To get started you have two options: (1) Soak soybeans overnight and then grind them to a slurry using a blender. (2) start with a high quality fresh soy milk such as what Hodo Soy sells (what I did.)
Whether you start with your own slurry or use soy milk put it in a pot on the stove and bring it to at least 150 degrees. If you have a refractometer you'll want the slurry to be around 10 brixs.
The slurry will be a thick batter.
This is a pretty basic tofu press with cheesecloth.
Start assembling your press. Note the holes go on the bottom like so.
Align the cheesecloth so that it rests like a diamond shape over the cheesecloth. Gently press it down so that none of the edges are falling into the press.
The press and cheesecloth should look like so.
Shake your coagulant and pour it into the bowl. I am using calcium sulfate as the coagulant but since this is hard to find you might use nigari instead.
Pour the warm soy milk into the bowl containing the coagulant. Do it fast and even and don't pour too high (you want to avoid bubbles.)
The soy will quickly begin to coagulate. When you shake it you'll notice it has gotten stiffer.
After about 5-10 minutes you're ready to breakup the tofu, I'm using a whisk to do it.
Scoop the broken up tofu into the tofu press you prepared.
With the tofu in the press start to shake the water out so you can fill it up as much as possible without spilling over.
Fold the cheesecloth over the tofu, first from the long sides, then from the shorter sides.
Put the top on the press and start pressing the tofu until water comes out the bottom. It took me about 5-10 minutes of evenly applied pressure to get a good tofu consistency.
You'll notice that a lot of water will start to come out of the tofu. It's a good idea to do this on top of something so that the water that accumulates can be easily discarded without making a mess.
Pour some water into a bowl.
Carefully transfer the tofu into the water. Then remove the side and top.
Gently remove the bottom of the press from underneath the tofu and begin to unwrap the cheesecloth.
The tofu will appear nicely pressed.
Put your hand under the tofu and gently turn it over while removing the cheesecloth.
At this stage you could put the tofu in the refrigerator and store it. But, I'm in a class 20 minutes from home so I put the tofu in a ziplock bag to transport it!
The tofu stays fresh in water so I put some water in the bag for the car ride home.
Here's my bag of fresh tofu ready to be driven home.
Once I arrived at home I removed the tofu and immediately put it in a bowl of water. It'll last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Marvel at the tofu you made one last time.
Then put the tofu in the fridge.