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What is soy milk?

Soy milk is made by soaking soybeans, grinding them with water. The fluid which results after straining is called soy milk. You can make soy milk at home with basic kitchen tools or with a soy milk machine. Soy milk is most commonly found in aseptic cartons. Most of the soy milk available in the market is flavoured and fortified with extra calcium or vitamins. The most popular flavours are vanilla and chocolate. Some producers add thickeners to their soy milk to give it a mouth feel of cow's milk. Traditionally, soy milk has a beany taste which is well accepted by the Chinese, but less by the Western palate. By using correct processing techniques, this beany taste can be reduced or eliminated. Recently, with the recognition of its health benefits and with its improved flavor and texture, soy milk has now a high and rising acceptance. Sometimes, use is made of protein isolates from soy bean which are mixed with water, oils, sugars, stabilisers to give it a milky appearance. This type of product is not as wholesome as real soy milk. In Europe, legislation prohibits soy milk manaufacturers to label their product as soy milk. Often they use the denomination soy drink.

Making your own soy milk


In China and Japan fresh soy milk is made daily using a simple, centuries-old process of grinding soaked soybeans and pressing the soy milk out of the beans. There, soy milk is sold by street vendors or in cafes. Soy milk is served hot or cold and is often flavored with soy sauce and vegetables to produce a spicy soup. Many people find the cost of commercial soymilk to be prohibitive and make soy milk at home. They soak and crush soy beans and filter the liquid, which is soy milk. Some have invested in a soy milk machine that cooks and grinds the soy beans and makes soy milk, fresh in your own home. There are different brands of soy milk machines on the market (Miracle Soy Wonder, SoyJoy Automatic Soy Milk Maker, SoyToy Soy Milk Machine, Soyapower). You don't need these machines to make good quality soy milk, but they make life easier and give a high yield.

Nutritional values of soy milk


Plain soy milk is very nutritive: it's an excellent source of high quality proteins, isoflavones and B-vitamins. Soy milk is free of the milk sugar (lactose) and is a good choice for people who are lactose intolerant. Also, it is a good alternative to those who are allergic the proteins of cow's milk.

History of soy milk

The oldest evidence of soy milk production is a Chinese mural incised on a stone slab. It shows a kitchen scene that proves that soy milk and tofu were being made in China during the period A.D. 25-220. The oldest written reference to soy milk appeared in also in China at about A.D. 1500., in a poem "Ode to Tofu" by Su Ping. The earliest European reference to soy milk was in 1665 by Domingo Fernandez de Navarrete and in 1790 by Juan de Loureiro, a Portuguese missionary who lived in Vietnam. All these early references to soy milk only mentioned soy milk as part of the process for making tofu. Only 1866, Frenchman Paul Champion, who had traveled in China, mentioned that the Chinese drank hot soy milk for breakfast.

Soy milk was first referred to in the United States by Henry Trimble in 1896 in the American Journal of Pharmacy. In 1910, Li Yu-ying, a Chinese living in Paris founded the world's first soymilk factory. In 1917, the first commercial soymilk in the US was produced J.A. Chard Soy Products in New York. The first calcium fortified soy milk was produced in 1931 by Madison Foods, Tennessee. This Madison Foods company was run by the faculty of the Madison College. In 1939 Miller started to produce canned liquid soy milk, which was called Soya La, because the dairy industries prevented Miller from calling the product "soy milk".

Benefits of Soy Milk


As the taste of commercial soy milk improves more and more people are drinking it as enjoyment. But many people drink soy milk for the added health benefits. So what are the benefits of drinking soy milk as compared to cows milk?

Benefit 1: Soy milk contains only vegetables proteins


Vegetable proteins have the advantage that they cause less loss of calcium through the kidneys. It is known that a diet rich in animal (and dairy protein) creates a higher risk for osteoporosis.

Benefit 2: Soy milk contains no lactose


About 75 percent of the world population cannot tolerate lactose. Some ethnic groups are more affected than others. For example 75 percent of Africans and 90 percent of Asians have lactose intolerance. As an additional benefit, soy milk contains the prebiotic sugars stachyose and raffinose. These prebiotic sugars boost immunity and help decrease toxic substances in the body.

Benefit 3: Fewer people are allergic to soy milk

Only 0.5 percent of the children are allergic to soy milk, whereas 2.5 percent is allergic to cows milk.

Benefit 4: Soy milk reduces cholesterol


The saturated fats in cows milk are unhealthy and increase your cholesterol. The protein in cows milk has no benefits for the cholesterol. Soy protein can decrease cholesterol levels. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration of US) confirms that soy protein, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart. The FDA recommends to incorporate 25 grams of soy protein in your daily meals.

Benefit 5: Soy milk contains no hormones


Cows milk contains natural hormones (from the cow) but also synthetic hormones, which can influence the good working of our own body. The synthetic hormone rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) increase milk production by as much as 20 percent.

Benefit 6: Soy milk does not cause insulin dependent diabetes


Although no general consensus exists among scientists, some studies have shown an association between drinking cow's milk in early life and the development of insulin dependent diabetes. This association does not exist with soy milk.

Benefit 7: Soy milk is rich in isoflavones


The presence of isoflavones is the most important and unique benefit of soy milk. Each cup of soy milk contains about 20 mg isoflavones (mainly genistein and daidzein). Cows milk does not contain isoflavones. Isoflavones have many health benefits including reduction of cholesterol, easing of menopause symptoms, prevention of osteoporosis and reduction of risk for certain cancers (prostate cancer and breast cancer). Incidents of these cancers are very low in countries with high intake of soy products, including soy milk. Isoflavones are also antioxidants which protect our cells and DNA against oxidation.

Nutritional values of soymilk


Soymilk is an excellent source of high quality protein and B-vitamins. Soymilk is not a rich source of calcium, this is way most commercial soymilk products are fortified with calcium. Soymilk naturally contains isoflavones, plant chemicals that help lower LDL ("bad" cholesterol) if taken as part of a "heart healthy" eating plan. Nutrional values of soymilk (per 100g): Water 93.3 g

Energy Energy Protein Fat (total lipid) Fatty acids, saturated Fatty acids, mono-unsaturated Fatty acids, poly-unsaturated Carbohydrates Fiber Ash Isoflavones Calcium, Ca Iron, Fe Magnesium, Mg Phosphorus, Mg Potassium, K Sodium, Na Zinc, Zn Copper, Cu Manganese, Mn Selenium, Se Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Thiamin (vitamin B1) Riboflavin (vitamin B2) Niacin (vitamin B3) Panthotenic acid (vitamin B5) Vitamin B6 Folic acid Vitamin B12 Vitamin A Vitamin E

33.0 kcal 138.0 kJ 2.8 g 2.0 g 0.214 g 0.326 g 0.833 g 1.8 g 1.3 g 0.27 g 8.8 mg 4.0 mg 0.58 mg 19.0 mg 49.0 mg 141.0 mg 12.0 mg 0.23 mg 0.12 mg 0.17 mg 1.3 g 0.0 mg 0.161 mg 0.070 mg 0.147 mg 0.048 mg 0.041 mg 1.5 g 0.0 g 3.0 g 0.010 mg

[Source: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference]

How to make soy milk?

It's very easy to make soy milk at home. If you make soy milk on a daily basis you might find an automatic soymilk maker (also called soy milk machine) such as Soyajoy, Soylife, Miracle, Soyquick, Soyawonder or Vegan Star very helpful.

Step1: Ingredients
You need about 125 g whole soya beans to make 1 liter of soy milk.

Step2: Soaking and dehulling the soya beans


Clean the soya beans and soak them in water for 10 - 16 hours. Although not necessary, you can remove the hulls be kneading the soya beans and flushing the loose hulls with water. Removing the hulls makes the extraction process more efficient. An alternative is to crack the soya beans before soaking. The hulls come loose easily and can be washed away. When you use cracked soya beans you need less soaking time: 6 - 8 hours.

Step3: Heating the soya beans (optional)


Heating the soya beans will destroy enzymes which are responsible for the development of beany flavour. This heating can best be achieved by microwaving the wet soaked soya beans during 2 minutes.

Step4: Grinding the soya beans


Grind the soaked soya beans and 1 liter water in a blender. Sieve the mixture trough a cheese cloth and recover the soy milk. The insoluble material which remains on the sieve is called okara, and can be used as an ingredient for bread making or as cattle feed.

Step5: Boiling the soy milk


Heat the soy milk till boiling point and continue boiling for about 5 to 10 minutes. After cooling, the soy milk is ready and can be kept in the fridge for another 3 days.

Step6: Flavouring the soy milk (optional)


The soy milk can be drunk as such but taste can be improved by adding some salt (also cow milk contains a lot of salt). With soy milk you can easily make your own fruit smoothie. Fruit smoothies are very healthy because they contain soy milk and a lot of fresh fruits.

Chocolate and cinamon milk

Ingredients
1 liter soy milk 1 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 80 g dark chocolate 50 g sugar 1 teaspoon vanille extract 4 tablespoon whipped cream 1 theelepel cacao powder Servings: 4

Recipe directions
Put the soy milk in a saucepan and bring to boil. Boil the soy milk for a few minutes. Take the soy milk from the heat and add the sugar, vanille extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and dark chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and sugar dissolved. Serve the hot chocolate milk in mugs and top with 1 tablespoon of whipped cream. Sprinkle some cacao powder on top of the whipped cream.

Creamy tomato soup


Ingredients
1 onion, diced 1 clove garlic, chopped 2 Tsp vegetable oil 1 large ripe tomato, diced 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped 200 ml soy milk 200 g silken tofu Servings: 4

Recipe directions

Cook onion and garlic in sauce pan in oil until soft and transparent. Add tomato, basil, soy milk. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to food processor, add tofu and puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the creamy tomato soup hot.

Eggnog
Ingredients
250 ml soy milk 1 egg yolk 1 Tbs rum 1 glass Madeira 1 pinch of cinnamon Servings: 2

Recipe directions
Mix all ingredients (soymilk, egg yolk, rum, madeira, cinnamon) in a beaker and mix. In necessary, add a pinch of salt. Serve the eggnog with ice cubes.

Eggnog facts
Eggnog literally means eggs inside a small wooden mug. Eggnog is drunk on many occasions, mainly during the holidays. Eggnog brings back the memories of Christmas by a Christmas tree. The recipe for eggnog is different in each country, especially the alcohol part. Traditionally eggnog was made in Europe with white wine. The Americans drink it with bourbon, the Peruvians with pomace brandy and the Germans make eggnog with beer.

Vegan chocolate milk


Ingredients

1 tablespoon cacao powder 1 liter soy milk 3 tablespoon sugar 60 g dark chocolate 5 drops vanilla flavour (optional) 1/2 teaspoon salt (only when using unsalted soya milk) Servings: 5

Recipe directions
Mix the cacao powder, sugar and salt in the soy milk and boil for 2 min. Turn off heat and stir in dark chocolate and vanilla flavour. Serve ice cold or hot.

Bread pudding
Ingredients
6 slices of white bread, without crust 2 tablespoon margarine or butter 100 g red raisins 750 ml soy milk 150 g white sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 eggs Servings: 6

Recipe directions
Put the raisins on the bottom of a baking dish. Butter each slice of bread with the margarine. Put the bread slices, with the buttered side, on top of the raisins. In a saucepan add the soymilk and bring to boiling point (no need to boil the soymilk). Remove from heat and add sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir until the sugar is

dissolved. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in slowly the hot soymilk mixture, while stirring very well. Pour this mixture over the bread. Put the baking dish in a larger baking pan and fill this baking pan half with hot water. Put the bread pudding in an oven at 180C/350F and bake during 50 minutes. Remove the bread pudding from the oven. Serve the bread pudding warm or cold.

Rice porridge
Ingredients
120 g broken rice or risotto rice 1 liter plain soy milk (without flavours, salt or sugar) 1/2 teaspoon salt 0,15 g saffron powder 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (optional) 50 g Cassonade Graeffe sugar Servings: 4

Recipe directions
Rice porridge prepared with saffron powder is a typical Belgian dessert. Saffron give the rice porridge a deep yellow colour and typical taste. This rice porridge is eaten during special occasions, for example as a Christmas meal. This is a vegan variant using soy milk instead of cow milk. We always prepare rice porridge with home made soy milk made with a soy milk maker. To prepare the rice porridge, add the rice, salt and saffron to the soy milk and bring to boil. Let simmer on very low heat for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the rice is soft. Stir occasionally. Add one tablespoon vanilla sugar,

mix and spoon the rice porridge into serving bowls. Serve with Cassonade Graeffe sugar, which is Belgian brown powdered sugar. If you do not have this type of sugar you can also use cane sugar.

Rice pudding
Ingredients
200 g white rice (or brown rice) 800 ml soy milk 4 tablespoon sugar 100 g red raisins 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, or too taste 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder 1/2 teaspoon salt Servings: 6

Recipe directions
In a boiling pan, add the soymilk and rice. Bring to boil and continue to boil over low heat for about 20 minutes or until the rice is very soft, while stirring occasionally. If you use brown rice the boiling time could take longer. Add the sugar and raisins and cook for another 2 minutes longer, while stirring occasionally. Add vanilla extract and salt. Pour the rice pudding into serving dishes. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon. Serve the rice pudding immediately (hot) or cool down and serve cold.

Rice facts
Rice is a staple food for more than half the earths population and is mainly grown in Asian countries with a lot of rainfall. Rice is versatile and can be used as ingredient in many recipes. Whole rice is protected by a hull. To produce white rice or polished rice, this hull is mechanically removed. This de-hulling removes a lot of the rice nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. This is why white rice is often enriched with vitamins. Rice consists mainly of starch (90 percent). The starch of long grain rice consists mainly of amylase. This type of starch will give a dry cooked rice. Medium and short grain rice contains a lot of amylopectin, which will give the rice a sticky consistency when cooked.

Compared to other cereals, rice is a fair source of protein (6 to 7 percent). Rice is low in fat, contains no cholesterol and is free from gluten.

Soymilk caramel
Ingredients
3 Tbs water 100 g sugar 400 ml soymilk 2 eggs 80 g sugar vanilla flavour Servings: 6

Recipe directions
Put the water and first quantity of sugar in a saucepan. Bring to boil on medium heat while stirring. Continue to boil until caramel starts to brown. Poor caramel into 6 greased pudding dishes. Preheat the oven to 160C. In a saucepan mix the sugar and soymilk and heat to 50C. Beat the eggs and add slowly the hot soymilk. Add the vanilla flavour and pour into the pudding dishes. Put the dishes in a pan of water and bake during 30 minutes. Serve the soymilk caramel cold.

Vanilla Pudding
Ingredients
1 liter soy milk 6 tablespoons corn starch 80 g white sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla flavour 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Servings: 6

Recipe directions
Dispense the corn starch in a bit of the soy milk. Put rest of the soy milk in a pan and bring to boiling point. Stir in the corn starch suspension while stirring very well, and bring to boiling point again. Remove from heat. Add the white sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Stir in the vanilla flavour and pour into 6 individual serving dishes. The vanilla pudding be eaten hot or chilled.

Calcium Fortification of Soy milk


Dairy products provide most of the dietary calcium in Western countries, where soy milk is becoming increasingly popular. Natural soy milk contains only 200 mg calcium per liter, which is 6x less than cow milk. Therefore, most commercial soy milks are fortified with extra calcium up to a level 1200 mg/L, which is the same as that of cow milk. Manufacturers of soy milk use this specific level of 1200 mg/L to provide an alternative calcium source to cow milk. However, the question is do we really need such high calcium levels in soy milk? Obviously, manufacturers want to avoid the debate about optimal calcium levels and simple use same levels as found in cow milk, which is traditionally a recommended source of calcium. However, studies have shown that a higher intake of milk and calcium from milk is associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis. The Harvard's Nurses' Health Study, which involved about 57,000 women, showed that women who consumed the most calcium from dairy products had almost double the rate of hip fractures compared to women who received the least calcium from dairy products.

Sources of Calcium in Soy Milk


Most manufacturers use tri-calcium phosphate as calcium source. Other calcium sources are calcium carbonate and vegetable calcium from seaweed (Lithothamnium Calcareum). In addition, the calcium in the water, used in the soy milk manufacturing process, can be significant. The calcium level of municipal water or well water can range from 0 mg/L up to 600 mg/L.

Bioavailability of Calcium in Soy Milk


A study by Robert Heaney and colleagues entitled "Bioavailability of the Calcium in Fortified Soy Imitation Milk, with some Observations on Method" (2000, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) found that calcium from soy milk, fortified with tri-calcium phosphate, has an absorption efficiency of 75% compared to cow milk. Another study by Yangdong Zhao entitled "Calcium Bioavailability of Calcium Carbonate Fortified Soy Milk

is Equivalent to Cow's Milk in Young Women" (2005, The Journal of Nutrition) found that calcium carbonate in soy milk had the same bioavailability than calcium from cow milk and had a higher bioavailability than tri-calcium carbonate. The lower bioavailability of tricalcium phosphate is probably coming from the phosphate, which precipitates the calcium in the intestine. Soy milk contains phytochemicals, such as isoflavones and phytic acid, which may influence calcium absorption. Some studies have shown that isoflavones stimulate estrogen receptors in the intestine and increase calcium absorption, whereas other studies failed to show such effect. Phytic acid is known to inhibit calcium absorption but the low levels (less than 0.01%) found in soy milk are unlikely to have any influence.

Soy milk powder

Soy milk powder is soy milk from which all water has been removed, similar to cow's milk powder. Soy milk powder has a white to beige colour and mixes readily with warm or cold water. It can be made of plain soy milk or can contain additional ingredients, such as sugar, flavours and calcium. While it is not as common as cow's milk powder, soy milk powder can be found in some stores in the US. In Europe it is even more difficult to find, but can be easily ordered online. Popular brands of soy milk powder, which can be ordered online, are NOW Instant Soy Milk Powder and EcoMIL Instant Soya Drink Powder.

Benefits of soy milk powder


Soy milk powder contains all the good ingredients of soy milk. There are different reasons why you would buy soy milk powder instead of pre-packaged soy milk: Soy milk powder is more environmental friendly. This sounds a bit contradictory since a lot of energy is required to remove the water. The process of dehydration is carried out in a sequence of evaporator units, where steam from the preceding unit is used as the heat source in the next unit, resulting in low energy consumption. Soy milk powder results in the use of less packaging waste, compared to soy milk packed in cartons.

Soy milk powder is easier to store and does not spoil. When you go on holiday and are not sure about the availability of soy milk at your destination, you can carry some soy milk powder with you. Usually, soy milk powder is less expensive than pre-packaged soy milk brands.

Disadvantages of soy milk powder

The taste of soy milk made from soy milk powder will always be a bit inferior compared to commercial soy milk in cartons. The texture may be slightly sandy and the taste a bit bran like.