Making tofu is sort of like making cheese. Which is to say it is not an uncomplicated process. Straining and blending and molding and heating and cooling are involved—also a potato masher, according to the step-by-step instructions that Williams-Sonoma includes in its tofu making kit. But the result is well worth the effort:
Somewhere around Step 8—by this time you will be stirring hot milk in a "Z" pattern to cool it down while simultaneously sprinkling in gypsum—you may briefly wonder why you didn't just go to the store to buy tofu. But courage. Sarah Lonsdale (who lived in Japan for nine years) says, "American tofu tastes like rubber. Homemade tastes infinitely better. You get a finer texture and you get to serve it warm; it's a bit like a dessert."
Above: A Tofu Making Kit ($39.95 from Williams-Sonoma) includes ingredients you need to make two 1-pound blocks of tofu. The kit comes with soybeans (to make soy milk); a muslin cloth (to strain the milk); gypsum (to act as coagulant to set the curds), and a wooden mold to press the cheese into blocks.