Friday, March 25, 2011

Make Your Own Soy Milk - A Review Of SoyaPower Plus By Sanlinx And Laura Soybeans From Fairview Farms

Freshly made Soy-Barley-Oat milk in a container
purchased on-line from
The Container Store

Follow Foods For Long LIfe on FACEBOOK !

I Love Freshly Made Soy Milk
I gave up dairy milk decades ago and enjoy various alternatives like almond milk (which I prefer to make from raw almonds), hemp milk (I love TEMPT from Living Harvest) and of course, soy milk (which I now make myself with this nifty machine!). To be honest, I've never tried making it without a machine. It sounds like a pretty long and messy process. Besides, you know how much I love gadgets and cooking toys! So I bought a Soyapower Plus Soy Milk Maker by Sanlinx. It sells for $119.95 with a one year warranty. 

SoyaPower Plus

Follow Foods For Long Life on FACEBOOK !
What You Get
The SoyaPower Plus comes with the soy milk maker and a detachable power cord. The unit is lined with stainless steel which is important because I don't want to be cooking in plastic. Ironically, it comes with a plastic container into which you are supposed to pour strained, hot soy milk! They also supply a metal strainer, a cleaning kit (I've never needed to use it), some recipes and a small package of soybeans (more about those later). It also has a convenient little cup which measures exactly how many beans are needed to make one batch of soy milk.
My Experience with Sanlinx
After using the machine successfully 2 or 3 times, the machine started blowing the fuse in my kitchen. Sanlinx took the machine right back and tested it numerous times. As expected, it worked perfectly for them! So being a retired electrical engineer, I suggested that it might be the power cord. Of course we forgot to send that back with the machine which certainly would have made their job of detecting the problem easier. They said they never had a bad power cord problem before. After sending the machine back to me with a new power cord, it worked. Oh well, I guess it was the power cord. All in all, I was pleased with their responsiveness.
The only other problem that I've had is that it occasionally boils over. I wrote them a note the other day and they quickly responded and told me how to avoid the problem: 
(1) Put the beans in first, then measure the water to the "lower line". By putting the beans in after filling to the water line, I was overfilling the container.
(2) Never soak the beans more than 12 hours. 
(3) When putting the machine head inside the container, make sure the sitting position is correct and the security latches are aligned.
I must say, these guys are very helpful when you have a problem.

Soak beans and barley for 6-8 hours (never more than 12).
By the way, that's what 13 pounds of soy beans looks like!

Recipe for Great Tasting Soy Milk
I didn't like recipes using just soybeans so  I experimented with a few mixtures. The barley makes it a bit sweet and the oats make it creamy. Here's my concoction that comes out like the fresh soy milk that you buy in the refrigerated section of your grocery store:

Soy Barley Oat Milk
[makes about 5 cups]
5 tablespoon soy beans *
1 tablespoon barley *
1 tablespoon rolled oats
Filtered water (about 5 1/3 cups)
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
6 drops liquid stevia or 1 tablespoon of agave or Sucanat, more or less to taste

* To use their measuring cup, first put 1 tablespoon of barley into the measuring cup. Fill the rest to the top with soybeans.

Soak the soybeans and barley for 6 to 8 hours (do not soak the rolled oats).
Rinse the beans and barley and add to the soy milk maker along with the rolled oats.
Fill the SoyaPower Plus with filtered water up to the lower line.
To make the soy milk faster, start with boiling water. But even when you start with room temperature water, the process is very fast (usually less than 15 minutes). 
Make sure the metal sleeve that covers the blades is tightly secured.
Press the button that says "Soy+" 
When it is done the machine will start beeping.
Unplug to turn the machine off and remove the top of the machine. Let soy milk cool a bit before straining it into the plastic container.
Strain the soy barley oat mixture through the metal strainer. Gently push residue from side to side with a spoon. The residue is called "Okara" and can be used in other recipes.
Stir in salt and sweetener. 
Pour soy milk into glass storage container and refrigerate.

Strain out the "Okara" using the metal strainer

Laura Soybeans from Fairview Farms
A sample of Laura Soybeans came with the soy milk maker. These beans are grown on a  farm that has been owned and operated by the Chambers Family for 5 generations in Corwith, Iowa. It's a pleasure to support a family farm that cares about quality versus an industrial farm that only cares about quantity. Although these soybeans are not "certified" organic, they are non-GMO (genetically modified). Jonathan Chambers took the trouble to explain their farming practices to me and they were quite impressive. They use a 2 year crop rotation and do not use any commercial fertilizers on their soybean crop. They mechanically till early in the season and later they actually "walk" the field with garden hoes to take out large weeds that would make harvest difficult. Him and his dad grow their own seed and sort them by hand for future generations of the Laura beans in order to keep the seed as pure as possible. You can order beans directly from the Laura Soybeans Website. The smallest amount you can buy from them is 13 pounds for $24.95 which includes shipping. That's what you would pay for about 6 gallons of store-bought soy milk and 13 pounds of soybeans will make about 24 gallons!

Fairview Farms where Laura soybeans are cultivated

Bottom line, I'm enjoying my little soy milk maker. I use it 2 or 3 times a week. I no longer have to worry about running to the store to buy milk. And although I had a few issues with the SoyaPower Plus, the company was extremely responsive. In fact, during the first 30 days, I could have simply asked for my money back. I am so glad that I didn't!
My next adventure will be to try and make my own tofu.  I'm also busy thinking of ways to use that wonderful, nutritious, fiber-rich okara. It's so warm and creamy, I find myself eating it with a spoon while I'm straining my soy milk!


Debra said...

That is so cool Joanne. I want that kitchen gadget!! I love that you used soy, barley & oats. It sounds really easy to make. Thank you for the review.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Hi Debbie,
It's worth the money and if you use a gallon of soy milk a week, it pays for itself in less than a year. Once I start making my own tofu (which uses a lot of soy milk), it will pay itself back in a matter of months!

Monica said...

Wow! That was so great! Good work Joanne. Everyone must try this for a better long life. Thanks for this very informative post. I really appreciate the thoughts and all the efforts. Keep it up =)

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Thanks Monica! We just made a batch this morning! Appreciate your feedback!

Susan Strickler said...

I bought the green and stainless steel joyoung soymaker from Amazon and 30 pds of Laura soybeans over a year ago, and still have soybeans! I make a fresh batch of milk every couple of days, and add nothing, just water and soybeans, and it's delicious. I can't even say how much money I've saved by not having to purchase soymilk. We use the okara for baking cakes and other products that call for eggs, and as a tasty eggless eggsalad like spread. We're vegan and the soymilk maker is the best appliance we've ever owned. And I love the quality of Laura soybeans, and the friendly prompt service.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Yes, we are also still working on our first purchase of of soybeans (and we make soy milk every 2 or 3 days). It has really saved a lot of money and it's nice to know you don't have to run to the store when you need milk!

Unknown said...

Hi, we have the same machine, but unfortunately we lost the measuring cup..... do you know how large is the the measuring cup? 1 measuring = to how many regular cup? Thanks.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Hi Candice,
It comes with a 3/4 cup measuring cup which holds 100 g of soybeans.
I have also been able to find organic soybeans at Purcell Mountain Farms online in one pound bags at Enjoy!