Making Bean Curd

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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To make bean curd, cooked soy milk is cooled to about 175°F/78°C, then coagulated with calcium or magnesium salts dissolved in a small amount of water. The coagulation takes 8–30 minutes. When the delicate, cloud-like curds have formed, the remaining “whey” is ladled off, or the curd is broken up to release water and drained. The resulting mass is then pressed for 15–25 minutes while still quite hot, around 160°F/70°C, in order to form a cohesive mass that’s around 85% water, 8% protein, and 4% oil. In commercial production, the curd is cut into blocks, packaged in water, and the packages pasteurized by immersion in hot water.