Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting the 'beany' taste out of homemade soy milk

Or how to make homemade soy milk taste better!

There are tons of people that love the taste of homemade soy milk.  I'm not one of them.  I thought it was awful and I really am one of those 'it's so much better when it's homemade' type people.  I researched over the course of a few days, but what really stood out was that over soaking your soy beans made them taste bland and flat.

Hey, that's what I want.  Here's what worked for me:

I put 1/2 cup of soybeans in a quart mason jar, added plenty of water and put them in the frig.  They hung out there for 2 full days - a full 48 hours.  Periodically I'd drain off the water and add fresh water (morning and before bedtime, maybe once or twice during the day).

Cooking day:  I drained off the water, dumped the soybeans in a pot, added fresh water and 1/4 tsp of baking soda.  I boiled the beans for 10 minutes.  Then I drained them, added fresh water and another 1/4 tsp of baking soda.  Again, I heated to a boil and boiled them for 10 minutes.

I drained them, added fresh water and boiled for an hour and a half.  After an hour, the beans were done and there wasn't too much flavor to them.  I was just being anal about over cooking them.  Next time I'll stop at one hour.

Anyway, I drained the beans, and then processed them in small batches in my Magic Bullet pitcher, adding fresh water.  The resulting milk was almost impossible to strain as the bean pulp was more like flour.  I finally gave up and just added the rest of it to the pitcher. 

I do add sugar and some vanilla to my plant milks.  Bingo!  Good stuff, doesn't taste beany at all.  There still is a slight soybean fragrance if you give it a sniff test first.

That half cup of soybeans swelled to 1-1/2 cups during soaking.  I think I used 4-1/2 cups of water when I processed the beans and I like the consistency of the milk.  It's not too watered down.  I also did not remove the skins from the soybeans.  I put the strained bean pulp into an ice cube tray and popped it in the freezer.  I'll use it later in baked goods.

Added 12-5
I read somewhere that if you add 3 Tbsp of barley malt, your soy milk will taste more like purchased soy milk.  I haven't tried it, I don't even know where you can get barley malt.  Let me know if it you use it.


  1. Hi. I just discovered your site and appreciate the soy milk advice. I'm wondering if you are still making it yourself and if you have any additional words of soy milk wisdom. I've recently started making soy milk at home. I've made two batches so far, but the beany taste is so unpleasant to me. One method I tried was to microwave the beans for two minutes after the soaking time, but before blending. It helped a little, I guess. But still not the flavor I was hoping for. I love Silk unsweetened brand. I'm not sure if I'll be able to reproduce that taste, but that's the goal. Thanks again! Rachel

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I still make soy milk occasionally. I do the 48 hour soak, changing the water frequently. 30 minutes to one hour is plenty of cook time for me now - I don't always set the timer. I honestly think the long soak with water changes helps remove that strong bean taste the most.
      I never have bought Silk, but everything I have read said that homemade soy milk will never taste like Silk. Most added that Silk didn't taste anything like true soy milk. But if you come up with an easier way to make a mild soy milk, I'd be really interested. The microwave would sure speed things along.

  2. I added some powdered peanut butter (about a tsp to a bowl of my homemade soy milk) and I found it really improved the taste! More of the nutty flavor that I like from Silk soymilk.

  3. Thank you for this article. I have been trying over and over again to get a mild flavor from our homemade soy milk (we're USA soy drinkers: 8th Continent/Silk type brands). We love it so much, but it's getting too expensive. No one tells you in these recipes how strong that bean flavor can be in homemade soy milk! Anyway, I tried your method (without the 24 hour initial soaking, that seemed over board to me). So I started with 1/2 c. dry beans (a small test batch for my family of 5) brought to a boil for 10 min. w/ 1/2 t. baking soda, thoroughly rinsed, repeated 1 more time. Then boiled again (3rd time), this time for 1 hour (also with 1/2 t. baking soda). thoroughly rinsed, put them in my blender with water at a 1:2 ratio. Strained with a nut milk bag. BOY! This was PERFECT! Nice and mild! Absolutely what I've been looking for! Thank you so, so much! You've saved our family a TON of money with this article!

  4. You do realize that after doing all that soaking, boiling, pouring the water down the drain, all you have left is some starch? You're pouring all the nutrents down the drain

    Instead of soy milk, how about making coconut almond milk with raw coconut and raw almonds. No soaking, just grind up a handful of each in a high speed blender in a quart of water, strain through a nut milk bag, add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sweetner, and stick in the fridge.

  5. Non-Beany Tasting Soymilk Recipe:

    The ONLY way I have ever found to NOT get beany tasting soymilk is:
    1. Boil on low - 2 cup of unsoaked soybeans for 1.5 hours to 2 hours.
    2. Remove and rinse - skins on/off, doesn't matter.
    3. Put half of the cooked soybeans in blender with 5 cups water (or less if you water stronger soymilk) and blend for a few minutes.
    4. Strain through a cut off and tied panty hose leg piece a few times (stretch over a bowl, tied end down). *Even the finest wire mesh is not fine enough.
    5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining cooked beans.
    6. That's it! Makes about 2 quarts.

    I have not tried this recipe yet, but it seems like a lot more steps:
    According to this article:
    The best way to eliminate “beany” flavor and maximize nutrition is as follows:
    1. Soak the beans overnight.
    2. The next day handle them carefully because any injury to the beans releases the LOX group of enzymes that is responsible for creating the “beany” flavor which is actually due to free radicals formed by the enzymes. Toss out the soak water.
    3. Boil the whole beans in a 10:1 water:bean ratio by weight for no more than 10 minutes. This will inactivate the LOX enzymes. Scoop the scum off the top of the water.
    4. Pour the beans and water into a sturdy blender and blend on high for at least a minute.
    5. Pour contents of blender into a pot and boil for at least 20-30 minutes. This will further inactivate/destroy anti-nutrients such as trypsin inhibitor.
    6. Strain through multiple layers of cheesecloth into an airtight, sealed glass container and either drink immediately or refrigerate.
    7. Soymilk should keep for about 1 week. Maybe up to two weeks.