Tofu makes this strawberry smoothie slightly thick
The production process of our TOFU is very similar to how cheese is produced. Only instead of a living cow, that gives people milk, we have an iron cow in our production line and it gives us soymilk. But let’s start nicely from the very beginning of how tofu production is carried out here.
Tofu production, or what fuels our iron cow
We are proud that our products are made exclusively from plant sources. The beginning of the whole process is purchasing basic raw ingredients for the production of our milk – soy. We buy it solely from Slovak growers located in southern Slovakia. The soy is a 100% non-GMO.
Soybeans are delivered to our silos in the area of our company. We have two silos, so that we can always ensure sufficient fuel for our iron cow. When one silo runs out, we order another soy delivery. Our cow, just like any other cow, eats a certain dose of milk in a 12-hour cycle. But, with soy it is always necessary to have a nice preparation, and so the soy is carried on a conveyor to small containers in the production hall, where it is soaked for a few hours in water. This is so that our iron cow knows how to “chew“ it. But this alone wouldn’t be enough. After soaking, the soybeans are then ground to a paste and cooked. What kind of cow would it be if after we fed it, it didn’t produce milk? Well, it does. Aside from milk, which we call soy milk, it also produces by-products, which, contain a number of nutrients and therefore have further use.
We call it “Okara“, as it was named in Japan – where tofu originated and where it was consumed for hundreds of years as the foundation of their diet. We use okara as a base ingredient added to our other products such as vegetable spreads; we sell it as an individual product, but also as feed for farm animals.
But back to the milk, whish is the most valuable product enabling further processing. We pour it into containers and mix in natural coagulants – natural salt. In the same way cheese is made from cow milk. Then the curd is poured into moulds, where it is pressed and water is extracted.
We produce hard tofu because our European customers are accustomed to hard cheeses. However, in Japan a much softer tofu than ours is eaten. Imagine the consistency of cottage cheese – that’s similar to how the Japanese kind looks. All of this is decided by the quantity of coagulating agent and the duration of coagulation. One fine day, when we will be able to produce tofu for Japanese customers, we will also produce Japanese soft tofu.
The compressed tofu from our press is huge – measuring almost one meter in width and more than half a meter in length. Such tofu is cut into smaller pieces according to the customer specification. For restaurants, we make so-called gastro plates weighing 1 kilo, for end users a traditional 180-gram package is produced.
Each person can follow their tastes lead
And again, as with cheese, TOFU is subsequently processed into other forms and flavours. TOFU can be smoked, marinated and roasted, seasoned with basil, or in some cases chilli.
How is smoked tofu made
Our customers can rest assured that they will only get smoked tofu made by a traditional method from us. How is it done? For example, you know how our grandfathers smoked oštiepok (a traditional smoked sheep cheese)? They hung it up in the chimney and smoke from the oven, in which a small wood fire burned, slowly and nicely smoked the cheese till it had its excellent smoked flavor. We make our smoked tofu in a similar way. Our stove has electric coils to heat up wood chips, which then produce smoke for smoking, and we let that dense smoke gradually work on our tofu for several hours.
And how is “delicatessen” marinated tofu made
Why delicatessen? Because it is delicate. It is marinated in a flavourful marinade consisting of exclusive spices and the most high quality soy sauces for 12 hours. During this time, the flavours penetrate throughout the tofu and develop an unforgettably delicious taste. Then the marinated tofu is baked in classic bakery ovens. At this time the entire production hall smells like the delicate scent of roasting tofu, just like at your own home when you are roasting something on oil and onions. The baked tofu is again cooled to sanitary temperature and put into vacuum-sealed packages or film wrap.
The making of basil and chilli tofu
Well great, it’s clear how microscopic particles of marinade permeate throughout the tofu. But how do basil or chilli mixtures get in there? Indeed, these don’t penetrate with their molecular movement into the structure of tofu. Naturally. This is why the production process is already different as of the moment of curdling. The basil or chilli mixture is sprinkled into the curdling tank up until the soymilk begins to separate. Then the whole mixture is thoroughly combined and we separate out the tofu that is permeated with chilli or basil.
We do not use chemical preservatives
Surely, you have thought about how it is possible that our packaged tofu and spreads keep in the refrigerator several weeks. We don’t use chemical preservatives? No, knowledge of the laws of physics is enough. Aside from mould, other elements contribute to the decay of foods, including yeast or put in another way thermo-sensitive bacteria. You know this process form the souring of milk. This kind of bacteria is friends with proteins and thus you can always find them together in an open environment. But, friendship isn’t always a source of happiness. Bacteria court proteins into a variety of mischief and spoil their morale. Those rude proteins do not taste good to our customers (an exception would be how sour soy milk tastes). This is why a strict police officer steps in – temperature. After packaging into impenetrable film, which with the help of special technology, eliminates most of the air and the product is heated to 95° Celsius. At this temperature and without air we can knock out bacteria from the space. Those who remain are given a strong talking to, so that they don’t spoil the morale of the protein. And mould? Mould simply put doesn’t stand a chance. We maintain our operations at a 100% regularly cleaning sanitation program, so much so that mould occurs only in one’s imagination.
From the very beginning to today, tofu production has been a heartfelt endeavour, to which we devote ourselves with love and immense care. You might also be interested in how we make our spreads.