My favourite tofu press is made by Tofuture – just set it up and leave it: simples! There are many other tofu presses on market from minimalist to traditional bamboo.
To the uninitiated, tofu can seem bland and a bit soggy. If this is your view too, I’d say: don’t give up on tofu just yet…! Not until you have tried pressing and marinating your tofu!
Broadly speaking, tofu comes in two types – block tofu and silken [or Asian] tofu. The latter does not need pressing and is best used in miso soup and for making vegan mayo or white sauce.
Block tofu has a denser texture and is more robust so idea for stir-frying or making tofu bacon. Some block tofu comes ready pressed, but if it is sitting in a pale liquid when you buy it, it will benefit hugely from pressing before you eat it.
The best approach is to start one day ahead. Some manufacturers promise pressed tofu in around 15 minutes, but in my experience, you just end up with tofu that’s firm on the outside but has a soft middle.
Caveat: if you dont have time to press your tofu, then you can cut it into small chunks or thin strips and fry it over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes. This will drive the water off and you will end up with similar results.
For best results, press your tofu overnight [all you’ve got to do is put it in the press – it doesnt take long] and then pop it in your marinade during the day, ready for a quick and tasty supper!
There are a variety of tofu presses on the market for every budget. i have chosen five alernatives in order of price.
1. DIY Homemade Tofu Press-Maker £3.49
The cheapest on the market, the construction is a little flimsy and if you’re likely to use this a lot, it would make sense to go for a more robust model.
Pros: good, entry-level press aimed at people who make their own tofu and can be used to press store-bought tofu. Large capacity. Good for the price.
Cons: a bit flimsy – but what do you expect for under £4! Needs to be weighed down carefully so that the weight doesnt slip and crack the container.
VERDICT: worth buying if you want to see how much you use it before investing in something more robust and substantial.
2. Tofoo’d Tofu press £19.99
This works simply by sandwiching the tofu between two plates and squeezing. Wing nuts are tightened to press the tofu.
Pros: Simple design, fits any size of tofu block.
Cons: No holes in either plate, so liquid has to make its way to the edge of the tofu block to escape. No integrated tray, so you will need to stand the whole thing on a plate or container to avoid returning to puddles in your kitchen!
VERDICT: a good, basic press.
Similar products: Kenley Tofu Press £17.99
Similar to the Tofoo’d model, this is a more stylish design and flipped on the vertical to make it more compact. It refers to itself as ‘the definitive tofu press!’. Truth or marketing spin? Let’s find out.
Pros: the tofu is sandwiched between two plastic sheets with holes, each set in a plastic tray. This allows the water to escape across the whole surface of the tofu block and is captured in the tray, speeding up the pressing process. The press can be stored horizontally or vertically, which allows for compact and convenient storage during pressing.
Cons: made of plastic. The pressing mechanism needs to be regularly tightened to ensure water continues to be squeezed out. But if you tighten it too much, the tofu starts squeezing through the holes, so not ideal for overnight pressing.
VERDICT: good but having to tighten and retighten the nuts is a faff.
4. Tofuture tofu press £29.99
This is a compact and clever machine and is the only one to employ stretchy bands to hold the tofu under pressure over a longer period of time than other presses.
The green inner tray has drainage holes, which makes the pressing process more efficient. This drainage tray sits in the white tray on feet that keep the tofu separate from the drainage water below.
Pros: compact, the only design to employ rubber bands to maintain pressure, drainage holes for efficient pressing.
Cons: Plastic construction.
VERDICT: I need efficiency and compactness so this is the best of an imperfect group of products. Now, if they just made it out of bamboo or other biodegradable product, it’d be a five star… 🙂
5. ‘Kimono Kitchen’ tofu press £40.49
If you are committed to a plant-based lifestyle and feel it is worth investing in something that has form as well as function, then the Kimono Kitchen tofu press at £40.49 is a thing of beauty…
Pros: packaging and product made from biodegradable and recyclable materials. Aesthetically pleasing.
Cons: Nuts need to be tightened periodically to keep the tofu under pressure. No holes or tray so pressing process is less efficient and messier than in some of the other models.
VERDICT: No drainage holes and no tray, but will look attractive on your countertop.
This kit makes about 500 g firm tofu, and the pack contains dried soya beans, a cheese cloth, wooden tofu press and 30g Nigari tofu coagulant and a set of instructions.
Homemade tofu is wonderful and tastes fresher than the store-bought equivalent. Making it is a bit of a faff but if you want to have a go this kit is a great – and relatively inexpensive – place to start. Also available in large and extra large sizes.
Pros: works with home-made tofu and pressing store-bought tofu. Fully biodegradable.
Cons: not dishwasher safe, wood is untreated.
VERDICT: a bit of fun if you want to make your own tofu!
Finally, you can use a sieve lined with muslin with a plate and a weight (such as a jar) balanced on top, but I personally wouldn’t recommend this because the water gets pressed out unevenly and whole plate/sieve/jar tower topples over … and smashes anything near it (like my favourite mug) and makes a colossal mess on the floor…OK, as you can tell, I am talking from personal experience here…
I hope you have found these reviews helpful!
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