Today I’ll be comparing three tofu press options – the old book and weight method, the EZ Tofu Press, and Tofu Xpress.
Why press tofu?
Pressing tofu turns a bland, water-logged sponge into a dense, toothsome protein that’s ready to be filled with whatever marinade or flavor agents you desire. (Plus, if you want to fry tofu, by taking the water out, you’ve put yourself in a good position for crispy outer edges.)
(FYI, for the purposes of this post, the tofu I’m referring to is water-packaged firm or extra firm, which is ideal for baking, frying, or grilling.)
The book and weight method
In our first corner, weighing in at $0 we have the old school, book and weight method! Tofu is cut into six slices, sandwiched between two kitchen towels on a dinner plate, and then topped with a hardcover book and a heavy weight.
EZ Tofu Press
The EZ Tofu Press is made with two plastic plates (with no BPA) held together with two screws and tension knobs. The tofu is slid between the plates, and the press is laid on its side in a bowl or in the sink to gather the dripping water.
To press the tofu, a person has to tighten the knobs occasionally until the tofu has reached the desired firmness. The pressing process can take as short as 15 or 20 minutes or as long as overnight, depending on your needs.
It costs about $20.
Weighing in at about $50 (with shipping) we have the Tofu Xpress. The tofu goes into the box of the Xpress, a lid with spring snaps into place, and the excess water fills to the top.
Here are the results:
Book/weight method – Using this method, the tofu pressed down to 1 inch thick. While this method totally works and costs nothing, it can be a bit of a hassle pulling together all of the set-up elements, washing the kitchen towels afterwards, and making room in the refrigerator for a ten pound kettlebell.
Tofu Xpress – Using this method, the tofu pressed down to 1 1/4 inches thick. The Tofu Xpress works pretty well, but the cost of $50 with shipping is on the higher side for a plastic box. It also has small plastic pieces that can break (that happened to me a couple of times within about a year); although, the people at Tofu Xpress said that’s highly unusual. On the plus side, the Tofu Xpress looks the fanciest and comes with a little box that holds the water that’s removed from the tofu, making it easy to fit in the refrigerator. It is dishwasher safe.
EZ Tofu Press – Using this method, the tofu pressed down to 1 1/8 inches thick. (I sliced the tofu first for the book/weight method, and I imagine if a person sliced the tofu for the EZ Tofu Press first and then pressed, it would make the tofu even denser.) I thought it might be a hassle tending to it, but it really was no big deal just tightening the knobs occasionally. I’d simply stop turning at the point that there was resistance in the knobs, and then after some water came out, I could tighten them more.
The first time I used the EZ Tofu Press, I pressed the tofu for just a half an hour. I was really impressed at how flat and dry it was in that short of time – great for a quick, weeknight meal. The second time, I pressed it overnight (pictured above), and that gave an even denser pressing. The design is pretty simple and basic, but that also means that there’s less to break on it. I asked the makers of the press if they’ve had any problems with the bolts rusting over time, and they said, “These are stainless steel. They will never rust. FYI, these are expensive, not your local hardware store galvanized or zinc plated hardware.”
The EZ Tofu Press is top-rack dishwasher safe (no heat drying cycle is recommended), and since it is basically just two plates, it stores easily in small spaces.