Tofu originated in China and is a popular ingredient in Asian cooking. It’s made from condensed soymilk and pressed using methods similar to those used in cheesemaking. It’s available for purchase in the deli section of your market in the form of white blocks. Tofu has been growing in popularity in recent years as a convenient and tasty meat substitution.
Although tofu itself is almost flavorless, it’s spongey makeup is brilliant at absorbing flavors in your cooking, and the texture is often likened to chicken.
Not only is tofu a brilliant food source for soaking up the flavor, but it’s also incredibly healthy. It’s packed full of protein, making it an excellent substitution for meat in a vegan diet. It is also high in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals as well as being low in fat and calories.
Why do you need to press tofu?
As the process for making tofu includes pressing the ingredients, you might be wondering why you would need to press it yourself. You need to press tofu at home because packaged tofu still contains a lot of water from the manufacturing process. Trying to cook unpressed tofu will leave you with flavorless food with an unpleasant and monotonous texture that’s basically unchanged from the packet.
You;ll be less likely to create crispy or tasty tofu without pressing, and anyone who tries to skip this step might be problematic.
Pressing tofu isn’t a complicated process, but it can be time-consuming. Thankfully, most recipes that include tofu will remind you that it needs pressing before cooking! Remembering to prepare your tofu will ensure you get a tasty meal rather than a flavorless blob.
Do I need a tofu press?
Tofu presses are a brilliant invention that allows you to evenly press your tofu to remove as much water as possible. Usually, you’ll be able to get ¼ to ½ a cup of liquid out of a standard block, which really serves to highlight how important it is to press your tofu!
While tofu presses are awesome and make your life a lot easier, it’s not strictly necessary to use a tofu press when preparing vegan meals. If you’re willing to wait a little longer for ready-to-cook tofu, you can just as easily press tofu with household objects.
How do I press tofu without a tofu press?
If you don’t want a whole kitchen appliance just for pressing tofu (they’re not expensive, but if you’re not a regular tofu-eater, we understand why you might not want one), you can still press tofu using objects you have lying around.
- Start by opening your packet of tofu and draining as much liquid as possible from the packaging.
- Next, wrap the tofu block in a lint-free towel or paper towels, place it in the middle of a rimmed plate (to catch the drained liquid), or pop it in the sink.
- Place a heavy cast-iron skillet or other large, heavy object on top of the tofu and check that it’s well balanced.
- Place additional heavy objects into the skillet to add more weight and compression. Cans or tins are great for this, or you could use heavy books or almost anything else you have to hand.
Without a tofu press, you’ll need to leave these weights to squeeze out the excess liquid for approximately 30 minutes. You may need to empty the container your tofu is draining in a few times, as this process can remove up to ½ a cup of water from just 15oz of tofu!
Once you’ve drained all the liquid, your tofu is ready to use!
How do I press tofu with a tofu press?
If you cook with tofu regularly, then investing in a tofu press can make your life a whole lot easier. Tofu presses remove water much quicker than manual methods and provide a more consistent result.
Using a tofu press is incredibly simple, and it’s a must-have for any vegan households who cook tofu regularly.
To use a tofu press, remove the packaging and drain any excess liquid as usual.
Next, place the tofu into the press and check it’s even. Tighten the press down following the instructions on the box and allow it to sit for around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, tighten the press as much as you can without cracking the tofu, and leave for another 5 minutes.
How long do I need to press tofu for?
When it comes to pressing tofu, the longer you leave it, the better! More time under the weights will allow ad much liquid as possible to squeeze out. As a general rule, leave tofu under the weights for around 30 minutes, or 15 minutes if you’re using an actual tofu press like this one at Tofubud.