The TM1202 is multi-functional device that can be used as a tofu maker, tofu press or general food press. The TM1202 is constructed from knot-free, select pine high-grade lumber that is assembled using through-groove joints and quality wood screws. The entire assembly is offered either untreated or treated with a non-toxic food-safe finish that provides a durable wood protection equivalent to varnish. All clevis pins and cotter pins are stainless steel for water resistance. The device includes thermoplastic feet to control slipping and reduce water contact while pressing. The handle and plunger assembly can be easily detached from the main assembly for easy cleaning of all surfaces and storage.
Drainage holes are provided on all four sides and the bottom plate. This facilitates fast drainage of fresh tofu so that the cake can set quicker, and at greater firmness. The handle and plunger assembly enables the user to manually press tofu or other food in the device. The handle offers approximate 2x lever advantage. For slow pressing, the TM1202 is provided with a band press kit. There are two large bands and a steel post that, together, can exert an equivalent weight of up to 20 pounds on the top plate. This novel approach means that no other fixtures, devices or weights are needed. The device remains completely stable and safe when the full weight is applied.
Unlike other tofu makers on the market, the TM1202 can make large single cakes of fresh tofu. This is a great advantage for the home tofu maker since so much set up is needed to just prepare the soy milk; being able to produce larger batches of fresh tofu is a real labor saving advantage. The adjustable positions for the plunger on the handle and the handle to the main assembly enable the user to make tofu cakes ranging from 1 pound up to nearly 4 pounds, depending upon desired firmness. A 2 to 3 pound batch is typical.
The TM1202 is the second generation tofu maker based upon the TP1201. The most significant improvement in the TM1202 is the replacement of all structural wood screws with stronger wood joinery. The main assembly is now constructed using box joints while the the base and handle support pieces are now attached using a sliding dovetail joint. The plunger is now made from a single piece of wood. The result of these construction changes is a much sturdier design and one that is more aesthetically pleasing. Also, all wood pieces are now hand-rubbed with food-safe walnut oil that has been heat treated to eliminate the proteins that can be allergens to sensitive persons. This treatment gives the device a soft golden luster.
Using the TM1202 to Make Tofu
The TM1202 is offered as a kit that includes 3 ounces [weight] of Japanese nigari and a durable/reusable straining cloth for making tofu. The device comes with adjustable pins so that it can easily make a 2-pound cake or a thicker 3-pound+ cake of tofu. The band press kit and handle enable the user to press the fresh tofu cake with the equivalent of up to 20 pounds of weight without needing any additional weights or items. There are two press bands in the kit, and three positions for the steel post so that a wide range of pressure can be applied. The bands and steel post are very easy to remove or adjust. The user can then achieve any desired firmness for the tofu cake by experimenting with these adjustments.
A detailed guide to making tofu is offered at the end of this instruction. So a less-detailed, general procedure is presented here to illustrate how the TM1202 is used. The basic steps for making tofu are as follows:
Wipe down all of the inside surfaces of the TM1202 with a soaped sponge then rinse thoroughly prior to its first use. After each use all wood parts should be dried thoroughly prior to storage. It is highly recommended that some sort of food-grade non-reactive oil is applied to all wood surfaces after drying following each use. There are several types of oil on the market for this purpose including: Mahoney's Walnut Oil, Boos Mystery Oil, Butcher Block Oil or mineral oil. Do not use supermarket vegetable/nut oils including walnut oil as these will not dry, and may leave a rancid residue.
Prepare fresh soy milk using your preferred method.
Prepare the TM1202 for desired batch size and firmness, by setting clevis pin locations and steel bolt location.
Put the bottom plate and dampened filter cloth in the TM1202, and place it in a pan.
Use the nigari to create the tofu curds.
Place the curds in the TM1202.
Press the curds to form a cake and separate the whey.
Remove the tofu cake and clean the TM1202.
Note: This is a kitchen device for making food, remember to wash then thoroughly dry it after each use. Also, do not put any part of the TM1202 in the dishwasher.
Using the Band Press
The band press utilizes one or two industrial rubber bands to create downward tension on the TM1202 handle to simulate weight being applied to the top plate. The amount of tension depends upon the number of bands used and at what length they are being stretched. Now it should be noted that over time the elasticity of any rubber band will wear out, so it is important to keep in mind that these bands need to be replaced periodically, as soon as they appear to be elongated. The band should be 5 inches or less from end to end when laid down flat. The good news is that the bands are very inexpensive and easy to replace. When the bands are new they conform to the table shown below.
The “stretch” is measured from the bottom of the TM1202 handle to the steel post. So as you can see in the chart, a single band will provide up to ten pounds of equivalent weight, while two bands will provide about twenty pounds. So the stretch is determined by how much the TM1202 is filled, that is, the height of the top plate, and which hole [there are three] in the front of the unit the steel post is inserted. Note that only the holes directly in line below the handle should be used.
Using the TM1202 as a Tofu Press
The TM1202 assembly and press band kit can function as a stand-alone tofu press. The device will hold two 400gm tofu cakes, the standard type/size that is sold in supermarkets, side by side. The band press can then be adjusted and used to press water from the purchased tofu cakes. No additional items are needed.
Using the TM1202 as a Food Press
The TM1202 can also be used as a stand-alone food press. The handle and plunger provide the user with an approximate 2x lever advantage for pressing food such as blanched spinach, sliced summer squash/zuchinni, salad greens. The press band kit can also be used for slower, lighter pressing.