at a co-op. If not at a co-op, then shoot for the most authentic Asian grocery you can find. If it has turtles and live fish swimming in little aquariums, it qualifies) in 1 cup water for 24 hours.

Transfer beans and liquid to a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and simmer covered for about an 1 hour over low heat. Check periodically to make sure not all of the liquid has been absorbed…you’ll need to add more water if it has.

Once the beans are tender, take the pan off the heat, reserve the cooking liquid, and remove the skins from the beans if desired. (This will make the milk creamier and whiter.)

Put the beans in a blender and blitz, adding 1/2 cup of water + the reserved cooking liquid slowly. Blend until it forms a paste that will look exactly like hummus. (Warning: it is not hummus. Do not be fooled.)

Next, bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add in the soybean paste and stir. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Drain the liquid through a cheesecloth (preferably free-trade) into a large bowl. Discard the solids and pour the milk into a bottle. Refrigerate and drink it all within 5 days.

Serve it hot or cold. You can even add a bit of sugar if you want, but you know you’re better than that.

Kate Noonan is a freelance writer from Baltimore, which in case you haven’t heard, is the new Brooklyn.