From Bean to Meat

By Saga Norrby

Editor’s note: This piece is part of a collaboration between The Herring and AUC’s Journalism course. The students of the spring course created a collection of so-called short form alternatives – creative pieces that are informative in one way or another, often with a touch of humor.

From this…

…to this

Haven’t we all wondered how on earth soybeans can be made into something strikingly sinewy and meat-like? What follows is a simplified and in no way chemically correct illustration of the process.

1. The beans are slightly dried, then cleaned, cracked and dehulled.
Soy meat 4
2. The resulting bean flakes are then defatted, by being “washed” in hexane.
3. In the next step, the defatted flakes are treated in water, alcohol or acids to dissolve and separate carbohydrates from the flakes and acquire protein concentrate.
4. Then the flakes, which are by now almost purely protein, are milled to a flour.
5. The flour gets mixed with water into a dough, which gets passed through a so-called extruder. The extruder uses heat and pressure to create a fibre like structure, and voilà – soy meat.


Some companies sell the soy meat chunks as they come out of the extruder, others season and marinate the product before offering it to you.


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