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Making Soy Milk and Okara at Home

Making Soy Milk and Okara at Home
Pin for pinterest with overhead photo of soy milk with brown text box at bottom

I recently discovered that making my own soy milk was pretty easy.  It started out as a necessity because I have been unable to find a soy milk product in Peru that doesn’t have added sugar.  After realizing that it was relatively easy to make I created this recipe.  I’ve tried a couple different processes but the one I am giving you today I feel works the best.

Chia pudding in a glass jar on gray and white plate on top of burlap. Space is decorated with blueberries, cacao nibs, cinnamon sticks and star anise. In top right corner, small pitcher of milk is shown.
Use your homemade soy milk to make these delicious Mexican Chocolate Chia Puddings.
Pin for pinterest with overhead shot of soy milk in a pitcher and glass jar of soybeans

Soy milk is a plant-based alternative to cow’s milk.  I made the switch away from cow’s milk years ago due because I discovered a sensitivity to dairy that caused my skin to break out.  Since I made the change I have noticed a definite improvement in my skin. Most of the issue seemed to be caused by milk therefore, I continue to eat cheese and yogurt but in more limited amounts.

I primarily use the soy milk in my coffee each morning, but it also works well as an addition to smoothies or in a dessert, such as this Cinnamon Chili Cacao Chia Pudding.

pin for pinterest with front on photo of soy milk pitcher on burlap with scattered soy beans and text overlaid on photo

In my opinion, drinking plant-based milk has a positive effect on the environment.  Growing and processing soy beans has less impact on the environment than milk that comes from cows.

Photo of okara on mesh screen after liquid has been pressed out.
Okara after all liquid has been pressed out into bowl underneath.

Okara – the leftover solids

There is a by-product of making your own soy milk which is the solids left behind once you blend and strain the liquid off.  These solids are called okara and can be added to various recipes.

By adding them in, you boost the protein content of these foods.  So far my favorite are a homemade crackers flavored with fresh herbs and sea salt.  They make a great addition to a bowl of soup or alongside your favorite hummus as an afternoon snack.  However, you can also use them in making veggie burgers, add them to soups and much more.

The okara will keep in the refrigerator for about 2-3 days as well so be sure you cook with it within that time.  If for some reason, you don’t have time, the okara will freeze for up to six months.

Challenges to making fresh soy milk

The only downside to making your own soy milk is that it does have a much shorter shelf-life.  Remember it doesn’t have any preservatives added, so it will only last about 3 days.  I have created a small batch recipe that yields about 3 cups of milk and seems to be the perfect amount for just me.  If you want more, simply double the recipe.  The recipe also provides around 1 1/2  cup of okara as well.

Soybeans do contain anti-nutrients which are difficult for our stomachs to digest and in some instances can be toxic.  That is why it is important to cook the soy milk and the okara prior to ingesting them.  Eating raw soybeans causes short-term digestive issues, but there are also some potential long-term negative effects as well.

Soy milk does have a distinct flavor and even when drinking commercial brands, it takes some getting used to.  If you want to add vanilla flavoring to this recipe do so during the last cooking process.  I suggest starting with 1/2 teaspoon and increasing it to get it to the desired flavor.  I have mixed mine in most cases with another type of milk such as coconut milk in order to cover up the flavor just a bit.

Photo of dried soy bean jar from overhead.

Nutrition Info

Soy milk and okara are a healthy addition to a plant-based diet. Unlike other plant-based milks, soy milk naturally contains more protein per serving than other non-dairy milks.  An 8 oz serving of soy milk provides about 7 g of protein and the protein found in soy milk is complete, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids.  Soy milk also contains some antioxidant isoflavones that have been shown to demonstrate cardiovascular benefit.

It should also be noted that in most cases, the idea that soy products contain estrogen and may cause breast or thyroid cancers are myths that are rooted in data and research that is very old.  But of course, if your doctor has advised you to avoid soy products, then there are certainly other non-dairy milks available that are equally good.

The primary negative regarding making your own soy milk rather than buying a commercial product is that most products you can buy are fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 which are nutrients most commonly associated as a benefit to drinking cow’s milk.  Just remember that if you are making your own soy milk, you need to make sure you are consuming these nutrients in other foods and meals throughout the day.

They provide a host of health benefits such as…

Okara

A cup serving (122g) provides the following nutrients:

93 Calories
4.3 g Protein
15 g Carbohydrates
6 g Fiber
2 g Fat
9% Calcium
7%  Potassium
8% Iron
7% Magnesium
5% Vitamin B6

Soy Milk

A cup serving provides the following nutrients:

131 Calories
8 g Protein
15 g Carbohydrates
1.5 g Fiber
4.3 g Fat
6% Calcium
8% Potassium
8% Iron
10% Vitamin B6
15% Magnesium

Source:  USDA database

pitcher of soy milk with jar of dried soy beans on burlap

Soy Milk

Homemade soy milk without all the additives in the store-bought version.
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Course: Beverage
Keyword: homemade, plant-based, soy milk
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Soaking Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 3
Author: Lyn Croyle

Ingredients

  • ½ cup soy beans
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

  • Place soy beans and 2 cups of water in a container. Cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours.
  • After 12 hours, drain off the water keeping the soaking liquid.
    Drain water off of soaked beans.
  • Measure soaking liquid and add water to reach 4 cups in total. Place soy beans and 1 cup of water in a blender. Process the soy beans until the mixture is smooth.
  • Place soy beans and 1 cup of water in a blender. 
    Placing beans in the blender
  • Process the soy beans until the mixture is smooth.
  • Place the pureed soybeans in a pot with 2 cups of water. Place remaining 1 cup of water in the blender, swishing it around to remove all the pureed soybeans and add to pot.
    Pureed soy beans are in a pot ready to cook.
  • Cook the mixture for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. The milk will get pretty foamy so keep a close eye on so that it doesn’t boil over and make a mess.
  • When the time is up, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to slightly cool. Place the strainer over a bowl.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or a strainer/colander lined with cheesecloth. Use caution as mixture is hot and you don’t want to burn yourself.
  • Allow the mixture to strain and then press the soybean pulp with a spoon or spatula to squeeze out as much water as possible. Or if using a cheesecloth you can squeeze when it has cooled enough to handle.
  • Place the liquid back into a pot. Place it on the stove over medium heat and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. You can remove the foam or skin that forms on the top. Stir frequently to prevent the milk from sticking.
    Milk without solids is placed back in pot again to cook a second time.
  • When the milk has cooked for the allotted time, turn it off and allow it to cool. When it has cooled, pour it through the strainer again to remove any skin that may have formed.  Then transfer it to a glass container and store in the refrigerator. 

Notes

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:  Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
YIELD:  ½ cup of soybeans makes about 3 cups of soy milk and 1 1/2 cups of okara.
The soy milk will last about 3 days depending on the temperature of your refrigerator. Just remember that the milk doesn’t have any preservatives so it will definitely not last as long as commercial soy milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 8oz | Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 4.9mg

What do you think of making your own soy milk? Is there a benefit or is it simply too much trouble?  Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.  If you do find this recipe helpful and beneficial, please be sure to give it a 5-star rating in the recipe card.

And, don’t forget to check out the recipes for Rosemary Soy Crackers and Cinnamon Chili Cacao Chia Pudding using the milk and okara products that this recipe makes.

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