08 March 2012

Making Your Own Tofu Press

Last week, I bought Andrea Nguyan's new cookbook on tofu for my Kindle. http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2012/03/asian-tofu-enhanced-ebook.html (I also own her Asian Dumplings book on Kindle, which is excellent.) I've only scratched the surface, but it's enticing. I've made the Ma Po Tofu from it twice, and the pork-kimchee-tofu mandu once so far. Asian Tofu strikes me as a reincarnation of Shurtleff and Ayogi's Book of Tofu. My only gripe with Asian Tofu is the lack of technique for making puffy fried tofu.

Anyway, I was paging through Asian Tofu and dreaming of making fresh tofu. I had everything I need, but a press. The plastic press looked kinda dinky, and I didn't want to pay out the nose for an expensive Japanese wooden one. I also wanted something reusable, so the disposable loaf pan idea was also out. After looking at the picture of the wooden press in the book, got to thinking that I could make this. So I went to Home Depot and came back with about 10 bucks worth of poplar cuts and gorilla glue.

 I took my Dremal tool and went off to work. Woodworking skills were not something I've learned, so things are a little rough. It was a learning experience for sure. Turns out, I made it a bit big. The interior space is about 12"x4.5"x3.25", just a little too long to fit comfortably in my sink. It was also too big for my clamps, so I couldn't glue both ends at once.

The frame is done, and the top and bottom planks and the risers are trimmed. Everything is sanded down. It's usable right now. In fact, I've got it pressing some ricotta into paneer cheese right now. Once I get an electric saw (I'm woefully under equipped), I'm going to split the top and bottom plates like the press in the book, and glue down the support bars. For a finish, I'm either going to use either mineral oil or a mineral oil/beeswax blend.

It'll be good for not only tofu and cheeses, but for oshizushi as well.


  1. Thank you for the plans for the Tofu Press. My two daughters became vegetarians and I am scrambling for healthy organic vegetarian recipes. For the price of buying a press on line, with your plans, I can make two or three presses! The use of Gorilla glue makes me wonder if this is a good choice since we are using this around food? I do not know of an alternative glue, but wondered why you decided on Gorilla glue. Did you find that you needed to use stainless steel screws to keep the box together after several uses?

  2. I would like to know how long your form lasted. It appears that you merely glued a butt joint to end grain. I doubt even glue made for gorillas can compensate for that.