Why the Germans make the best Tofu

Smoked Tofu

It's a funny thing, that a country renowned for its meaty diet should make the best tofu. German smoked tofu is a league above anything else, being moist, tasty and with a great texture too. Perhaps it's no surprise that with centuries of experience with flesh, they should excel at applying their skills to plant foods.

You can buy German tofu in the UK, under the Taifun brand sold in wholefood stores. You'll find it stocked next to lesser offerings from UK producers. Where the German tofu is tasty though, the local tofu is coarse, and with more of a rubbery texture than the smooth cutting German stuff. UK producers often cut corners too, using liquid smoke, rather than smoking the tofu blocks in the traditional way. The liquid smoke tends to make the tofu a little bitter, rather than impart that meaty deliciousness that is so desirable.

Read on for the Vorsprung-durch-Technik approach to tofu smoking...

Smoking was traditionally done to preserve food, but the flavour that smoking imparts to food means that we still use the technique in the days of mass refrigeration. Smoked tofu isn't preserved at all in fact, and is sold from the chiller cabinet. Smoking has its downside though, in the potentially carcinogenic compounds that the smoke adds to the food. The risks of this are not fully understood, but it's interesting that in making their smoked tofu, the Germans have developed a low carcinogen smoking process.

The improved smoking process called Reiberauch (rub smoke) uses friction instead of fire to generate the smoke at a far lower temperature than in a traditional smokehouse. The reduction in temperature means there are no unwanted exhaust gases being generated leading to tar and other residues being left on the food - the source of the carcinogens.

Better yet, the smoke is very aromatic rather than bitter and the resulting tofu is delicious. UK producers would do well to learn from their germanic cousins.

Read more about the Reiberauch process used at Taifun:

Taifun Smoked Tofu
Taifun Smoked Tofu

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