How to Make Tempeh

Tempeh is a high protein source that has become popular as people look for ways to increase the amount of protein in their diets. Many vegetarians and vegans are learning how to make tempeh because it contains no animal protein and is quite tasty. It is also a complete protein, meaning it has all of the essential amino acids and does not need to be eaten in combination with other foods in order for your body to process it as a whole protein.  Because it is made from soybeans, it also contains isoflavones and is a good source of fiber.

Tempeh is made from soybeans and a form of Rhizopus mold. The mold--also referred to as a tempeh starter--causes the soybeans to ferment and turn into a cake. Many tempeh recipes use ground or sliced tempeh in place of other more traditional protein sources.

You can make tempeh at home. It does not take long to ferment and is relatively easy to do. You will want to invest in a grain mill and some tempeh starter (which is the Rhizopus mold). If you are unsure if you want to make tempeh at home, contact a tempah starter company and request a free sample of the starter. Many companies will do this in order to promote the product.

How to Make Tempeh at Home

Ingredients You Will Need:
Whole soybeans (dehulled soybeans are best, but whole soybeans are fine too)
Vinegar
Tempeh starter

(You will get detailed instructions about proportions from the manufacturer of the tempeh starter).

First crack the whole soybeans using the grain mill. Make sure every soybean is at least cracked in half.

Soak the soybeans in water for about 12 hours. If you are using whole soybeans, skim the hulls (which will float to the surface) and discard the hulls. You may have to stir the soybeans quite a bit to get all of the hulls to dislodge and float to the surface.

Cook the soybeans in water and vinegar for about a half hour. Drain the soybeans and let them sit in the pot over low heat until the soybeans are dry. Let the soybeans cool.

Sprinkle tempeh starter over the soybeans and mix to distribute the tempeh throughout the soybeans as evenly as possible.

Pour the beans into a plastic bag and seal it. You'll need to poke a few holes in the bags to allow the mold to breathe. Press the beans inside the bag until the beans form a flat layer about three centimeters high and set the bag in a warm place (or in an incubator) for two days. After 48 hours, you should have a bag of fermented soybeans-otherwise known as tempeh-ready for cooking. The tempeh should be removed from the bag in one piece, then sliced and fried or ground up for use in sauce or chili.

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