How can I Make Tempeh?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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Tempeh is a product made by fermenting beans or certain grains. Traditional Indonesian tempeh is made with soy, and the following recipe outlines how to make tempeh with soy. Once you have mastered this recipe, you can experiment and make tempeh with other ingredients. Be aware that making fermented foods safely is difficult, as there is sometimes a fine line between healthy mold and dangerous organisms. If you are ever in doubt about a batch of fermented food throw it out! In the case of tempeh, appearance of colors other than black or white is grounds to toss the batch, as is a slimy texture or strong ammonia smell. Every time you make tempeh, you will learn more about the food, ad become more confident about adding ingredients such as seaweed, chili flakes, and other flavor additions.

The ingredients you need to make tempeh are very basic. You will need around 11 ounces (312 grams) of soybeans, along with four tablespoons of vinegar such as rice or white vinegar, and tempeh starter. It is crucial to make tempeh with good starter, which can sometimes be difficult to find, especially if you live in an isolated area. Many mail order companies offer tempeh starter, and you can also check with vegetarians in your community to see if any of them know of a source for tempeh starter. Once the starter arrives, you are ready to make tempeh.


Start to make tempeh by soaking the soybeans for six to 18 hours so that the hulls can be easily removed. Some people crack the soybeans first, while others prefer to manually separate them. Either way, stir the soybeans periodically to bring the hulls to the top, and skim them off. It is not crucial that all the hulls be removed, just most of them.

Next, cook the soybeans in a sturdy pot with water to cover and three tablespoons of the vinegar. Cook them for approximately 30 minutes before draining the water and cooking the soybeans until they are dry. Drying the soybeans out is a crucial step, so make sure to stir the soybeans as they dry to ensure even coverage. Allow the soybeans to cool to a temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) so that you will not kill the starter when you add it in the final mixing step involved to make tempeh.

Once the beans have cooled, sprinkle with one teaspoon of tempeh starter and one tablespoon of vinegar. Stir them thoroughly, ensuring that the starter is evenly distributed throughout the soybeans, and then bag the mixture in plastic bags which have been poked to create holes so that the starter can breathe. Pack the tempeh into loose blocks and weight it in a warm place, leaving it at around 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) for 36 to 48 hours.

As the tempeh incubates, it will be covered in a fine white mold, the mycelium of the fungus which gives tempeh its firm shape and nutty flavor. It will also start to heat up, so use a thermometer to make sure that the tempeh does not get too hot. The tempeh will be ready to eat when the exterior has turned a creamy white, and should be refrigerated or frozen if it is not going to be used immediately.


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Post 2

nice, not bad. i like it.

Post 1

You did not mention where you can get tempeh starter. Topcultures ships tempeh starter worldwide!

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