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making tempeh!

 
Posts: 7972
Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I've been trying to document my tempeh making in case anyone else is interested in making some...tasty and nutritious food!

I'm using organic soybeans here but the possibilities are limitless as many kinds of  organic beans and grains will work, even bits of vegetables and herbs, nuts and seeds.

Do not use corn or coconut as explained here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bongkrek_acid?fbclid=IwAR33hcprVe1O-pxAAQ_P_aD6fI3y2jN3OXEKYd-xubCXQBhniS1h3_97UYY  ...we all can do our research and use trusted ingredients and starters.

I belong to an international group that has expanded my view of this food tremendously.

I buy tempeh starter from the Farm, The Tempeh Lab because it's as local as I can get here in the USA....there are many sources available in many countries.

I'm just going to give a brief description and then if someone wants I'll go into more detail...there are instructions that come with the starter and each is particular to that company's starter.

For us the biggest game changer was using our old Corona mill to split the beans....before that we soaked overnight and then squished forever to remove the hulls and try to split all of the beans.

...there are a few more pictures and info in this thread https://permies.com/t/18632/kitchen/Tempeh-Koji-Miso-Making#1102525

1.JPG
grain mill with burrs set to crack soybeans
grain mill with burrs set to crack soybeans
2.JPG
grain mill with burrs set to crack soybeans
grain mill with burrs set to crack soybeans
3.JPG
cover back over burrs while grinding
cover back over burrs while grinding
4.JPG
hulls on right after swooshing the split beans in water to separate
hulls on right after swooshing the split beans in water to separate
5.JPG
just a few hulls left.....
just a few hulls left.....
6.JPG
beans soaked over night
beans soaked over night
7.JPG
beans brought to a simmer with foam, including more hulls
beans brought to a simmer, foam rises and includes more hulls
8.JPG
after foam is removed...boil for 30 minutes
after foam is removed...boil for 30 minutes
9.JPG
strain and towel dry
drain well and towel dry
10.JPG
cooling to just under 100F before stirring in 2Tbs vinegar, then stirring in starter
cooling to just under 100F before stirring in 2Tbs vinegar, then stirring in starter
IMG_4866.JPG
one half to less than an inch layer gently spread and leveled
one half to less than an inch layer gently spread and leveled
IMG_4867.JPG
covered with foil with pin holes every inch
covered with foil with pin holes every inch
IMG_4869.JPG
set above towel covered hot water in pan
set above towel covered hot water in pan
 
Judith Browning
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I use our toaster oven as an incubator.  I don't turn it on, just use pans of hot water to warm it...depending on the house temperature I reheat the pan of water once or twice until the tempeh itself is producing heat.  At that point it's important to watch that it doesn't get too hot and adjust accordingly...pulling out the towel insulation and water, flipping the cake and even over the summer cracking the door to the oven.

11.JPG
pan of hot water to provide heat
pan of hot water to provide heat
12.JPG
pyrex covered with foil with pin holes
pyrex covered with foil with pin holes
13.JPG
towels to hold in heat
towels to hold in heat
14.JPG
at less that twenty hours I flip the cake...this is the top
at less that twenty hours I flip the cake...this is the top
15.JPG
after flipping...bottom
after flipping...bottom
18.JPG
damp towel adds needed moisture
flipped 'cake' covered with foil and a damp towel to add needed moisture
19.JPG
steam on door from heat and moisture
steam on door from heat and moisture
20.JPG
done...there should be nice white mycelium between all of the beans
done...there should be nice white mycelium between all of the beans...this can take almost thirty hours of incubation time total
22.JPG
ready to steam
ready to steam
23.JPG
cut in squares for twenty minutes steaming
cut in squares for twenty minutes steaming
24.JPG
a different batch...a little sporulation is fine as long as the smell is good
a different batch...a little sporulation is fine as long as the smell is good
 
pollinator
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Thanks for posting this!  I love tempeh and making my own is on my to-do list.
 
Judith Browning
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Mk Neal wrote:Thanks for posting this!  I love tempeh and making my own is on my to-do list.



Mk, you are welcome!
If you've only had store bought you are in for a real treat...homemade is even better.

There are a lot of ways a batch can go wrong.....too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, not mixed well, not enough hulls removed and beans split, bad starter,....and all easy to avoid with a thermometer, a practice run with the 'incubator', towel drying, covering to prevent moisture loss, stir, stir, stir in the starter, crack the beans in a grinder.....and buy starter from a reliable source.

Looking forward to hearing about your experience....
 
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Thanks for the grain mill tip :thumbup: Is this a cup of beans or a pound in the first pic?


 
Judith Browning
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Burl Smith wrote:Thanks for the grain mill tip Is this a cup of beans or a pound in the first pic?




I use 2 1/2 cups of beans for the batch but in that photo it might be just a cup or so in the grinder.  Two and a half cups (I think that is a pound?) is what the Tempeh Lab recipe calls for although their starter is so active, I'm only using 1/2 tsp instead of the whole tsp they recommend (I asked about this and was told that it loses potency with age, so I'm watching for that...so far so good.  I keep it in the freezer) and sometimes I approach three cups dry beans because by the time I've dehulled I feel like I've lost some of the original measurement?

To split them in the corona I have to open the burrs to the limit...and the beans split and bust into chunks that all seem to work well.  What we don't want is flour or meal.
 
Burl Smith
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Judith Browning wrote:
What we don't want is flour or meal.



Hmm...I see the starter comes mixed with rice flour, perhaps I'll try making a batch with brown rice flour to discover why we don't want it
 
Burl Smith
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Wow! The taste is reminiscent of cheese! Something the lactose intolerant could enjoy.

I floured rice in a processor then double-boilered it, course I couldn't pat it dry and it took twice as long to firm up but now I have starter drying and I've been adding this 'cheese' to my soup for days and I've got a bag full in the fridge and another batch on the way. Awesome addition to my diet, thank you very much!



 
Judith Browning
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Burl Smith wrote:Wow! The taste is reminiscent of cheese! Something the lactose intolerant could enjoy.

I floured rice in a processor then double-boilered it, course I couldn't pat it dry and it took twice as long to firm up but now I have starter drying and I've been adding this 'cheese' to my soup for days and I've got a bag full in the fridge and another batch on the way. Awesome addition to my diet, thank you very much!





I'm wondering at the cheese flavor rather than mushroom.
Was this using the Tempeh Labs starter, Rhizopus oligosporus ?
Did you get a solid white sliceable cake?
What you have dried for future starter was allowed to turn black with sporulation?

...would love to see some photos.

There are those who make tempeh with okara, the pulp left from making tofu, and have some challenges fermenting it as the beans are in small pieces and don't have the air space that allow the mycelium to form in and around the beans.

I haven't heard of any other successes with flour or meal of any sort though...interesting that you tried that first





 
Burl Smith
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I used the Ragi Tempeh starter:



It arrived as a white powder, but no, there was only a little darkening visible when I smeared it onto cardboard and placed it in the oven to dry over the pilot light (@ 80 F)

The second batch of rice I didn't grind and I squeezed out some moisture thru a cloth before adding vinegar and starter so maybe that will be different.

I'll give you a picture of the 'Cheese Substitute ' on Rubino's Pizza tonight (altho Wheaton's Fry Bread Recipe makes a better crust in my opinion)




 
Burl Smith
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Rubino's pizza topped with home-grown ingredients including 'Tempeh Cheese'






 
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Very interesting thread! I guess I should try tempeh and see if I (and family) like it.

By coincidence I had an article in my FB feed on making your own Tempeh.
There are online shops who sell Tempeh, starter for Tempeh, Seitan, Sake etc.

Apparently there is an organic soybean grower here in Bavaria, and one of the linked shops is located in Germany, the other one imports from Indonesia.

The article says it can be a bit tricky to cultivate your own starter but I guess you just have to be cautious and also have some experience.
 
Judith Browning
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The article says it can be a bit tricky to cultivate your own starter but I guess you just have to be cautious and also have some experience.



That is what I understand...To make ones own starter use the most perfect batch of tempeh and allow it to sporulate, turn almost black with spores, then slice very thin and dry at a low temperature.  Once dried it is ground and mixed with a fine rice flour.

I've read a lot about it and never tried to make as the really good starters are fairly inexpensive and reliable.

The sporulation happens sometimes at the end with nice ripe tempeh but much past there will be an ammonia smell and taste that most of us do not like.  

For edible tempeh, I like letting the beans go until the cake is solid white with a faint bit of black on the edges as that is when the mushroom flavor of good tempeh really comes through.
 
Judith Browning
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very interesting thread! I guess I should try tempeh and see if I (and family) like it.

By coincidence I had an article in my FB feed on making your own Tempeh.
There are online shops who sell Tempeh, starter for Tempeh, Seitan, Sake etc.



Anita,  If you can, try to find some fresh tempeh to buy...the plastic packaged tempeh most stores sell has been pasturized to death and does not have the good flavor of fresh and homemade.  I had only tried tempeh once and was not impressed until I started making my own.

If you are already on fb there is a wonderful international group that is all about making it and have professionals to beginners in the conversations....lots of help available there.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/551020808568378
 
Burl Smith
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Mushroom flavor does well with pizza; I'm intrigued. My next attempt will be with beans



 
Anita Martin
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Judith Browning wrote:
Anita,  If you can, try to find some fresh tempeh to buy...the plastic packaged tempeh most stores sell has been pasturized to death and does not have the good flavor of fresh and homemade.  I had only tried tempeh once and was not impressed until I started making my own.

If you are already on fb there is a wonderful international group that is all about making it and have professionals to beginners in the conversations....lots of help available there.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/551020808568378


Thanks, will keep that in mind!
 
Judith Browning
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Burl Smith wrote:Mushroom flavor does well with pizza; I'm intrigued. My next attempt will be with beans





I like your enthusiasm!
I've heard of using many different kinds of beans either separately or a mix.

There is an on going discussion on whether to hull and split them or not.  Most traditionalists and those who market tempeh remove hulls and split or 'chunk' the beans in some way.  Others are experimenting with whole beans.  
I like to split them and remove the hulls as I like the results when done that way and have understood that the hulls can prevent the mycelium from easily entering the beans and only makes a 'covering' with the beans often left untouched.

 
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I've been making tempeh frequently for many years (maybe around 1986!?)  I've basically followed the directions in the old "Book of Tempeh" from the '70's and pretty similar to what you do.  Usually I just trample on the soaked, briefly cooked beans in a bucket barefoot to separate the hulls and break the beans in half, and then slurry them off with repeated rinsings.  I often pre-ferment mine then, in a pot with water to cover and set somewhere warm for 24-48 hours more....sometimes I add a bit of kefir, homemade wine, or sauerkraut juice to this as s starter.  This prefermentation naturally acidifies the stuff so you don't need to add vinegar, and it can improve it's nutrition also.  Then I boil this up for 45m to an hour and proceed as you show.  For an incubator I have small brooder heater in a cardboard box with some racks rigged over it....this has the advantage of a thermostat so I can basically set it and leave it till I think to check it.  I have done pots of hot water in coolers and ovens and moving tempeh closer and further from woodstoves and things like that too.  Been getting my starter from temephstarter.com direct from Indonesia...prices are good and several kinds available, but I also do my own starter and usually get several generations before it begins to degrade.   Lately been playing with making it out of fava beans, since these grow easier in my climate....
 
Judith Browning
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Alder, I'm glad to hear your experiences with tempeh.  
I'm getting my starter from the Tempeh Lab at the Farm.  It seems good and the price for bulk economical and I like it's origins.

For a long time we soaked the beans and squished by hand to split and remove the hulls...your feet in a bucket method never crossed my mind.
I'm not telling my guy or he will want to try that.  
I'm happy with using the corona grain mill myself

I've heard about soaking the beans to acidify, a lacto ferment I guess? Have sometimes inadvertently left for a couple days on the counter and have some bubbles...have not tried leaving out the vinegar though.  We have been eating it so often I hate to experiment with a batch.  Will have to try some larger batches or make it three times a week with one as the try something new batch.  I've been stuck in cracked soybean mode and haven't even done black beans recently although a while back I added some soaked sunflower seeds.



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