Recently a reader asked me how to properly press tofu and why to even bother in the first place. So naturally, I decided that it was time for The Ultimate Guide to Pressing Tofu!!!!!!! (I get WAY too excited by these types of things).
There is the DIY tofu pressing method and there are store-bought tofu presses. Believe it or not, I have never actually used a store-bought tofu press, so I thought that not only would I provide you with this handy dandy guide of the how's and why's of pressing tofu, but I would compare different tofu presses to see which one is the champion of tofu presses! (In my opinion anyway).
Here we go! Are you ready for it? Get excited!
Boom! So ok, Sam, what are you talking about, what's with this tofu pressing nonsense?
Why press tofu?
When I say press tofu, I literally mean pressing tofu! When working with extra-firm tofu, you can press the tofu to squish out as much water as possible. Watery tofu = bland mush. So when you do press water out of tofu, it allows the tofu more room to suck up marinades and helps get the tofu crispier when frying it. Omnomnomn. This technique can help bring your tofu game from good to fantastic!
When to press tofu?
In my recipes, be sure to only press the tofu when I instruct you to. If you press tofu for recipes when not required it can mess with the end result of the dish. When preparing your own recipes, you should only press extra-firm (my preference) or firm tofu. Any other kind of tofu is too soft, and should not be pressed... unless you just want tofu mush, which I'm guessing you don't.
So off to the tofu races! Check out my video where I compare the tofu presses, and see who the winning tofu press is!
Tah dah!! I hope you enjoyed The Ultimate Tofu Press Off! In case you missed it, or in case you aren't into watching tofu videos, I have broken down the methods below, with the pros and cons, and where to purchase each press.
The DIY Method
How it works:
Wrap the tofu in a clean dish towel. Balance a cutting board on top of the wrapped tofu, and put something heavy on top of that such as cans or a cast iron skillet.
- It's free! You can do this with stuff you already have lying around the house.
- It takes as little as 15 minutes but you can press as long as you want.
- It doesn't get as much water out of the tofu as a store-bought tofu press does.
- It can be tricky to balance everything, and probably wouldn't be easy to assemble in the fridge to press the tofu overnight.
How it works:
The tofu is placed between two strong plastic boards, then you screw down the boards to start compacting the tofu. The screws need to be tightened every couple of minutes over the course of 5 to 15 minutes.
- It's the cheapest store-bought tofu press, currently selling for $19.99 on amazon.com
- It's the fastest tofu press and takes only 5 to 15 minutes to press tofu.
- When I tested it, it flattened the tofu the most compared to the other pressing methods. (See the video above).
- Adjustable pressure. As you screw it down yourself, and can continue to press the tofu as much or as little as you like.
- If you aren't very gentle (like I wasn't), it can crack the tofu. If you want the tofu to hold shape (in cubes or slices), the cracks might make the tofu pieces fall apart.
- You have to keep adjusting the press every few minutes.
- You have to put a plate or something underneath to catch the water.
How it works:
There are three pieces to this press. The lid, the strainer, and the water catching container. The tofu is placed in the strainer, then the lid is placed on top. The lid is secured with rubber bands that press the tofu down firmly, then you snap the handles in place which adds even more pressure on the tofu.
- Not the cheapest tofu press, but still not too expensive, costing $29.95 on amazon.com.
- This is the only tofu press of the three that comes with a container to catch water. A big plus in my mind as I like things tidy.
- The compact design makes it east to store in the fridge. When you come home from the grocery store, put your tofu in there, and then the tofu will be good to go when you are ready to cook.
- When I did the test comparing them all, it seemed to get the most amount of water out of the tofu, without cracking the tofu (but note, that it did take the longest amount of time).
- Adjustable pressure. With three different notches, you can press the tofu more or less. I originally had the tofu on the first notch, but once it pressed for awhile, I was able to bump it up to the second notch to press the tofu even more.
- The rubber bands can be a bit fidgety to secure.
- It takes the longest amount of time to press tofu (2 hours to overnight).
How it works:
The tofu is placed in the container and is pressed down by the 4.5 pound top. Easy peasy.
- Beautiful, simple, chrome design. Pretty enough to display on your counter.
- Very simple to use, just place the weighted top on top of the tofu.
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee.
- Takes 15 to 30 minutes to press tofu (although I think it would benefit to press longer).
- Would make a lovely gift.
- Requires a plate or something to catch the water.
- Expensive, costing $105.00 on amazon.com.
- The pressure is not adjustable like with the EZ Tofu Press and Tofuture.
Tofuture! While I loved playing with all of the presses, the compact design of the Tofuture tofu press won me over. It's very neat and tidy, dishwasher safe, and simply works well. Now I just pop my tofu in there when I get home from the grocery store, and I find it keeps well for 1 to 3 days. Maybe even longer if you remember to drain off the water and give it a quick rinse once in awhile. The longer the tofu presses, the more I can bump up the pressure, so by the time I get to cooking with the tofu, it is SUPER pressed!
It does take longer to press, however, so if you are looking for a last minute tofu press, one of the other presses might be best as they are faster.
I hope you enjoyed The Ultimate Guide to Pressing Tofu! If you have any questions or I missed anything, feel free to drop me a comment below.