How to Make Tempeh – Easy Method


Tempeh is one of the most rewarding things to make at home. I can truly say this now after several years of regularly making it. The initial method that I used, which I blogged about in 2012, were the directions from the shop where I get the rhizopus mould or tempeh starter from. Over the years, through the experience that I have gained, I have been able to improve the process into a much less laborious one with equally satisfying results.

how to make tempeh, easy method

First thing is to get good quality organic and non-gmo soybeans. I buy mine in bulk at the health store. You can also get them online if it makes life easier. Good quality soybeans not only means it is better for your body but it also cooks better and tastes more creamy.

soybeans, how to make tempeh

Here are the things that I do differently now:

No dehulling of the soybeans.
If you don’t have a grain mill, after soaking the whole beans overnight, the original method instructs to dehull the beans by hand.
This is done by massaging them into the water until the hulls would float up. Then pour them out and keep doing this until most of the beans are dehulled. But this is very time consuming and as it turns out, a rather unnecessary process as I’ve made successful tempeh even without dehulling the beans.
In fact, what I have noticed is that the dehulled beans take a whole lot longer to boil and they do not become as soft and smooth as when they are boiled with their hulls on.

Cooking the beans to be how you like them.
I like to cook the beans until they are soft but not mushy. The previous instructions I used to follow would get the beans to remain at a crunchy consistency. I figured since I am making my own tempeh, I might as well make it the way I like it. So, I cook the beans to the softness that I would usually consume them. This results in a smooth and creamy texture; something that you will not get with store-bought tempeh.

Adding vinegar at the last stage of cooking.
When vinegar is added at the beginning, I’ve noticed that the beans take far longer to cook. The acidity considerably slows down the cooking process. I guess if you are using a pressure cooker, you can add the vinegar right at the start. But if you are using a pot like I do, then I find it to be a lot more efficient to only add the vinegar at the last stage of cooking.
Not adding the vinegar at the start does result in a slightly different tasting tempeh. The fermented taste is less pronounced but I do not mind this at all as once the tempeh is seasoned and cooked, this is barely noticeable.
The vinegar is needed to provide a slightly acidic environment that favours the growth of the mould. It also adds to the characteristic nutty mushroom flavour of the resulting tempeh.

Where to buy the Rhizopus mould?

I really recommend buying the mould from here. This is from where I buy mine and I have always gotten excellent white tempeh with no black spots. They ship internationally. Else you can also find it on Amazon for Canada and the US. If you plan on making soy-free tempeh, you may want to get the soy-free starter in Canada from here and the US from here.

rhizopus mould, tempeh starter, how to make tempehrhizopus mould, tempeh starter, how to make tempeh

Tips

Feed the bean soaking water to the plants.
Keep this water that the beans have been soaking in overnight and feed it to the plants. This water is not good for us but it’s a good source of nutrients for the plants. This is better used for outdoor plants rather than indoor ones as the liquid might smell after a day or so.

Alternative to plastic bags for the fermentation process.
I have been using plastic zip lock bags that I usually perforate at about an inch interval all over the bag with a bamboo or metal skewer.

how to make tempeh

However, I can now find frozen banana leaves at my local Asian store. So, they make a great alternative to using plastic. Banana leaves are porous and do not need any perforations.

how to make tempeh

What I have also found to work is to just place the beans in a glass or ceramic dish. Then place the dish uncovered in a closed large box. I have one of those cake boxes with a lid that seem to work great for that purpose. Otherwise, you can just use any large plastic box. You need to keep the lid on though except when you are checking on the tempeh. The spores tend to go a little out of control with this method though. Also, the resulting tempeh is a little less compact and drier than when using a bag or wrapped leaf. But the tempeh cake still holds together well. Make sure to thoroughly wash the box afterward to clean it of all remaining spores.

how to make tempehAlternative to using an incubator.
I have actually never used an incubator when making tempeh. I either leave the bags or wrapped leaf sandwiched between two board close to a radiator or I keep them in the oven with only the light turn on for about 12 hours. After 12 hours, the beans should start to generate their own heat from the fermentation. Then, they can be removed and placed outside in a warm place. You can cover the boards with a tea towel.

how to make tempeh

Making tempeh with other beans, legumes or grains

Apart from soybeans, tempeh can also be made with other beans, legumes, grains, or a mixture of these along with some seeds added in for extra nutrients, taste and texture.
If you make soymilk or tofu at home, a good way to use up the okara, that is the leftover soy pulp, is to make tempeh with it. This works out to be very economical. In fact, this is how tempeh was discovered in Java, Indonesia, during the production of tofu. The discarded soybean pulp caught the spores and grew around the pulp. It was found to be edible and tempeh was born.

Okara Tempeh
If using okara, you would just add a quarter of the amount of vinegar to the pulp and warm it up to about 35°Celsius (or 95°Fahrenheit). Then mix in the mould and proceed as for the rest of the recipe.

Chickpeas along with lentils and other legumes make great soy-free options for tempeh. The procedure is pretty much the same for these.
Other variations that I have not personally tried make us of seeds like sunflower or sesame seeds (to which I am allergic) and rice combined with the soybeans. Apparently, adding brown rice with the soybeans, produces a somewhat alcoholic tempeh from the fermentation. I haven’t given this a try; I am not sure about a boozy tempeh! But some might like it. If you have attempted the mixed rice tempeh, I would love to know what you thought of the taste.

how to make tempeh

Nutritional benefits of tempeh

Apart from protein and fibre present in soybeans, tempeh offers a much more nutritious and digestible way to eat soy if you are not intolerant or allergic. The fermentation process reduces the phytic acid in the soy and this allows the body to better absorb the minerals. The gas causing substances are also considerably reduced by the rhizopus mould.
There may also be some vitamin B12 present in tempeh (according to Wikipedia), although it is quite hard to determine the quantity as this greatly vary with the starter culture itself and the environment. Overall, tempeh offers a much more nutritious and digestible way to eat soy.

Recipe using tempeh from the blog:

Tempeh Sushi

Watch the explicit video for the easy procedure on how to make tempeh at home.

And if you haven’t already, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos. If you choose to be notified when we upload new videos (hover on the cog icon on the channel front page), you’ll never miss one.

How to Make Tempeh – Easy Method

Ingredients

2 cups [400g] dried soybeans (or 5 cups [900g] cooked soybeans)
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon rhizopus mould (tempeh starter)

Directions

Soak the beans overnight or for at least 8 hours. Then drain the water. (You may keep this water and feed it to the plants).
Rinse the beans a couple of times with fresh water then place them in a large pot and fill with fresh water to cover them so that the water level comes to about an inch above the beans.
Cover and cook on medium heat.
Keep an eye on the pot and if the water starts to boil over, place the lid at a slight angle to let more of the steam escape. Then lower the heat. Once the excess steam has gone down, you can cover the pot again.
Check for the water level every now and then. Check the beans for doneness as from 30 minutes. Add more water if needed to cook the beans for longer. Soybeans may take from 30 minutes to one hour to cook.
Cook the beans until they are almost done or to about 80% done. Then add in the vinegar. Continue to cook the beans until they are soft but not mushy.
Once the beans are cooked, drain almost all of the water.
Once drained, return the beans onto the heat and evaporate the remaining liquid from the pot. Make sure not to dry out the beans but all the liquid should be gone.
Allow the beans to cool to about 35°Celsius (or 95°Fahrenheit).
Then add the rhizopus mould to the beans and mix well.

If using a zip lock bag:
Perforate the bag at one inch interval all over. Divide the beans in the portion size that you wish and fill them into perforated plastic zip lock bags. Close the bag and fold if necessary to reduce the size so that you get a nice thickness for the beans. Distribute the beans evenly.

If using banana leaves:
Cut the leaf to the required size (note: leave the stem of the leaf attach; this will prevent the leaf from being torn). Place a portion of beans on the leaf and fold the ends over to enclose them. Secure with a toothpick.
Place the bags or wrapped leaves in between two chopping board and keep in a warm place. You may place them in an incubator or in the oven with only the lights turn on for 12 hours.
After 12 hours, remove from the incubator or oven and keep in a warm place for the rest of the fermentation.

If using a glass or ceramic dish:
Get the dish and a large plastic box ready.
Place the beans in the dish and level them out. Place the dish uncovered inside the plastic box and keep closed in a warm place for 36 – 48 hours.

After 36 to 48 hours (in either of these methods), the spores should be fully grown and the tempeh is ready. Cut and divide into smaller portions if you wish for storage.

Tempeh will keep for a week in the refrigerator or for several months in the freezer. I freeze mine for up to 6 months.
Tempeh has to be properly cooked before consuming. It can be steamed or boiled, marinated and pan fried or used according to your favourite recipes.

How to Make Tempeh - Easy Method
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An easy method on how to make tempeh at home.
Author:
Yield: 6 - 7
Ingredients
  • 2 cups [400g] dried soybeans (or 5 cups [900g] cooked soybeans)
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon rhizopus mould (tempeh starter)
Instructions
  1. How to Make Tempeh - Easy Method
  2. Ingredients
  3. Soak the beans overnight or for at least 8 hours. Then drain the water. (You may keep this water and feed it to the plants).
  4. Rinse the beans a couple of times with fresh water then place them in a large pot and fill with fresh water to cover them so that the water level comes to about an inch above the beans.
  5. Cover and cook on medium heat.
  6. Keep an eye on the pot and if the water starts to boil over, place the lid at a slight angle to let more of the steam escape. Then lower the heat. Once the excess steam has gone down, you can cover the pot again.
  7. Check for the water level every now and then. Check the beans for doneness as from 30 minutes. Add more water if needed to cook the beans for longer. Soybeans may take from 30 minutes to one hour to cook.
  8. Cook the beans until they are almost done or to about 80% done. Then add in the vinegar. Continue to cook the beans until they are soft but not mushy.
  9. Once the beans are cooked, drain almost all of the water.
  10. Once drained, return the beans onto the heat and evaporate the remaining liquid from the pot. Make sure not to dry out the beans but all the liquid should be gone.
  11. Allow the beans to cool to about 35°Celsius (or 95°Fahrenheit).
  12. Then add the rhizopus mould to the beans and mix well.
If using a zip lock bag:
  1. Perforate the bag at one inch interval all over. Divide the beans in the portion size that you wish and fill them into perforated plastic zip lock bags. Close the bag and fold if necessary to reduce the size so that you get a nice thickness for the beans. Distribute the beans evenly.
If using banana leaves:
  1. Cut the leaf to the required size (note: leave the stem of the leaf attach; this will prevent the leaf from being torn). Place a portion of beans on the leaf and fold the ends over to enclose them. Secure with a toothpick.
  2. Place the bags or wrapped leaves in between two chopping board and keep in a warm place. You may place them in an incubator or in the oven with only the lights turn on for 12 hours.
  3. After 12 hours, remove from the incubator or oven and keep in a warm place for the rest of the fermentation.
If using a glass or ceramic dish:
  1. Get the dish and a large plastic box ready.
  2. Place the beans in the dish and level them out. Place the dish uncovered inside the plastic box and keep closed in a warm place for 36 - 48 hours.
  3. After 36 to 48 hours (in either of these methods), the spores should be fully grown and the tempeh is ready. Cut and divide into smaller portions if you wish for storage.
Notes
Tempeh will keep for a week in the refrigerator or for several months in the freezer. I freeze mine for up to 6 months.
Tempeh has to be properly cooked before consuming. It can be steamed or boiled, marinated and pan fried or used according to your favourite recipes.

how to make tempeh

You may also like

LEAVE A COMMENT

Rate this recipe:  

Visit our Shop on Etsy

Catch us Elsewhere

Join the Veganlovlie Cocoon!

Never miss out. Sign up for updates and receive vegan recipes, fusion Mauritian recipes, cooking tips & other resources.
   

Or Subscribe via Bloglovin/RSS/Reader

How-To’s and Cooking Tips

Vegan Cookbook Shelf

Join over 30K Fans on Facebook

Follow us on Google+