The What and How of Tofu Production
Today’s shopper seeks greater transparency to how food items are grown and produced, creating exciting opportunities for retail dietitians to engage with shoppers on the quality, safety, and sustainability of foods and their ingredients. As the plant-based eating trend continues to grow, consider sharing the following insights on tofu production with your shoppers.
The first step in making House Foods tofu is acquiring the soybeans. House Foods uses only Non-GMO soybeans to ensure products are made with the highest quality. Each batch of soybeans is tested by Quality Control, and if GMO contamination is detected, the batch will be rejected. Promoting local U.S. farms along with top quality assurance is why the soybeans are sourced strictly from the U.S. as opposed to sourcing from other countries. Additionally, they look for soybeans with the highest protein content, as they are best for making tofu. The acquired soybeans are then added to a water-filled tank to spend the next ten to thirteen hours soaking.
Once the soybeans are finished soaking, they are ground to a slurry (a thin mixture of an insoluble substance) and heated. Grinding makes protein extraction easy, while the heating process pasteurizes the slurry and allows for a better coagulation of proteins. Solid matter and soy pulp (okara) are then separated, resulting in smooth and silky soymilk.
Next, the soymilk is mixed with calcium salt and other coagulants to form a thickened mass, resulting into curd form. Tofu curds are broken up and smoothed out into a cloth-lined box. This box is then pressed to eliminate excess water. A firmer block of tofu results from an increase in pressure during the pressing process, as well as adjusting the coagulant to include calcium chloride. However, soft (silken) tofu is not pressed. It’s made by coagulating thicker soymilk.
Once pressed, the tofu box is pushed through a large machine to be cut into perfectly sized rectangles and packed into cartons filled with water. It’s then thermally sealed with the House Foods label and pasteurized in a boil-cool pasteurizing machine. The machines continuously heats and cools the tofu to ensure that it stays fresher for a longer period of time.