Barbara of Tigers & Strawberries pointed out the importance of pressing tofu in her helpful post about using tofu in stir-fries. Pressing the tofu removes water and leads to firmer and more resilient tofu.
When making tofu squares with miso, I like to press the tofu for a few hours (or just 20 minutes, after a work day) before broiling it in my toaster oven.
For a long time I used the two-part roasting kit that came with my toaster oven. It consists of a lightly perforated upper pan with shallow ridges that fits into a bottom pan. I placed the blocks of tofu on the perforated pan, set a small cutting board on the tofu, applied some weight, and then tipped it slightly. Liquid would be pressed out of the tofu, onto the pan and into the holes. A decent system, to be sure, but the holes were too few and far between.
Recently, I have found an ally in strawberries. Actually, it is the light green berry basket that I use. Although I try to bring empty 32 oz. yogurt containers to the Farmers Market in which to bring home my strawberries (the containers protect the berries during transport and keep them fresh in the refrigerator for days), now and then I forget the containers. One day I realized that these containers would be excellent for tofu pressing.
To use this technique you'll need a berry basket, a small container (like a Rubbermaid sandwich box), a flat plate, and some weight (like a ceramic bowl). First, slice the tofu into slabs of the desired thickness. Place the berry basket in a container with the opening facing down, then set the tofu on the berry container as shown in the photo below.
Put a plate on top and extra weight upon the plate as desired, as shown in the photo below. For some reason (probably surface tension), water tends to form bridges across the holes in the mesh, so the tofu pieces should be turned over a few times during the pressing.
Random link from the archive: From My Rasoi - Winter (December 2005)
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