How to Make Tofu


This is Kawashima The Japan Store.

Making tofu is not difficult if you keep the temperature and procedures firmly.Freshly made tofu have deliciousness that can not be found when you normally buy tofu from supermarket or other sources.

The temperature of the soymilk adds the bitterness that can greatly influence the tofu quality.
The recipe from Kawashimaya is a summary under the advice of a tofu store. It would be nice to be one of your preference when making tofu.


Click here for ordering handmade tofu kit

Please enjoy making tofu at your favorite environment (home) at your own preference.
We will continue to revise this recipe.Therefore, please let us know if there are better methods and tools that are useful. Let's both hope to make a delicious tofu from this recipe.


Contents List





What to prepare for about 2 blocks of tofu serving:

Soybeans: about 280g Nigari (brine, a byproduct
of extracting salt from
sea water): 20ml

Tofu box Cloth (2 pieces for
filtering and finishing)


More convenient if you have:



Click here for ordering handmade tofu kit


How to Make Tofu

1. Clean the soybeans

Please clean the soybeans carefully in a bowl filled with water. Take of the soybean that has been eaten by a worm, and also wash off the soil and dirt.


2. Soak the soybean in the water

Soak the washed soybeans of about 3 times weight of the soybean in the water (840ml of water if you use 280g of soybeans.) When dried soybeans absorb water, its weight becomes 2.3 heavier and its volume becomes 2.6 times bigger.
This is the preparation process because the soaking process needs time.

The soaking time is different each seasons.
・At winter (water temperature about 0-5 degrees Celcius): 20 hours.
・At spring and fall (water temperature 10-15 degrees Celcius): 15 hours.
・At summer (water temperature 20-25 degrees Celcius): about 8-9 hours.

But the ideal time is 15 hours soaking at the water temperature of 15 degrees. This is the picture of soaked soybeans.


After being soaked in enough time, the soybeans are 2 to 3 times bigger. Take the soaked soybeans, and split it in a half with our nails. The soybean is well-soaked if there are pins and streaks in the middle of the part that is divided in a half.



3. Drain the water from the soaked soybeans

Transfer the soaked soybean to the strainer and drain it firmly.


4. Grind the soybeans

Put the soaked soybeans into a mixer and add approximately 6 cups of water (the water is 1.2 times the weight of soaked soybeans). Please divide this process into 3 times, and mixer it about 2 minutes each until smooth.

If you use mineral water and tap water, the taste of tofu will be mellow and delicious.



5. Simmer the soybean juice

Transfer the soybean juice from the mixer into a pan. Stir it gently at every edges so that it will not burn. Turn off the heat once it boils. When the bubbles settled down, simmer it again for a couple of minutes with a low heat.


6. Set the filtering cloth for the soybean

While simmering the soybean juice, set up the cloth for filtering process at the top of big bowl.


7. Scrape the soybean into the cloth

Boil the raw soybeans for 20-30 minutes, after that stop the fire and scoop the soybean into the cloth. Please use a spatula/big spoon because it is still hot.


8. Squeeze the soybean juice

Squeeze the cloth containing the soybean juice using spatula etc. The squeezed water is soybean milk. Let's squeeze it carefully because it is still hot. But don't squeeze it when it becomes cold, because it will be difficult to squeeze.

It may be squeezed with both hands as it gets cold. You can see there are two results: soybean milk (squeezed juice) and okara (soybean milk residue remaining on the cloth).



9. Warm the soymilk

Put the soymilk in a pot.

Let's warm the soymilk. Slowly warm it up until it reaches 75-80 degree Celcius. The temperature is very important at this point. If the temperature is too low, then the soymilk would not be set. But if the temperature is too high, then the soymilk will settle up to quickly.

Let's warm it while measuring the temperature using a thermometer.



10. Prepare the nigari

While warming the soymilk, melt the nigari with lukewarm water. When using the nigari from Kawashimaya tofu handmade kit, add 50ml of hot water of about 50 degree celcius to 20ml of nigari. Mix it well.

*The amount of nigari and lukewarm water varies depends on the concentration of the nigari.


11. Add the nigari

Add the melted nigari to the warmed soymilk. In this case, please pour the nigari slowly.

After finish pouring the nigari, let's stir gently 2-3 times. If you mixes too hard, the tofu will become a hard tofu. After that, steam for 20-30 minutes in a pot. Please cover the pot when steaming it. At about 10-15 minutes, the soymilk will hardened as a whole. *As the temperature decreases, the mass will become white and cloudy. Please slow down the temperature gradually at that time. The important point is to make the liquid transparent without turbidity.



12. Set the cloth in the tofu box

As the soymilk being hardened, place it in the tofu box with a cloth on it.

The tofu box needs to catch moistures coming from the bottom of the box. So, it is advised to put it on the tray etc. You can place a disposable chopstick or any other supporting objects under the box to leave the tofu box slightly raised from the bottom of the tray.


13. Pour the hardened soymilk into the tofu box

*The condition before being in the tofu box is called Yosetofu. You can taste Yosetofu as a dish too.


14. Put a heavy object above the tofu box

When pouring the hardened tofu into the tofu box, please push the lid. After that, put a heavy object (we use a glass cup with water on it). There will be a difference in tofu's hardness depending on the weight of the heavy objects. We advised to use 100-200g of water on a lightweight cup as the guide. Let's keep the heavy objects above the box for about 15-30 minutes.


15. The completion of tofu

When the tofu gets hardened, gently pull it out with the cloth on the box. Pull it out and place it into the water. After that, take the tofu in the finishing cloth. After 30 minutes soaked in the water, the nigari's scum will come out. However, you can eat delicious tofu even without having the scum pulled out.

Delicious tofu is ready to be serve!

Handmade tofu is very attractive with the original rich flavor and sweetness of the soybeans. Once you eat the handmade tofu, you probably won't get satisfied with the commercial tofu. Please try and enjoy making handmade tofu with your own preference!


Click here for ordering handmade tofu kit


How to Use Okara

After squeezing the soybean juice, Okara (the soymilk residue) can be deliciously fried with olive oil, together with chopped shiitake mushrooms and carrots, etc.



Highlights of Choosing Tofu Making Materials

Soybean that is suitable for making tofu


There are 2 following points when choosing soybean for making tofu:

1. Contain high sugar and protein.
2. Large grain soybean.

High protein bean has a large amount of protein reacting with coagulant. In addition, using large beans can reduce the scum which makes more delicious tofu.



Nigari that is suitable for making tofu


Let's also consider the suitable nigari for making tofu. Nigari refers to magnesium choride, which is the liquid remaining after taking salt out of sea water. It has been used as a hardening material for tofu from long ago.


The are two types of nigari: natural nigari made with sea water, and nigari made by chemically refining magnesium chloride. Chemically refined nigari does not contain minerals, so it can reduce the umami of tofu into a half. For making handmade tofu, please consider to use natural nigari made from sea water.


Water that is suitable for making tofu


Approximately, 80% of cotton tofu (momen tofu) is made of moisture. In making tofu, we need to choose the water correctly to make a delicious tofu.

For tofu making, let's use water that feels "mellow" when we drink it. Hard water (water that has a high mineral content) is not good for making tofu. The water with pH around 7.6-7 is said to be the most suitable for making tofu.


Click here for ordering handmade tofu kit


Recommended Product for Making Tofu

Handmade Tofu Kit
Kawashimaya's original tofu handmade kit. One set contains: one tofu box, Toyomasari's organic soybean 500g, Oshima's Seawater Nigari 200ml, Cloths for making tofu, and Recipe for making tofu. Rather than buying the materials separately, we suggest you buy this all-in-one set!
Country Origin: Japan
Product Page
Suitable for Making Tofu!
The Hokkaido Prefecture's "Toyomasari" Organic Soybean 500g
It is an organic, pesticide-free, and no chemical fertilizer cultivation soybean from Hokkaido's Prefecture. Made in Makubetsu-cho, Hokkaido for mode than 30 years. This soybean is very suitable for making handmade tofu, miso, and natto!
Country Origin: Japan
Product Page
Seawater Nigari 200ml
This nigari is very suitable for tofu making. Made by seawater, contains abundant content of natural mineral. This product is also used by popular tofu restaurants!
Country Origin: Japan
Product Page
Tofu Box (100% Tofu Box Type from Owase Hinoki Tree, Kishu City)
A mold tofu box using the highest brand of "Hinoki Owase" in Hinoki. Crafted carefully by specialized craftsmen one by one.
Country Origin: Japan
Product Page
Plastic Tofu Box
A mold box for handmade tofu made by plastic. Because it is made by plastic, there is less worry for molds compared with the wooden mold boxes. It is also lightweight and easy to handle.
Country Origin: Japan
Product Page
Tofu-Making Cloth Set
It is a set of textile product in specialty shop for food in Niigata Prefecture. The bag size is 33cm wide x 40cm long. Please make use of it for homemade tofu making.
Country Origin: Japan
Product Page