Commercially sold tofu available in grocery stores are often made by coagulating soybean milk into curds and pressing the material to form blocks. Tofu has a high content of protein along with low-calorie levels making it a mainstay for vegans as well as other healthy-eating lifestyles.
The process of manufacturing tofu often leaves a significant amount of moisture. Depending on how your tofu is marketed and packed, it might have some amount of moisture squeezed out. An extra firm and firm tofu tend to have moisture in it; however, it is pressed correctly such that the tofu maintains its shape. On the other hand, soft tofu with lots of moisture content is often used as recipes in dishes, where tofu is used as an ingredient like making a smoothie or a mousse.
How to press tofu? Understanding this is highly essential, especially if you need to hold the shape of your tofu. It would help if you considered reading this article to the end to understand better how to press tofu.
How to press tofu?
Since tofu is packed with water, for a better result when baking and cooking tofu, you will need to get rid of water from your tofu. By doing so, you will allow your tofu to absorb flavor and become crispier when frying or baking it.
To get rid of the water from your tofu, you will need to press it. However, how does one press tofu? There are various ways of pressing tofu, and in this section, I shall be taking you through one of the easiest DIY methods you can use. This DIY does not require a tofu press, meaning your will press your tofu free, easy, and involve less work. The whole process will take approximately 30 minutes.
Open your tofu and then drain the water
The first thing you will need to do is open your extra firm or firm tofu and then drain off all of the water available in its package.
- Wrap paper towels or dish towels
Once you drain all the water, go ahead and wrap your tofu in a paper towel or dishtowel. Then take your wrapped tofu, place it on a counter, and try to prevent a mess by using a plate to collect water coming from the tofu.
- Adding weight to your tofu
With your tofu appropriately wrapped, go ahead and add some heavy objects to it. You might consider using a cutting board along with a book, heavy bowl, frying pan, or canned foods. The additional weight will help in squeezing the water out.
- Give it time
Let your tofu sit with the additional weight for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. For an effective and better result, you should consider leaving for an extended period.
- Using it in your recipe
After sitting for an extended period, your tofu will have drained all the water in it. Therefore, it becomes ready for use in your recipe. Go ahead and slice it, cube, marinate or crumble and use it for your recipe.
Pressing tofu using a tofu press
While pressing your tofu without a tofu press tends to work out fine, there are few advantages of using one. Some of the benefits of using a tofu press include;
- When you want to press your tofu for an extended period or overnight, you might consider placing your press in a fridge.
- There is no need to balance objects on your tofu block.
- Depending on your tofu press design, it will collect all the squeezed water, reducing the mess significantly.
In addition to being highly convenient, using a tofu press is straightforward compared to the DIY press method. With the right tool in place, you will be able to press and get rid of excess water in your tofu within a short period while maintaining its shape.
Why should you press tofu?
As previously stated, tofu is packed with water, and getting rid of the water helps in improving the flavor and crispiness of the tofu when baked or cooked. Therefore, like a tofu lover, pressing your tofu before using it in your recipe is vital. The best part is that the whole process of pressing tofu is pretty much straightforward and will not cost you anything. For a better taste and enhanced crispiness, you should consider pressing your tofu.
Should you always press your tofu?
While pressing your tofu is highly essential, you do not have to press it every time. This means you can take your tofu right off the package and use it in your recipe without squeezing the water out. However, if you are on the lookout for a better result and enhanced flavor, I highly recommend pressing your tofu and getting rid of excess water.
When should you press your tofu?
An extra firm and firm tofu will highly benefit from pressing. Soft tofu is very delicate, and as a result, one should not press it. On the other hand, medium tofu needs to be pressed gently to avoid distorting its shape.
When frying, baking, marinating, crumbling, or adding a cubed extra-firm or firm tofu to a dish like Panang curry, you should consider pressing it first. This means that pressing your tofu will also depend on the type of dish you are preparing.
Can you freeze pressed tofu?
Yes, freezing pressed tofu helps in extending its longevity. Furthermore, freezing your pressed tofu helps in making it chewy and firmer, giving a meaty-like texture. It also allows it to soak a significant amount of flavor or marinade of whatever you are preparing.
Tofu is growing significantly in popularity among vegetarians and vegans. And as a result, understanding how to use it as your everyday ingredient is vital. By now, you can press your tofu and use it as an ingredient in your typical dishes. In addition to that, I hope you have understood why pressing tofu is vital and the ways in which you can achieve it with ease.