Soy milk is one of the most common Chinese styles of daily drinking. Many Chinese households love to make homemade fresh soy milk, which provides better flavor and richness than store-bought soy milk.
Soy milk has surged in popularity as a plant-based milk alternative, especially among vegans, lactose intolerant, or health-conscious consumers. But you may wonder what soy milk tastes like and if can it be used as a substitute for dairy milk. We will cover the basic flavor of soy milk, the influencers of the soy milk taste, and some of the comparisons with other common milk.
What's soy milk
Soy milk is a plant-based milk alternative made from soaked and ground soybeans. With the rise of veganism and plant-based diets, soy milk has become a popular substitute for dairy milk. It is vegan and gluten-free.
You can use soy milk to make your own tofu at home.
What does soy milk taste like
You may find lots of flavored soy milk from the store, for example, chocolate flavors, red date flavors and so much more. Flavored soy milk represents the flavor of the add-ons mostly.
Plain, original soy milk made from just soybeans and water has the most pure, unadulterated flavor that highlights the taste of the soybeans themselves. You may find the following tastes in regular soy milk.
- Earthy and grassy from the beans- The dominant taste is a rich, deep earthiness reminiscent of fresh garden peas or snap peas straight from the vine. It has an unmistakable raw legume flavor. Lots of people don't like this raw taste.
- Umami savoriness - Once the soy milk is gently cooked, more savory umami flavors emerge.
- Subtle sweetness - Plain soy milk has low inherent sweetness, but once cooled, the subtle natural sweetness of the beans comes forward. It is far less sweet than dairy milk but has a more sweet character than almond milk.
- Smooth, creamy texture - The fatty acids and emulsifiers in the soybeans give soy milk a soft, luscious mouthfeel. You will find the tongue coated with its rich viscosity. But soy milk is much thinner than dairy milk.
Soy milk is usually sweetened by sugar or another sweetener, so in order to feel the real taste, you will need to try the most original version. Unflavored soy milk is very popular in China because it can match extremely well with deep-fried Chinese breakfasts like youtiao and sesame balls.
Factors that may influence the taste
Several factors can influence the taste of your soy milk including the soybean condition and how the soy milk is processed.
Usually, new-season soybeans have brighter, more pronounced flavors. Old soybeans lose vibrancy. Organic, non-GMO soybeans have fuller flavor without chemical residuals.
In addition, a longer gentle boiling time can help to remove the raw soybean flavors.
Good-tasting add-ons to soy milk
Sweeteners like sugar, syrup, or honey a almost a must for soy milk, helping to cover the raw taste and enhance the overall taste.
Flavored soy milk can be really good in taste, especially in terms of covering the raw bean tastes. So you can add the following add-ons to your soybeans.
Vanilla Soy Milk is the most common and popular flavored soy milk. Usually, it is sweetened with a vanilla flavor.
Chocolate Soy Milk features the taste of cocoa powder and extra sweetener. It has a taste of chocolate flavor.
Strawberry Soy Milk with either fresh strawberry or frozen strawberry can be fruity and fancy.
When you add matcha powder to soy milk, you get a matcha Soy Milk with a lovely green color and grassy taste.
Flavored soy milk adds complementary flavors like sweet vanilla or chocolate to mask the natural soy taste. Fruity varieties like strawberries provide refreshment. Matcha or chai augment the earthy, savory qualities already present.
Cook's Note for homemade soy milk
- For rich soy milk, it is quite important to keep the right ratio of the beans and water.
- Get a really fine gauze to strain the liquid to remove the pulp completely.
- You can add other additions to soy milk for example peanuts to enhance the aroma.
- Soy milk should be boiled before eating. Uncooked soy milk is harmful to our health. But watch out for the fire carefully, it overflows quickly.
- Stir the soy milk while heating to avoid an overheated bottom.
- 1 cup dried organic soy beans , pre-soaked until softened
- 3 cups water
- Sugar as needed
- Soak the soy beans overnight or until double in size. Rinse the soy beans a few times and try to remove the skins.
- Add the soaked soy beans in a blender with water. Blend well.
- Strain the mixture with a fine gauze to remove the pulp.
- Bring the soy milk to a boiling and continue cooking for 20 minutes over slowest fire. Watch out, the soy milk overflow very easily. Add sugar to taste before serving.
Is there a way to remove the beany taste from soy milk?
Yes, extended soaking, boiling, and filtration help strip out bitter constituents that lend the bean flavor. However, removing too much character negates the very essence of soy milk. Finding the right balance is key for optimum taste.
What is the white powder or sediment in soy milk?
The white sediment consists of soybean particles that escape filtration. Insufficient straining or older soy milk allows more solids through, leading to chalkiness and powder. Using very finely ground beans and thorough straining prevents residue.
Why is homemade soy milk superior tasting?
Greater control over variables like bean quality, grind size, boiling time, and filtering leads to a fresher, brighter flavor for homemade soy milk. Commercial methods cut corners that degrade taste.
Does soy milk taste good in coffee and lattes?
It comes down to the variety used. Barista-style soy milk with a milder flavor and creamy texture blends best into coffee drinks. Bolder plain or unsweetened kinds clash with coffee's roast profile. Vanilla soy milk also pairs well by echoing dairy's sweetness.
The flavor of soy milk stems from the taste qualities inherent in the soybeans themselves - earthy, grassy, nutty, and savory. Removing the context of dairy milk allows soy milk's flavor to be appreciated on its own merits. As a pure and plain plant-based milk, soy milk can match well with most of the savory dishes.