If you are new to cooking with tofu and want to know how to press tofu, keep reading to learn how.
What is pressing tofu?
Pressing tofu is a process of removing or draining excess moisture from tofu by applying pressure to it.
Pressing tofu helps to improve the texture and firmness of the tofu, and depending on the tofu used, it can hold its shape better during cooking.
Why press tofu?
Pressing tofu helps to remove excess moisture from the tofu to improve its texture and make it firmer.
This can be especially important to you when tofu is grilled or fried, as it will hold its shape better and not fall apart when cooked.
Also pressing tofu makes it drier, which is ideal for when you want your tofu to have a crispy crunchy crust or for when you want it to absorb more flavor.
What type of tofu can be pressed?
Medium and firm tofu are the most common types of tofu that can benefit from pressing.
Extra firm tofu is much denser than medium and firm tofu and contains very little moisture, and does not need pressing.
Silken and soft tofu is not suited to pressing because they will fall apart if pressed. See our article on Cooking With Silken Tofu for how to drain these types of tofu.
How To Press Tofu?
There are two ways to press tofu at home, but they do the same thing.
One is to use a commercial tofu press, which can be handy if tofu is something that you cook often.
These usually have a top and bottom plate for the tofu to sit in between, and pressure is applied.
The pressure can be from either a weight or an adjustable pressure whereby the two plates are screwed together.
These presses should be set over a plate. tray or on the side of the sink to catch the liquid that drains from it.
Or make a DIY tofu press by using things that you have around your house.
To make a DIY tofu press you will need the following.
- A plate or tray with a rimmed edge, or some flat container, to catch the drained water. You could even place a wire cake rack on the side of your sink for the water to drain into.
- Paper towels or a clean tea towel (dishcloth) to soak up the moisture.
- Something flat to put on top of the tofu, like a flat plate, small baking tray, or cutting board.
- A heavy object to use as a weight, like a cast iron skillet, cans of food, or books.
Here are the steps for making and using your DIY tofu press:
- Remove the tofu from its packaging and drain off any excess liquid.
- Place the tofu onto a plate lined with a folded length of absorbent paper or a folded dishcloth.
- Place the tofu on top of the absorbent paper on the plate and add another layer of absorbent paper to the top.
- Place a flat plate or tray on top of the tofu.
- Place weight onto the plate. The weight should be large enough and heavy enough to press evenly over the top of the tofu without crushing it.
- Let the tofu sit for about 30 minutes. If the towels get too wet, you may need to replace them with fresh ones and continue pressing.
Once the tofu has been pressed cut it to use in your recipes.