Tofu, so sweet and tasty. Tofu, don't be too hasty. Tofu...tofu tofu tofu!
December 26, 2011 3:38 AM   Subscribe

What is the best time and temperature for baked tofu? Every recipe I read seems to differ wildly on those factors. I've made some that has worked, and some that hasn't. The one time I got it just right I forgot to make a note of which recipe I used. I like it crispy on the outside but still a bit soft inside. Thoughts?
posted by furiousxgeorge to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't a baking recipe, but it's the best technique I've ever seen for crispy on the outside and a bit soft inside. It's from this Sweet Chili Lime Tofu recipe:

Heat a well-seasoned cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. A 10″ skillet will fit all the tofu, so if you’re using a smaller skillet, you’ll need to do this in batches. In order to properly “dry fry” the tofu, you’ll need a pan the tofu won’t stick to even without any oil.

Spread the tofu out in one layer in the pan. Using a spatula, press the tofu. The liquid will squeeze out and boil away, and the tofu will begin to turn golden. The more water that evaporates, the sturdier the tofu will be, so be gentle at first to prevent the tofu from breaking up. After several minutes, flip the tofu over and press the other side. After about 10 minutes of dry frying, you can turn off the heat and set the tofu aside for finishing later, or proceed to adding the sauce. (You might want to set the tofu aside before finishing in order to to prepare the collards, below.)
posted by cider at 5:15 AM on December 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

I cut it into .5 cm thick strips and fry in butter until it's crispy. Not baking, but sounds like the texture you're after.
posted by thylacine at 6:47 AM on December 26, 2011

Oh, and asian markets often have pre-deep fried tofu that also has this texture. It's usually cheaper then the uncooked kind too.
posted by thylacine at 6:48 AM on December 26, 2011

We bake our tofu all the time: 350 degrees F for 20 minutes on one side, then flip it over and bake for 15 more minutes, on a 9x13 jelly roll pan. Cut into strips about 1/4" thick and the width from the container. This is for extra firm tofu. Works perfectly.

(We also marinate it in an olive oil/balsamic or olive oil/soy sauce mix, but that has nothing to do with baking it.)
posted by TinWhistle at 7:03 AM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

The baking time / temperatures vary so wildly because of the variety of textures you can achieve and starting condition (silken vs regular vs firm vs extra firm). For baked firm outside and soft inside on regular tofu, I use a very high heat (broil) with a sugar or salt based spice rub for 15-20 minutes.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:50 AM on December 26, 2011

Mark Bittman's recipe (350 degrees F for about an hour) has always worked well for me. The trick is to drain and freeze your tofu beforehand. A minute or two under the broiler at the end helps crisp it up, too.
posted by ecmendenhall at 8:10 AM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I cut up my firm(ish) tofu into 1 inch cubes. I'll deep fry them in sunflower oil in a little wok, about 6/8 at a time. The oil must be really hot. Be sure to dry them with kitchen paper before you toss them in the pan. Use a slotted spoon to keep'em apart or from sticking to the bottom. Let them fry, until they rise to the surface. Take them out if they have the color you like. And they will be crunchy.

You can marinate them (in water with salt, soy sauce, anything) before you fry them. If my kids hang around your place, keep them out of the kitchen, because they will eat them as soon as they are done.
posted by ouke at 12:48 PM on January 2, 2012

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