My beautiful Soyabella

I’ve finally done it: after several months of dithering and faffing about, I’ve bought a Soyabella to make plant milks at home.

It took me a while to make up my mind, even though I’d found nothing but positive comments about this particular machine on other blogs. At 149 euros it wasn’t cheap, and I didn’t want to clutter up my kitchen with a gadget that would spend most of its time at the back of a cupboard.

Then I had to check that I could get organic soya beans grown in France – there didn’t seem much point giving up pre-packaged soya milk if I was going to be buying soya beans imported from China or the States. Luckily my local organic shop stocks a hulled, split variety.

I was also eager to try other home-made plant milks, like those made from oats, almonds, rice and hazelnuts. All the ones I’ve found in the shops seem to have had something added – salt, sugar, oil – which I felt gave them a quite unpleasant taste.

The first thing I noticed about the Soyabella is that it’s a really good-looking machine with its shapely jug made of brushed stainless steel.

Soyabella

It’s also very easy to use. The instructions were clear and Virginie gives some helpful extra tips in this post.

I started by making almond milk, having recently bought a supply of whole organic almonds with milk in mind. First you have to soak the nuts in water for several hours; I simply left them soaking overnight and made the milk next morning. After that, the procedure is ultra-fast: put some water in the jug, the nuts in the filter and press the "Mill" button a few times. I did this five times (about ten seconds each), which was how long it took for the motor to stop labouring as it encountered bits of unground nut and to start whirring smoothly.
 

My verdict: almond milk is a delicacy that deserves to be appreciated outside the rather restricted circles of vegans and people with dairy allergies. I loved it just on its own and with my morning muesli. What’s more, making this (like all plant milks) leaves a residue known as okara which can be used in lots of other recipes.

Lait d'amande + okara

My first attempt at soya milk, on the other hand, was disappointing. Making it was just as easy – it took a bit longer than the almond milk because the beans have to be heated – but I wasn’t at all keen on the taste. While I can wolf down a litre of my usual soya milk (also made from just water and beans) simply because I love the stuff, I found this one rather uninteresting, with a slightly bitter aftertaste into the bargain.

I don’t blame the Soyabella. I’ll have to try and find another brand of soya bean, or perhaps I’ll just switch to different plant milks.

The Soyabella has other qualities: it can grind coffee, and grain for flour, make stock and soup… and then I already have a list of ideas for using up the okara that I’ll be trying over the next few weeks.

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