How to Press Tofu

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on April 25, 2011

Many tofu recipes in cookbooks and online, including several of my own, call for pressed tofu. Pressing tofu takes out the water in it and makes it firm. Pressed tofu becomes wonderfully dense and pleasantly chewy when cooked. Pressed tofu is also a great meat substitute. So how exactly do you press tofu? Read on..

What you need to press tofu
one 15oz package of firm tofu, drained and patted dry
an absorbant kitchen towel
paper towels
a plate
something heavy (weighing about 2 lbs). Choose from:

  • 2-3 cans – canned beans, canned corn, peanut butter jar, pickle jar…whatever you have
  • a book
  • heavy skillet

 

Lay out the kitchen towel on a table. Place 3 layers of paper towels on top so that the paper towels cover the cloth towel. Put the tofu block in the center.

Now wrap the paper towels over the tofu. Bring all four side up and wrap them gently, but firmly over the tofu block.

Now do the same with the cloth towel. Bring each side up and wrap firmly.

You will now have a tofu parcel. Put a plate over the tofu parcel. Place 2 to 3 cans (or a book, or skillet, or anything heavy – weighing about 2lbs) over the the plate. Adjust their positioning so that the plate is well balanced over the tofu.

Let the tofu with the weights sit for atleast 1 hour, and up to 4 hours.

The weights will release all the water in the tofu, and the towels will absorb it.

 How long to press the tofu will depend on its water content and how dense it is. But you should press tofu for atleast an hour, longer wont hurt. Trader Joe’s extra firm tofu is very firm, so I dont need to press it for more than an hour. Other firm tofus arent as dense, so I press them longer.

Use right away or store pressed tofu in a zip lock bag for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Now go check out some of my tofu recipes!

More tofu pressing methods..

How to press tofu in 5 steps in too many combined
A video on how to press tofu using a plate and book
Tips on how to press tofu on Bon Appetite
How to press tofu using a heavy pot on Fit Sugar

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Comments

comments

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Indu April 25, 2011 at 6:01 am

Interesting one….

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2 Indu April 25, 2011 at 6:02 am

Is the same applicable for paneer as well??

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

if you mean should you press an already made block of paneer this way? No. Because paneer is dense on its own and you dont need to press out any water.

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3 Molly April 25, 2011 at 10:30 am

Thank you so much for posting this. My tofu always seems to slide out from underneath the cans and dishtowels I’ve used to press it. My next attempt will definitely feature both paper and dish towels. :-)

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

try using a heavy book, its easier to balance over the tofu!

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4 Barb Chamberlain April 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

I’ve pressed it in a colander in the sink so the liquid just runs down the drain. You just have to remember not to turn on the faucet without looking or you’re back to square one with wet tofu!

@BarbChamberlain

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5 Mary Bennett April 25, 2011 at 10:49 am

Another way to help firm up tofu is boiling it. Sounds crazy, but the hot water actually draws the tofu water out of the tofu. If you flavor your water, you will flavor your tofu. Not sure how it works, but it does. Oh, yeah it has to cool completely before you notice any firmness. Then cut and add to your favorite dish.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

This is a new method to me! Cant wait to try it out! I love the flavoring idea.

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Ashley Reply:

I’m wondering if you ended up testing this method–does it work?

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6 Jeanee April 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm

YAY! That’s how my Hubby taught me ^.^

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7 Anu April 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Hi Sala!
I love that you gave us a peek into your kitchen with this post… the almost reflecting table top gives me a complex :) And Mary’s idea seems to unique too. I’ve always used paper towels too but never used the weight method before. should try.

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8 The Green Beet April 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm

This is a very concise demonstration, but the idea of throwing out so many paper towels every time you need to press tofu seems a bit wasteful :(

I bought a Tofuxpress and it has changed my life: http://www.tofuxpress.com/

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9 nags April 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm

really liked the new perspective in the pictures :) ok now let me go check what you have written about :D

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10 Viswa April 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I do not find any difference in taste with normal extra firm tofu.. Am I missing the point?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

extra firm tofu is denser than regular tofu. so its more a texture thing. pressing tofu releases the water in it, so it can absorb marinades/sauces better and become more flavorful.

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11 Nithu April 26, 2011 at 11:58 am

Thanks for sharing this. U have nice kitchen.

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12 Brian @ A Thought For Food April 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm

When I’m able to, I press the tofu… it’s kind of a must if you’re going to grill it. But when I’m just stir-frying it, I tend to just drain it and dab it with a paper towel.

Great demonstration and the pictures are beautiful!

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13 Terry May 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm

There are many methods to press tofu, however the easiest by far is to use the TofuPresser.
Recently invented by a vegan engineer, it takes all the mess and fuss out of pressing tofu.
If you would like more info see http://www.tofupresser.com.

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