Organic silk tofu is smooth and silky in texture.
History of Tofu
There are several legends about who first created tofu.
Tofu Created In China
Credit is given to Lord Liu An of the Han Dynasty who in 164 BC supposedly created the first tofu.
Another story claims tofu was the result of an experiment to attempt curdling soymilk like the Mongolians did cow's milk. Rufu is the Mongolian word for spoiled milk.
The last story is probably the most probable. It claims tofu was an accidental creation caused by mixing boiled soybeans (a typical soup mixture) with sea salt. The salt caused the soy milk to curdle and the end product was tofu.
Tofu in Japan
In the 700s, Japanese priests who were studying Buddhism in China brought tofu back to Japan. It became a protein staple and was introduced into the diets of the samurai and nobility. It wasn't until the 1600s that the common class began to eat tofu.
Tofu in the Western World
Although tofu was known to the western civilization as early as the 1700s, it wasn't until the late 1800s that western people began eating it.
Types of Tofu
There are three basic types of tofu.
- Extra Firm
- Soft or Silk
Organic Silk Tofu: How It's Made
The manufacturing process is what makes silk tofu different from the other types of tofu. Silk tofu contains a higher content of moisture. Its texture is glossy and similar to that of rich custard. In Japan, silk tofu is made using seawater for the coagulant.
Use Dried Soybeans
Most processes use dried soybeans which are soaked in water until they are reconstituted to normal bean size. The beans are then mashed until easily strained with the end result being soymilk.
Coagulating or Curdling the Soymilk
The soymilk is coagulated with one of several coagulants. The most common coagulants are calcium sulfate, magnesium chloride and glucono delta lactone (GDL)
- Calcium sulfate is a natural crystalline stone. Once dug out from a mountain it's baked and then crushed into a powder. There's no need for any chemical processing in its production.
- Magnesium Chloride is a natural derivative of seawater created during the salt extraction process.
- GDL (Glucono Delta Lactone) is another natural food additive that has an acidic property for transforming tofu into a gel texture. It's commonly found in honey, wine and fruit juices.
Dividing Curds from Milk
Once the soymilk forms curds, the curds are separated from the mixture and pressed into molds (traditionally wooden). The molds are lined with cloth to help wick some of the moisture away from the curds.
How It Becomes Silk Tofu
Unlike the production of firm and extra firm tofu, silk tofu molds aren't perforated. Firm and extra firm tofu are weighted down from the top in order to press moisture from the curds and give the tofu firmness. The weights aren't used in silk tofu production. It's the omission of these two steps in the tofu production that gives silk tofu its moisture and softness.
Silk Tofu Uses
The uses for silk tofu are very different from the uses of the firm and extra firm tofu.
- In combinations with hot sauces
- Substitute for sour cream
- Cream pies
- Creamy dessert
- Smoothies or shakes
Other Kinds of Silk Tofu
It may surprise you to learn there are other kinds of silk tofu that's used for specific recipes.Black Douhau Silk Tofu
- Black Soybeans. Texture of gelatin instead of regular silk tofu. Used mostly in dessert recipes. Has a black bean flavor and gray color.
Edamame Silk Tofu
- Japanese fresh green soybean. Pale green color. Used to make ice creams, dips and other sauces.
Warnings about Organic Soybeans
Many of the soybeans being grown in the United States have been genetically altered in an effort to create a stronger plant that's pest and herbicide resistant. The demand for soybeans has outgrown the supply and American soybean farms have turned to China, Brazil and other foreign countries for soybeans.
China is of great concern due to the various contamination issues surrounding its food production. The concern over Brazilian soybeans is because of an increase in the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in an effort to clear more land for soybean production.
Trusting the Organic Certification Seal
Even when you purchase certified organic products you can still be deceived as the recent call for a boycott of two of the largest organic companies, Horizon (parent company Dean Foods) and Aurora, by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) demonstrates. Thanks to watchdog agencies and organizations, consumers were alerted when Dean Foods began importing soy for their White Wave Tofu and Silk soymilk from China and Brazil. This warning was issued because both of these countries have a history of violating various standards for both environmental food production and fair trade workers' rights.
Understanding Organic Labeling
- The only products completely produced by using organic methods and ingredients
- Product contains about 95% organic ingredients
Made With Organic Ingredients
- Only 70% organic ingredients
Make Your Own Tofu
You may want to try making your own tofu. It can be a fun family project. You can either purchase known organic non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) or non-GEO (Genetically Engineered Organism) soybeans or grow your own soybeans. You can make soymilk by using a soy milk maker.
- You can also purchase the Natural Tofu Coagulator
Choosing Organic Tofu
You are now armed with information to help you select organic silk tofu and add a great new food to your diet.