A common question among everyone who’s looking to go vegan or cutting on dairy is how to make a tofu press.
The difference in tofu cheese is that’s made by coagulating soy milk rather than goat’s or cow’s milk. Of course, that makes it great for vegans as well as for people who don’t like or are allergic to dairy.
Maybe you’ve tried tofu at a restaurant or have seen it at the grocery store.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to press tofu, because it’s nothing complicated. Keep reading to find the best way to press tofu as well as the best tofu recipes.
What Do You Need
There’re few things you need when learning how to press tofu for the first time. Since we’re trying to make this as simple as possible, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make a homemade tofu press.
If you don’t want to purchase an EZ tofu press, we recommend you make your own homemade tofu press. Here’s what you need for our DIY tofu press:
- Firm tofu of any size you prefer
- Two flat plates
- A book weighting about 2 or 3 lbs
This DIY tofu press is very simple. The two plates are our homemade press and, of course, the heavy book we use to press down the tofu block.
Other than a book, you can choose a heavy skillet or cans of beans, corn, etc. As for the plates, you want them to be completely flat, with edges a little flared up.
Another thing you need, that’s just as important is patience and a gentle hand. Tofu has a certain texture and if you’re working too fast or you aren’t handing it really gently, it may lose that texture.
Homemade press such as this makes the actual pressing process quite easy. Understanding how to press tofu and why it is important to press it is crucial.
When first purchased, tofu is soaked in liquid. In order to add any taste to your tofu block, you should marinate it in sauces and seasonings. However, for the tofu to soak the marinade, first you must drain the water it came with very well.
Think of it as a sponge. When a sponge is soaked with water,there’s no way to add any other liquid. Same with tofu, if you expect it to take the taste from any marinade, you first must drain the water.
Luckily, we made this easy for you, so if you don’t know how to press tofu, follow these steps.
Prepare all the components that make our homemade tofu press. As we said, you only need two plates and a heavy object. Also, open your bag of tofu and throw away all the excess liquid without squeezing the block.
Place the tofu block in the middle of a flat plate. Obviously, you must be gentle when handling the tofu block. You don’t want to break it or lose its structure in any way. Be patient, the entire process doesn’t take very long to begin with.
The Homemade Tofu Press
Take the second plate and place it on top of the tofu block. Of course, the second plate should be just as flat as the first one. Make sure that both plates are centered exactly over one another.
If you don’t position tofu in the center between the two plates, the weight you put on top may not distribute evenly. This will cause the liquid to drain more or less in some parts.
Add On The Weight
Place the heavy object (a book, bean cans, etc.) on top of the plate and the tofu block. Pay attention that the object isn’t way too heavy.
Of course, if you put too much weight on top of the plate, it will squash the tofu block. Our suggestion is to use a book, because it puts on equal weight across the entire plate, which is exactly what you want.
If, however, you use cans of beans or corn, put the same amount on each side of the plate to try to pressure it as evenly as you can.
Keep A Close Eye
Make sure to check on your tofu from time to time. This is important, because the top plate may tilt a little bit so you want to be there and balance it again. The top plate must stay flat at all times.
If you see a lot of liquid in the bottom plate, you can drain it off. Of course, continue pressing on the tofu block after draining the liquid for the first time. Each time you notice liquid in the bottom plate, drain it.
After about an hour to four hours of draining the water, pressing process ends.Note that you can’t press tofu for too long. You can only press it for too little, but that won’t happen if you press the tofu for at least an hour.
If you press it for too little time, you’ll be left with watery block that’s just not what tofu should be like. If not drained from all the water, tofu is squishy once prepared and there’s not much you can do to fix that.
Simply, once you see no more liquid in the bottom plate, pressing is finished. This means that all water drained and tofu is now ready. Now you can remove the weight and the top plate, and then drain the rest of the liquid from the bottom plate.
This step is easy. Now you can do whatever you want with the block of tofu you’ve previously pressed. Versatility of tofu opens endless options, from cooking, frying, etc.
Because, now tofu is drained of all the liquids you purchase it with, you can easily add any marinade to it. Tofu soaks all the marinade easily, absorbing all the taste. Add any seasoning and sauces that you like, and tofu will soak it all in.
Once you marinade tofu, it becomes delicious and you can do anything you like to prepare it. Fry coated tofu slices, add tiny cubes to your salads, rice, pasta, etc. The limit is truly endless.
Now that you’ve seen how to press tofu, we’re sure you’re convinced of how easy it is. However, there’re always some additional questions you may have.
Having different questions is normal, especially if you’ve never pressed tofu at home, or prepared it in any way. In very few steps after pressing tofu, you can have delicious pieces of it to add taste and texture to any dish.
Don’t worry if you’re new to pressing and preparing tofu because, luckily, we have answers to these most frequently asked questions.
Here’s the list of FAQ’s we come across most often:
How Long To Press Tofu?
Normally, when you first buy it, tofu is soaked in liquid that you must drain. Unless you have an EZ tofu press, or any kind of tofu press machine, you can press tofu with our homemade tofu press.
With the technique we’ve explained above you don’t need to press tofu for too long. Typically, it only takes about an hour to drain the excess water.
Of course, you can do it for as long as you can, up to four hours even. This is because there’s no such thing as pressing tofu too much. The only thing you must pay attention to is not to press it for too little time.
Obviously, pressing it for too short period will result in having a squishy and watery tofu block.
If, however, you own any kind of tofu press machine, such as EZ tofu press, the time shortens significantly. More precisely, an EZ tofu press takes no longer than fifteen minutes maximum. Depending on the size of a tofu block, an EZ tofu press needs from five to fifteen minutes to drain all the excess liquids out of it.
How Do You Cook Tofu?
As we said, tofu is versatile, and there’re a lot of things you can do with it. For example, marinating, grilling, and frying are just some of the ways you can prepare tofu.
However, tofu doesn’t need to be cooked. Any of these processes just add to the flavor and texture which is the only reason we do them.
Whatever you choose to do with your tofu, make sure to marinate it first. Naturally, if it’s not marinated, it tastes rather blunt. Therefore, choose whatever it is your favorite marinade and let the tofu block soak in all the taste. Keep in mind that you want to avoid marinades that contain oil.
This is because even pressed tofu contains water. Not as much as it did at the beginning, but there’s definitely still some water left.Whatever we do, we can’t squeeze the water out of tofu as much as to leave it completely dry.
Of course, it’s known that water and oil don’t go well together which is why you want to skip on oily marinades.
Grilling tofu is also one of the great ways to prepare this great dish. Again, after marinating, place tofu on the cooking surface of your choice. Don’t forget to spray the cooking surface with some kind of oil so the tofu doesn’t stick to it. Grilling process doesn’t take longer than about seven minutes on each side. Simply, grill until you get those nice crispy edges.
How Do You Get Water Out Of Tofu?
As mentioned above, when you buy a tofu block, it comes soaked in water. Before preparing it any way you like, you should drain all that liquid.
Simply, if you don’t get the water out you won’t be able to marinate your tofu. Of course, we can all agree that tofu isn’t tasty unless marinated, so therefore, you shouldn’t skip on that part.
There’re few ways to get water out of tofu and they’re all quite simple. One of the ways to achieve all the water to drain out is with the help of a tofu press. Several companies make few types of these machines, but they all come to a same thing.
Tofu, placed on a flat surface is pressed down by another flat surface. The pressure applied for a certain amount of time squeezes all the water out of tofu.
Also, there’s a homemade tofu press version of these tools, and it works exactly the same way. As we explained in the steps above, it’s nothing complicated. Place your tofu between two flat plates, then put some weight on the top plate, and wait until the pressure drains all the water.
The variety of pressing machines allows you to choose whatever you prefer. Finally, these tofu presses often don’t cost a lot of money, but they’re not necessary since you can press tofu at home with things you have laying in your kitchen.
How Do You Fry Tofu?
Frying tofu is just as easy as any other way of preparing it. In this case, of course, make sure to coat your tofu after marinating. This step will add a nice crisp coating to the tofu pieces. We recommend cornstarch for coating.
Any coat you choose will work, because coating the tofu pieces prevent them from sticking to the pan while also giving them a nice crispy outside. Add any seasoning and coating you like, because tofu is of blank taste on its own.
Therefore, you can do countless things as far as the taste goes.Frying is one of the best ways to prepare tofu, because it makes it crispy on the outside while still soft on the inside.
Before frying, put your tofu in a plastic bag and add cornstarch to it. Simply, give the bag a good shake until all pieces are well covered. Fry the pieces on moderate heat until crispy and golden brown on each side. Also, remember to be patient and gentle when frying the slices.
After all sides are golden and crispy,lay the pieces of fried tofu on a cooling rack. The best is to eat the tofu right after frying it. Simply, the tofu pieces will lose the crispiness after few hours. Once that happens, the pieces become chewy which is not as tasty with most dishes.
However, if you happen to have some tofu leftovers, don’t throw them away. Some recipes work well with the chewy pieces, but only if you’re a fan of such texture. Try adding tiny chewy pieces of tofu to salads or rice.
In conclusion, what’s important is that you now know how to make your own tofu press.
Naturally, tofu is a great food that you can do all kinds of things to in order to achieve different tastes. Just imagine eating a different tasting tofu slices each time you like. Thanks to its versatility and smooth texture, tofu is a super food you should definitely add to your meals.
Have you ever tried tofu? What’s your opinion on pressing tofu at home? Please, feel free to leave a comment and join the discussion.