What is Soy Milk ?

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What is Soy Milk ?

Post by khandairies on Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:37 pm

Soy milk is a beverage made from soybeans. It was first developed in Asia, along with numerous other soy based foods such as tempeh, tofu, and soy sauce, and has since spread to the rest of the world. Many vegans and vegetarians drink soy milk in preference to cow's milk, as do people with lactose intolerance. Other people drink soy milk because they believe that it has health benefits.
To make soy milk, dried soybeans are soaked in water for at least three hours, and often overnight. The mixture is ground to create a slurry, which is boiled for clarity and better flavor. After cooling, the soy milk is strained out and ready to drink. Some commercial producers add stabilizers to their soy milk so that it will last on the shelf, while others sell fresh soy milk which should be refrigerated.

Soy beans themselves have some inherent nutritional properties, including a high concentration of isoflavones, which are believed to be potentially beneficial for human health. Most producers also supplement their soy milk with calcium carbonate and vitamins such as B12 to increase the nutritional value of soy milk. While soy has a lot of natural calcium, it is bound up in the bean, and cannot readily be digested. Calcium carbonate, on the other hand, is easily absorbed by the stomach.

The flavor of soy milk is slightly beany, and some Western consumers are not fond of it. Special treatment can alter the flavor, and some producers also flavor their soy milk with chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and other compounds. Both flavored and plain soy milk are available in many major grocery stores, and are often on offer at coffeehouses and restaurants in health conscious regions, or areas with a large Asian population.

People who are choosing to drink soy milk for health should read the label carefully. Some producers add artificial products and sweeteners to their soy milk, making it much less beneficial for the drinker. This is especially important for diabetics, who should look specifically for “unsweetened” soy milk, rather than assuming that no sugars have been added.

Using a soy milk machine, it is very easy to make soy milk at home. It can also be made by hand, but requires patient grinding of the bean slurry and some trial and error. A soy milk machine can also be used to make milks from nuts and other beans, if you want to experiment with other dairy free flavors.
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