Science

Unwanted tofu whey becomes a sweet alcoholic drink

Unwanted tofu whey becomes a s...
Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan (right) and PhD student Mr. Chua Jian Yong (left) with glasses of Sachi
Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan (right) and PhD student Mr. Chua Jian Yong (left) with glasses of Sachi
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Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan (right) and PhD student Mr. Chua Jian Yong (left) with glasses of Sachi
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Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan (right) and PhD student Mr. Chua Jian Yong (left) with glasses of Sachi

One of the most common methods of tofu production involves curdling boiled soy milk, cooling it, then pressing it into a block. The excess liquid that's generated takes the form of tofu whey, and it's often just discarded, potentially going on to pollute waterways. Now, however, scientists from the National University of Singapore have developed a technique for turning the whey into a tasty antioxidant-rich alcoholic beverage.

Named "Sachi," the drink was created by Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan and his PhD student Mr. Chua Jian Yong.

In a process that takes about three weeks, sugar, acid and yeast are added to tofu whey, and the mixture is then fermented. That fermentation process thoroughly utilizes all of the whey, producing no waste.

The finished product has an alcohol content of about 7 to 8 percent, is rich in antioxidants known as isoflavones (along with calcium and prebiotics), and reportedly has a slightly sweet and fruity flavor. Its shelf life is approximately four months.

"The health benefits associated with soy products, coupled with changing preferences towards vegetarian diets, have fuelled the growth of tofu production," says Liu. "As a result, the amount of tofu whey has also increased proportionally. Alcoholic fermentation can serve as an alternative method to convert tofu whey into food products that can be consumed directly. Our unique fermentation technique also serves as a zero-waste solution to the serious issue of tofu whey disposal."

A patent has been filed, and the researchers are now looking for industry partners to help commercialize Sachi.

Source: National University of Singapore

5 comments
MQ
So it is the same as making all alcoholic spirits from a wort... only in this case the Tofu "Wort" is so depleted of sugar, they have to add sugar to the mix, that makes it moonshine, and they somehow claim no prior art on that ??? AMAZING..
CAVUMark
I think the photo says it all. Cheers.
john82
My thoughts exactly MD.
Reading the process I thought this is basicaly how I used to make wine while in Saudi Arabia many years ago.
And they will patent it???
Paravectorno Extactini
Dried whey already gets used in cocktails; it's generally the worst tasting thing in Singapore, but if their lab microbe strains are that much better, that could be a good tip.
Paravectorno Extactini
A drinkable sherry, eh? We're going to need it getting to vegan brunch. Champagne Brus was neat, but they stopped licensing it outside Denmark, I think. One can only spray-dry and toast the wort for drinks, cocktails and sandwiches so much. Fine to have a fermentation hall 3.5 months at a time until the fashion strikes, the occasional bilder sherry. All with keto-friendly variants. The right yeast, yeast prep and timing all contribute.