Tip of the Week: Tofu and Texture

As I continue to grow my business, I run across a lot of people who don’t like tofu or have never tried it. When I first went vegan, I was one of those people who didn’t want anything to do with it. I thought the texture was gross, it tasted like nothing, and I had no idea what it actually was. It’s interesting because I basically lived off of it for the first month I was vegan (I honestly didn’t know what else was vegan). That wasn’t ideal, and I got sick of it really quickly. I was afraid that I was going to have to eat this awful thing for the rest of my life. Over the last few years, I have learned multiple different preparations of tofu that made it much more bearable!

The first technique I learned was pressing tofu. This one is pretty obvious and common to most people, but it does require a bit of time and patience. When I press my tofu, I usually allow it to sit for at least a half hour. Sometimes it’ll be longer, depending on how dry or dense I want it. To press tofu I will usually put a towel down and wrap my tofu in a paper towel. Some people will let their tofu sit directly on the towel, but I don’t like the fibers from the towels touching my food. I will use a large flat object, like a cutting board, to press the tofu and weigh it down with some cans, or a pot. When tofu is pressed, it develops a meatier texture. Not only does it compress the tofu itself, it also releases a lot of the water. This makes the texture much more tolerable. It also allows more flavor to be absorbed into the product since a lot of the water is removed. Once tofu is pressed, a marinade can be easily absorbed.

Another technique I use to introduce people to tofu is baking it. Yet another simple and very obvious technique, but it works wonders! I used to bake tofu a lot. I like how the heat from the oven draws out a lot of the moisture and gives texture to the edges. Baked tofu will also get very meaty and dense. It allows for a less fragile product. The only problem with baking tofu is the fact that it gets stuck to most surfaces very easily. When baking tofu, a non-stick silicone mat or parchment paper is necessary!

One thing I learned in culinary school was to freeze tofu. I thought it was odd, until I heard how it worked. This method requires the tofu to be frozen overnight, then as it thaws it is pressed. This allows even more water to be extracted from to product, yielding an even meatier texture that is better able to absorb added flavors.

These are most of the tricks that allow me to convert non-tofu-eaters into people who will willingly eat it! I know they personally helped me to become a tofu loving vegan! Nothing about cooking tofu is hard, it just requires a bit of patience.

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