Bet You Didn't Know You Could Do These Things With Soymilk
The OG non-dairy beverage shines at mealtimes, in baked goods, or simply sipped from a glass. Here’s how to sip, slurp, and stir it into classic dishes. Sponsored by the United Soybean Board.
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Sponsored by the United Soybean Board.
Soymilk burst into the food scene in the United States during the 1970s, gaining popularity thanks to the rise of plant-based eating and growing enthusiasm for environmental sustainability. Suddenly there was curiosity about this dairy-free beverage that's similar in both quality and quantity of protein found in dairy milk.
Soy foods, however, have been a favorite throughout Asia for over 3,000 years; soymilk has been a Chinese staple since ancient times. In the 17th century Western scientists were amazed to learn of the bean's many nutritional benefits, and by the end of the 20th Century, soybeans had become a staple crop in America. Now, they are the second largest crop grown in America and U.S. soybean farmers are continuously working to increase the crop's sustainability, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 41%, and energy usage by 42% since 1980.
Today soymilk is not just a great choice for the lactose-intolerant, environmentally conscious, heart health* aware or plant protein consumer. lt's a versatile ingredient for everyday cooking and eating as another option in addition to delicious dairy milk. Now is the time to up your soymilk game with these tips, tricks, and recipes.
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Soymilk as a dairy substitute
Soymilk offers an easy, cup-for-cup swap in recipes for baking. It’ll function the same way dairy milk does in the oven, and the texture and crumb of the finished baked goods will be very similar. There will be a mild difference in flavor, depending on the spicing and particulars of the recipe, but many people don’t notice the difference.
In cooking, soymilk can also be used in the same ratios as dairy or other milks to excellent effect. Because soymilk is naturally 1 gram lower in fat than reduced-fat milk, certain luscious dishes may call for more of a thickener or use a bit more fat from elsewhere. Soymilk will curdle if it gets too hot, but the fix is easy: In a hot soup, for example, add soymilk at the end of the recipe while the pot is off the burner, then slowly warm it back up to the desired serving temperature if necessary. The result: Mouthwatering creamy soup with less saturated fat than using traditional cream.
In this cold soup, the soymilk is added after it’s already been blended and chilled. Stir in a dash of salt before serving to make the flavors pop.
This recipe is an easy place to begin, as it is designed to highlight everything soymilk brings to the (dessert) table: This moist cake is fragrant with almonds, dotted with sesame seeds, and bakes up with a delicate, cloud-like crumb.
Sweetened vs. unsweetened soymilk
Soymilk comes in a variety of flavors, as well as unsweetened varieties. It’s important to be thoughtful when choosing what kind to use in a recipe: For savory dishes, be sure to use unsweetened and unflavored, or be surprised by a pumpkin soup with confusing notes of sugar or chocolate!
In baking, either variety can work. But take note: Using a sweetened soymilk may result in an overly sweet final result, while a vanilla-flavored soymilk will bump up the overall vanilla experience; ultimately it comes down to personal taste. If you’re not sure what you’ll be using it for, we recommend keeping unsweetened soymilk on hand because you can always sweeten a recipe up with the other ingredients.
This elegant soymilk-based ice cream uses the best of summer cherries to make a quick boozy cherry sauce that creates swirls of flavor throughout each scoop. Interestingly, it calls for unsweetened soymilk, which allows for the brown sugar and maple syrup to shine through. You don’t need sweetened soymilk for all desserts.
Soymilk breakfast ideas
Rise and shine with soymilk for a nutritious diet. Try stirring soymilk into your morning oatmeal at the end of the cooking process for a creamier consistency and extra kick of protein, adding it to refreshing summer smoothies, or stirring a splash into your morning coffee (why not treat yo’ self with vanilla or chocolate flavors?).
An iced latte helps beat the summer heat as soon as the day begins, and this cold brew recipe comes together in a snap. If you like a frothy iced latte, be sure to look for gellan in the soymilk's ingredient list: This fermented food additive can be found in some brands to help with thickening. It bonds with any added calcium in the soymilk to create a nice foam in the cup.
Yummly cooks have deemed these biscuits fool-proof, easy, and their go-to choice for non-dairy morning goodness. For a sweeter biscuit, a tablespoon or two of sweetener does the trick— or try using vanilla soymilk for a fragrant, lightly sweet treat.
Using soymilk in classic American dishes
U.S. farmers have been growing soybeans in earnest since the 1940s, and thanks to the mellow taste of most commercial soymilks on your local grocery shelf this nutritious plant-based drink is also a natural fit for many classic American dishes. U.S. soybean farmers are committed to providing quality, sustainable ingredients to feed our communities around the world during these uncertain times.
Make your own soymilk!
Both store-bought and homemade soymilk have their benefits. Try your hand at homemade with the recipe below!
Soymilk is made by soaking dried soybeans until they can be easily split (the beans will double or triple in size), grinding them with water in a blender, then squeezing the milk from the pulp and heating it until right before it boils. You can find soybeans in the bulk section of health food stores, in many Asian markets, and online. For the devotee, there are even appliances that will handle the entire process.
However, soymilk from the store delivers its own benefits: Many purchased brands are fortified with calcium to support healthy bones, and all soymilk contains isoflavones, which may help women reduce their risk of breast and endometrial cancers. Homemade and store-bought soymilk can be used the same way in any recipe. So get cooking! And let us know how it goes.
*Having 25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease.