Tofu is perhaps one of the most famous and consumed soy-based foods in the world. The first traces of its preparation date back to China 2,000 years ago and from there it slowly spread over the entire eastern part of Asia, reaching us during the nineteenth century.
It contains proteins, minerals and iron and is relatively low in calories. It is known in western culture to be one of the main foods in vegetarian and vegan diets.
Tofu can be produced both in large industrial plants and at home. Basically the tofu production process involves:
the production of the soy drink, seen in the previous article;
the curdling of “milk”, one of the most delicate steps for the production of tofu and is made using coagulants. Usually these substances fall into three different categories: salt-based coagulants, such as calcium sulphate or calcium chloride. Acids, such as acetic acid and citric acid. Or, certain natural enzymes can also be used as coagulating agents;
the pressing of the rennet in the forms.
It can be consumed in various ways based on the preparation and the amount of water contained inside. The softest type and with the highest concentration of water is the so-called silk tofu, a food with a consistency similar to that of a pudding, this type should be consumed quickly because it tends to deteriorate within a few days and is obtained by avoiding any type of pressing o drying of the product that has just left the production process. Another method to consume tofu is to press it in order to let out a lot of water, obtaining a drier and more crumbly food. The production processes, the textures, the shades of color and the cooking methods vary greatly depending on the country of production and tradition.
Tofu is an integral part of Asian culture and one of the major uses of soy grown for human use, as well as a thriving food industry, highly developed both from the point of view of extension and volume and from the point of view of technological development. Not all varieties of soy are suitable for making tofu, usually only those with larger seeds and with the highest protein content are used for the production of this food. The choice of varieties is so important that some companies produce tofu only with one variety and exclusively.