4 out of 4 stars
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Since the 1970s, tofu has become a staple plant-based protein in the United States because of its low cost, versatility, and nutritional value. When Iris Blume discovered she had high cholesterol, she adopted a plant-based diet, free from cholesterol-causing animal products. Blume lives in rural Alaska where fish and game are standard fare and health foods are scarce. Tofu, a staple for vegans, was not available in her town, so she decided to learn how to make it herself.
In Tofu From Scratch, Blume distills her experimentations into a cohesive, step-by-step guide to making homemade soy milk and tofu. She includes over twenty-five additional recipes for her favorite vegan marinades and sauces, and other delectables, such as sweet and sour tofu, tofu coconut curry, tofu sushi, and even tofu chocolate mousse. A section on the history and science of tofu follows the recipes, and a resources section rounds out the book. Who knew Benjamin Franklin was the first person to make tofu in the United States?
What is tofu, anyway? It’s a spongy, high-protein product that results from processing soy milk. Making good, healthy tofu, Blume emphasizes, depends on the quality of its primary ingredient, the soy milk. Homemade organic soy milk is best. The soy milk recipe requires a commitment of time and energy or an investment in a soy milk maker. Making the block-shaped tofu product involves a couple of specialized tools, including a tofu mold.
Tofu From Scratch is beautifully presented, with the bulk of the information pertaining to the process of making the tofu: the materials, ingredients, and methods. The information is presented concisely and professionally and includes a series of quality, instructive photos detailing the whole process. I could tell Blume’s methods were time-tested, as she includes many tips and tricks to avoid making beginner mistakes. My only small critique is that the font used for the recipe titles shows very faintly on my Kindle version. This made it somewhat challenging to browse through to find a certain recipe because other font types, sizes and formats overshadowed the recipe titles. It appears the book was professionally edited, as I found only two small typos.
Iris Blume lost thirty pounds and brought her cholesterol into the normal range with a vegan diet. Having spent two years as a raw-foods vegan, I can attest to the health benefits of plant-based diets. Even if you do live near a city with plenty of health food options, there are still good reasons to consider making tofu from scratch: It requires a small investment in a few tools initially, but over the long term homemade tofu is cheaper, tastier, cleaner, and more nutritious. I rate Tofu From Scratch: A Beginner’s Guide for Vegans 4 out of 4 stars. It is the second book in Blume’s Vegan in the Wilderness Mini-Series. Health food chefs and home cooks alike will appreciate this elegant cookbook for its clarity and simplicity. I am encouraged to become more savvy about tofu as a healthy protein source and will seriously consider placing a tofu mold in the cabinet next to my Vitamix.
Tofu From Scratch
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