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The difference between gCottonh and gSilkh

Are you under the misconception that silken (kinugoshi) tofu production involves straining through silk and cotton (momen) tofu production involves straining through cotton?

The truth is that the names gSilkenh and gCottonh were adopted to reflect the difference in the feel of the texture on the tongue. The difference arises from differences in production techniques. So, what are the actual processes?

gCottonh and gSilkenh tofu production processes

For cotton (momen) tofu, coagulant is added to soy milk and once the mixture has set, the tofu is broken down and pressed to remove excess water before re-setting.
For silken (kinugoshi) tofu, coagulant is added to soy milk that is much thicker than that used for cotton tofu, and the mixture is allowed to set without any breaking down or pressing.

The feel of the texture on the tongue is not the only difference between the two; there are also differences in nutritional content.
Since excess water is pressed out in the production process, the nutrients in cotton (momen) tofu become more concentrated. Consequently, the protein, calcium and iron content is about 20-30% higher than that of silken (kinugoshi) tofu.

However, some B vitamins and potassium is lost when the water is pressed out. Consequently, vitamin B and potassium content is higher in silken (kinugoshi) tofu.

These two tofu types, cotton and silken, give breadth to tofu cuisine. Due to its firmness, cotton (momen) tofu is ideal for grilling, pan frying, simmering, or deep frying.

On the other hand, when you want to enjoy the texture of the tofu itself in dishes like ghiya-yakkoh (cold tofu with a simple garnish and soy sauce) or salads, silken (kinugoshi) tofu is considered better. However, there are those who prefer cotton (momen) tofu for hiya-yakko. The choice between two types depending on preference may be part of the appeal of tofu.

Soft tofu like silken (kinugoshi) tofu is said to have been created in the mid-Edo period, and production methods were continuously adapted to achieve this. The history of tofu has always included a quest for softer tofu with a better feel of the texture for the tongue.

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