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My job requires me to be on a keyboard for most of the time. This means my wrists/hands ache quite a bit, even with medication. I do like to make soymilk but I find the process of filtering okara through a cheesecloth quite strenuous, even taxing on my poor hands.

What methods are best for filtering okara from soymilk without having to go through the process of squeezing and straining a cheesecloth to filter it out?

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  • I don’t know about ‘best’, but if you have a potato ricer you might be able to put the bag in that to get extra leverage when squeezing. (But be warned that I once ruined a lightweight one trying to squeeze watermelon juice with one, without mashing the watermelon first). A food mill might work, too, but they also grind a little bit as they work, so you might not end up with the same results as just squeezing
    – Joe
    Commented 2 days ago
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    sorry for the unsolicited tip, but I cannot stress enough how much an ergonomical mouse and keyboard helped me reduce my wrist pain (and how quickly I got used to them).
    – fxm
    Commented yesterday
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    @fxm I definitely use those, just trying to keep all activities with heavy hand usage down to a minimum or made as comfortable as possible to avoid damaging my wrists further
    – yuritsuki
    Commented 14 hours ago
  • @yuritsuki very understandable! and good luck for this effort, I can't help with that unfortunately.
    – fxm
    Commented 2 hours ago

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After a lot of experimentation (involving various different combinations of cafetiere, nut milk bag, sieve, and several funnels), I have finally come up with a good solution to this problem, and I think it should work for you too!

Here it is: a large cafetiere combined with a nut milk bag.

Here's what you do:

  1. Line the cafetiere with the nut milk bag.
  2. Pour in the unfiltered soy milk.
  3. Tighten the bag very tight, and roll over the top a couple of times for good measure.
  4. Plunge the bag and its contents with the plunger. If your hands can't manage this, put a folded up tea towel over the top of the plunger and push it down with your forearm instead.
  5. Pour your smooth soy milk into a bottle, rearrange the plunger and re-plunge.
  6. Repeat until the okara is fairly solid/you have lost interest.

Sometimes part of the bag escapes up the side of the plunger, but you can just pour out the milk you already have, then remove the plunger and push it down over the bag again.

Oh, and be careful to cover the cafetiere's lip. Because this method doesn't require you to wait for the milk to cool down, you can strain it when it's still close to boiling point (very good for keeping bugs at bay) and I once got a nasty burn when some spurted out onto my arm!

ALTERNATIVELY:

Rest a sieve across a large bowl. Line the sieve with a piece of cheese cloth or similar. Pour the unstrained milk into the sieve.

This method will work, but you have to do a fair amount of rinsing out the cheese cloth, and will probably have to strain the milk twice to get it smooth. You also won't get quite as much milk out because the okara will be a lot more watery. It involves no particular hand pressure though, and it works fine. I did it this morning because both my nut milk bags were in the wash.

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    it might be worth mentioning cafetiere = french press. The former is a term I've not heard before Commented Apr 22 at 7:00
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I found the perfect solution for this. They go by various names like: Fine Mesh Strainers, Nylon Mesh Sieves, Mesh Food Filter Strainer. It is fine nylon fabric on a white plastic frame and handle. The milk didn't pour straight through - I had to swish it gently with a spoon - I used a plastic paddle that came with my rice cooker. Then scoop out the okara that was left in the strainer. They are pretty small, so I had to strain in 3-4 batches. But it was very easy and didn't take any force or effort with my hands or wrists. Much easier than tying up cheesecloth, and easier to clean too.

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  • There’s also a type of conical strainer that’s sometimes called a ‘China cap’ or a chinois. You use a wooden pestle to stir the inside and press the contents against the strainer. I’ve usually seen it used by people trying to get small seeds out of fruit purées for smoother jam/jellies.
    – Joe
    Commented 2 days ago
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    Oh, and so long as you aren’t affiliated with the product you’re recommending, it’s usually okay to give a link to a specific item as an example of what you’re taking about, or as a specific model that you like. You still want to describe it, as links often break over time, especially to products that might be upgraded and discontinued.
    – Joe
    Commented 2 days ago
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On the low tech/cost versions exist side a cheese, wine, or cider press. You're still squeezing and straining the milk from the okara, but you're not doing it directly by hand.

On the high-tech/high-cost probably impractical side, a centrifuge.

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    I'm not familiar with them as a gadget I've never bought, but I suppose some of the mechanical "juicer" appliances might do the job?
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Feb 18 at 15:07
  • although presses usually have some sort of a screw to apply pressure, you might be able to do some of the work by just putting heavy things on top of the bag
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 18 at 16:34
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    Some use screws, some use levers, some use a hydrualic jack. Lever types can amplify weight applied by pressing close to the pivot and pulling or weighting further from the pivot. Screw types can use a long lever handle for the screw.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Feb 18 at 18:05
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    @Ecnerwal Yes, juicers can make soy milk and nut milks. At least the masticating juicers usually include it in their feature list. It would be an interesting mid-tech, mid-cost solution. Since the OP has a wrist pain condition, they should first think about the cleaning aspect too, before investing in a masticating juicer.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 19 at 12:44
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I'm not sure what your normal process is, but I've seen a recommendation to cook the ground soybeans before straining them. It's supposed to make the straining process much easier than doing it the other way around.

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