Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Posts Tagged ‘Tempeh

Chana dal and barnyard millet tempeh

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A new batch of tempeh is in my tempeh incubator, following my usual method. I had intended to use kodo millet (as I did in this earlier batch), but I found I had run out of kodo millet, so I substituted barnyard millet, still quite a good millet. Barnyard millet is a good source of iron, as shown in the video at that link.

I use unpolished millet (bran still present) because bran is not merely fiber but also a good source of fiber and minerals. Barnyard millet in particular is a good source of iron, as shown in the video at the link. Some content on the internet warns against eating millet because it hinders iodine uptake — but so do broccoli, kale, and cabbage. It is not a problem so long a you have an adequate amount of iodine in your diet — for example, from iodized salt, from seafood, or from eating a couple of sheets a nori a day. If you don’t get enough iodine in your diet, the problem is not eating millet, the problem is lack of adequate iodine. Make sure you eat foods that are healthful sources of iodine and don’t worry about millet (though I do recommend eating a good type of unpolished millet). 

That earlier batch — soybean and unpolished kodo millet — used 2 cups soybeans and 1 cup kodo millet, measured before cooking (and then cooked separately). In this batch I used 1.5 cups of each.

As usual, I bagged the prepared legume+grain a large Ziploc Fresh Produce bag, since those are perfectly perforated for tempeh cultivation. Judging from past experience I can remove this from the incubator in 24 hours and let it continue on a raised rack at room temperature for another 48 hours, or 72 hours total. 

I finally got around to adding “Tempeh” as a category, so you can do a category search and browse my tempeh posts.

Millet and Diabetes

After 24 hours

After 24 hours, Rhizopus has clearly taken hold, so I removed the batch from the incubator to a raised rack on the table. By tomorrow the slab will be completely white and reasonably solid, but I will let the mycelium continue its growth for another 24 hours, for a total of 3 days. 

Tempeh production at this point if fairly routine, with each step familiar through repetition and the step’s purpose understood. I continue to be well pleased with the use of large Ziploc Fresh Produce bags. 

In the meantime, I’m just finishing the previous batch of soybean and rye tempeh.

75 Hours and Done

It went a little longer because I had to make a side trip to the hospital, where I got a pacemaker. Both I and this batch of tempeh turned out fine. The post at that link provides more detail on my pacemaker adventure.

I will say that this is a very fine-grained tempeh that cuts and cooks quite well. I’ll definitely repeat this combination, and I’m also thinking that a lentil-and-millet tempeh would be very interesting. Maybe I’ll do that next — perhaps use Black Beluga lentils, which are round like millet but black instead of tan.

I had some of this for dinner — diced small and sautéed the tempeh and some chopped asparagus in a little olive oil, then used that in a salad with a yellow bell pepper, 4 thick scallions, 3 sliced mushrooms, 1/4 head of red cabbage (shredded), an avocado, and 2 tablespoons of walnuts.

I used Hollyhock Salad Dressing I made from a recipe my mail carrier gave me — it’s this one.  But I changed it some (of course). Here’s what I did:

• 3/4 cup Bragg’s nutritional yeast
• 1/3 cup water
• 1/3 cup tamari 
• 1/3 cup Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar
• 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard [see note below]
• 3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced on garlic mandoline
• 1 cup canola oil

In a blender, combine yeast, water, tamari, vinegar, and garlic for one minute. With the blender on high, remove the centre of the lid and SLOWLY drizzle in the oil. Stop the blender as soon as all the oil has been added. Keep in a sealed jar for up to 2 weeks.

I used an immersion blender. I put the first 5 ingredients in the large beaker that came with the blender (or you could use a canning jar), blended, and then added oil slowly.

NOTE: I thought about adding 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard to help with the mix emulsify, and I’ll do that next time. 

It makes a pint. Pick jar accordingly.

A couple of oddities in original recipe: 

  1. The recipe said that the tamari could be gluten-free. Could be?! Tamari is gluten free, being made purely from soybeans. (Shoyu/soy sauce does use some wheat. That’s what makes it different from tamari.)
  2. The recipe suggested grapeseed or sunflower oil, both of which are terrible oils in terms of their omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Canola’s ratio is 2:1, close to the ideal of 1:1. (Grapeseed oil is 676:1, and sunflower oil is 40:1 — see this post.) Canola oil also has the neutral taste they want. (I was warned that the flavor of extra-virgin olive oil does not work well in this dressing.)

Written by Leisureguy

10 June 2022 at 12:23 pm

Soybean and Rye tempeh

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1.5 cups each of soybeans and rye, measured before cooking and cooked (and dried) separately. The left photo shows the batch after adding 3 tablespoons Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar and a packet of tempeh starter and then putting the batch into a large Ziploc Fresh Produce bag, which is perfectly perforated for tempeh cultivation. I mix the vinegar in thoroughly, using a soft silicone spatula, and then I add the starter a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Getting an even distribution of vinegar and starter helps with the liftoff.

I don’t dehull the soybeans, though that’s the common practice in Indonesia. In Malaysia, however, where tempeh is also popular, tempeh is made with intact soybeans. (I also don’t dehull other beans I use: black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and so on.)

On the right is the tempeh on a rack in my incubator — actually, on two racks. On the bottom is a raised rack to keep the bag well above the warming mat, and on top of that is the bag of tempeh on a flat rack. I found that when I tried placing the bag directly onto the rack in the incubator, it was difficult to keep the bag’s contents evenly distributed. So I now put the bag on a flat rack on the counter and adjust the contents until I have an even depth across the entire bag. Then I place that rack atop the raised rack in the incubator. 

For more details on making your own tempeh (something I highly recommend), see this post. With a little experience, the time required (in terms of active effort) is minimal — about 30 minutes total, I would say. Most of the time (simmering beans and grain, letting them cool, letting the tempeh grow over three days), I am not actively involved.

And by making your own tempeh, you choose what beans and grains to use. I have settled (for now) on 3-cup batches, equal parts beans and (intact whole) grain. 

After 24 hours

It’s well on its way after 24 hours in the incubator, so now it’s sitting on a raised rack on the table.

I’ll be interested to see whether once again Rhizopus favors beans over grain. In the previous batch (pinto beans and khorasan kernels), the beans were mold-covered well before the wheat berries.

By the time a batch gets well underway, as this batch has, my thoughts turn to what I might make next. I’m thinking of equal parts of chana dal (split baby chickpeas) and unpolished kodo millet (one of the good millets).

On the internet it’s possible to find reams of information, and unfortunately incorrect, misleading, or incomplete information is not uncommon (see various posts on Covid-19 and protective measures for it). Some posts and videos warn against millet because it is goitrogenic, inhibiting the absorption of iodine — like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. This does not mean that you should avoid those foods; it means you should include sufficient iodine (and selenium) in your diet — for example, by using iodized salt. I get iodine from a natural food source by eating two sheets of nori a day (don’t use kelp as a source: it contains too much iodine, though I will have an occasional seafood salad made with kelp), and I get selenium by eating 1 brazil nut a day. 

At any rate, the next tempeh will be chana dal and unpolished kodo millet.

Comparison: 24 hours after start and 29 hours after start

At 48 hours

At 48 hours (photo at right; click to enlarge), the slab is nicely covered and filling in to a good degree of solidity. Nevertheless, I will let it continue to grow for another 24 hours before deeming it done. 

This batch has gone quite well. Rhizopus seems to like rye more than khorasan, though khorasan adds a nice chewiness that is pleasant — for example, when a slab of tempeh is used to make a burger. 

Late yesterday afternooon/early evening the apartment became rather cool, so I returned the rack to the incubator box (though without plugging in the warming mat) for a few hours to let it warm up a bit. It seems to have fully recovered and is doing well.

After 75 hours, I call it done

Another photo of the finished slab in this post, along with some additional comments. Suffice it to say that it’s a perfect batch. I diced a little and fried it in a few sprays of olive oil, and it tastes good. 

Written by Leisureguy

2 June 2022 at 10:51 am

Pinto bean and khorasan kernel tempeh at 48 hours

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I’m going to let it go for at least another 24 hours.

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2022 at 2:12 pm

Pinto bean and Kamut® tempeh

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Pinto beans and organic khorasan wheat, 2 cups each (measured before cooking)

Above is the bagged batch of pinto bean and khorasan wheat tempeh, ready for the incubator. It has been dried and cooled, and I’ve mixed in vinegar (Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar today, just a little less than 1/4 cup). One that was done, I mixed in the starter culture, a little at a time. The bagged batch weighs 1940g or 4lb 4.4oz. This is the biggest batch I’ve made, but it fits comfortably in the large Ziploc Fresh Produce bag.

It’s now on a raised rack in the incubator, and I expect it will take at least 24 hours for the mycelium to be visible. I think the packet of starter culture I use is intended for a smaller amount of beans/grain, but with good food, an acidic environment, and warmth, the mycelium should flourish. 

I used an organic khorasan wheat grown here in BC. The Kamut® trademark is exactly for organic khorasan, but I imagine using the brand involves licensing fees. The bag of khorasan I bought at True Grain specifies only “Organic BC Khorasan Kernels.” So it’s the same as Kamut® except for the brand name.

When I cook whole grain kernels, I usually use 1 cup grain to 3 cups water and cook until the water’s absorbed. Today I used 2 cups of grain and 6 cups of water, and after an hour of simmering, it became apparent that the grain was not going to absorb all the water. Update: I see that True Grain specifies a ratio of 1 cup kernels to 2 cups water. I’ll try that next time. /update

Cooked khorasan kernels cooling and drying

So I finally drained the wheat in a sieve and spread it on the towel to dry. It is definitely done. I don’t know why doubling the recipe left so much water unabsorbed. [Perhaps the right ratio is 1:2, not 1:3 – LG]

In this photo of the grain spread out to cool and dry, the area with a lighter color is an artefact of the lighting. 

The bagged batch is now on the rack in the incubator. I’ll update this post as the batch progresses. In 3 or 4 days, I should have a new batch of tempeh ready to go.

I’m trying a 1:1 ratio of beans and grain in this batch because in general I follow Dr. Michael Greger’s diet recommendations — his Daily Dozen. He recommends a whole-food plant-based diet, and that’s why  I eat wheat kernels instead of (say) bread, pasta, and other foods made from flour. Flour is not a whole food. (For the same reason, I eat whole fruit and avoid fruit juice. I don’t eat refined or highly processed food at all.)

He recommends having a serving of beans and a serving of grain at each meal, and by making tempeh that’s equal parts beans and grain, I figure a serving of tempeh will take care of that. 

In another post I describe exactly how I make tempeh, step by step: the lessons I learned from experience.

21 hours later

After 21 hours

After 21 hours the fungus is well established. You can see from the photo that it prefers beans to grain, but it will take over the whole thing. Click photo to enlarge, and the preference will become obvious. 

I’m always very pleased to see such an even distribution of initial activity. It bodes well, IMO. I could possible remove the batch from the incubator at this point, but I’m going to continue incubation for a few more hours just to get it very well along the way before I take it out and put it on a raised rack on the table. 

This will be a good batch.

48 hours from start

After 48 hours

The coverage is pretty good at this point, but I will let it continue to ferment for at least another 24 hours (3 days total from start). My feeling is that the additional time allows the mycelium to better fill out and cover over.

Besides, I still have another day’s worth of the chickpea and black rice tempeh to eat.

But I am looking forward to this one. While pinto beans are not the most nutritious bean, they are good, and I like khorosan wheat (higher in protein than modern wheats).

72 hours and done

The finished batch. On the left, the slab of tempeh removed from the bag. That dark spot on its right side is sporing — harmless and edible but cosmetically unappealing. The ppale white are on the right side of the slab is an artefact of the lighting in my kitchen. IRL the slab is the creamy color of the left side.

The photo on the right shows the batch in cross-section.

Overall verdict after eating

This is a very interesting tempeh. The khorasan wheat kernels add a very nice chewiness to the tempeh, which would work extremely well when a slab of tempeh is marinated and the fried to be used as the patty in a hamburger: the mouthfeel is very like meat. 

I think you could get the same effect with any bean, and I think I’ll do this again at some point with soybeans instead of pinto beans — or perhaps with chickpeas or even lentils. 

I did decide to cut back to 3-cup batches after this 4-cup batch: the slab is just too thick. I’ll be using 1.5 cups each of beans and grain, measured before cooking and cooked separately.

Written by Leisureguy

23 May 2022 at 1:52 pm

Chickpea and black-rice tempeh: 5 days and done (by edict)

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I decided to call it done. On the left you see the slab freed from the bag — the top of the bag was along the right edge of the photo, and as you can see the top edge and the center section never took hold.The cross section shows the section that failed, though parts of it are good. 

At any rate, it has been cut into sections and those are now in glass storage containers in the refrigerator. Later today I will learn how it tastes.

Update: I diced some of the slab small and sautéed the cubes in olive oil for a few minutes and then used them as croutons. Quite good. So batch is only a semi-failure.

Written by Leisureguy

16 May 2022 at 11:35 am

The tempeh that struggled

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I certainly did this guy no favors when I used equal parts chickpeas (nothing wrong with that) and black rice (too sticky and dense). Even so, I see slow progress, with the desolate areas gradually being invaded by the mycelium, with little outposts springing up in what was once a black desert. So I’m going to give it another day, even though the photo above is at the end of day 4. 

I’ve never taken a tempeh batch to the 5-day mark, but also I’ve never used so much black rice in a batch. Because the room is around 70-72ºF, I occasionally return it to the incubator for a while — not using the heat mat, just letting it rest there with the lid on the incubator. It generates enough heat to warm up the interior.

I want to try it, but I also want a complete mycelium coating. 

Written by Leisureguy

15 May 2022 at 11:23 am

Posted in Food, Non-animal diet, Recipes & Cooking

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Chickpea and black rice tempeh at 48 hours

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This batch is progressing slower than other batches, and I think it’s because the black rice is so dense. The next time I make it, I will not use a 1-1 mix of beans and rice but use more beans, in a ratio of 2-1 (which has worked before) or even 3-1 (which will be easier in making a batch of 4 cups overall, measured before cooking).

Normally, the mycelium’s covering is pretty much complete after 48 hours, but as you can see, this still has a way to go. I think it will make it okay, and I usually go for 72 hours in any case — though for this batch I might go for 96 hours (4 days). 

Out of curiosity I weighed the slab this morning: 3 lbs 10 oz (just over 1.6 kg).

I’ll be using the last of my batch of green-lentil tempeh today, so I hope this does move along.

Written by Leisureguy

13 May 2022 at 12:06 pm

Chickpea and black rice tempeh

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The batch is begun. At right, the chickpeas after cooking, drying and cooling on a clean towel. The darker area to the right is my shadow.

Above, the mixed batch — 2 cups of chickpeas and 2 cups of black rice, measured before cooking — cooked, mixed, cooled, Rhizopus oligosporus starter culture mixed in, and bagged in a large Ziploc Fresh Produce bag, which is perfectly perforated for tempeh cultivation.

I’m a little apprehensive about this batch because black rice is considerably stickier than cooked intact whole grain wheat, barley, or rye. Also, this is the largest batch I’ve made. If it works, this will be the regular size from now on: 4 cups, measured before cooking (beans/lentils and often grain). The bag is now on the raised rack in my tempeh incubator, and I’m not going to look at it until 11:00am tomorrow.

My general post on making tempeh is worth reading if you are thinking of growing this delicious and highly nourishing food yourself. Homegrown tempeh costs much less than purchased (and pasteurized) tempeh, and you can also make interesting combinations you cannot buy — this combination, for example.

19 hours later

After 19 hours

Well, I couldn’t wait for 24 hours. The photo at right shows the batch at 19 hours, and as you see, the mold is well established. (Click photo to enlarge.) At 24 hours, this will definitely come out of the incubator and continue on a raised rack on the table, since room temperature will be fine given the heat Rhizopus generates once it’s going.

Notice that the mold is pretty evenly distributed. That’s because I added the culture a little at a time, and after each small addition mixed the batch well. With the culture evenly distributed, so is its growth.

In my early attempts I didn’t mix so well, so early growth was spotty, but the mold will gradually spread, so it’s not a serious problem. But I do like to see even growth, for aesthetic reasons if nothing else.

Update: I brought it out at 24 hours and it’s now resting on a raised rack on the table. 

Progressing slowly at 48 hours

After 48 hours

I think the slow progress is due to the density of the rice. Next time I will reduce the ratio of rice to beans from 1:1 to 1:2 or even 1:3. But it is progressing, so I am confident that after another 24 hours the mycelium will cover the mass. I will then probably give it another day.

I do like using a grain with the beans when making tempeh, but clearly here’s a lesson learned: if the grain is rice, let the beans have the greater share of the batch. I don’t think that is true of less sticky grain — my next batch I will use pinto beans and intact whole-grain khorasan wheat, 2 cups of each (measured before cooking) and see how that does.

I weighed the slab this morning: 3 lb 10 oz, or just over 1.6kg. I’m eager to try this, plus I’m going to use the last of my green-lentil tempeh today, so I’m hoping it moves along briskly.

After 72 hours

After 72 hours

At 72 hours there’s more coverage, but it’s slow going. Still, the progress made offers hope that a longer time will lead to complete coverage. Room temperature this morning was 72ºF so I returned the slab to the incubator box and covered it for an hour or so — no power to the heater. Since the slab is generating a fair amount of heat by itself, I just let the slab warm the interior of the box.

The slab’s out again, and I am going to let the mycelium develop for another 24 hours, which will be four days, and then take stock. 

I have learned a valuable lesson on the use of rice in tempeh. Black rice is a short-grain rice. I wonder whether a long-grain brown rice would work better. I’ll have to try that. I think wild rice would be interesting as well, though that, while a grain, is not really a rice. Minnesota wild rice, harvested by traditional methods, is very good; cultivated wild rice is tough.

After 96 hours

After 96 hours — 4 days — the middle section is still not covered, though somewhat colonized. 

I’ve never gone 5 days, but this batch seems to require it, so I decided to continue for one more day. 

The day saw an ongoing light rain, and the temperature in the apartment hovered around 70-72ºF, so I occasionally returned the slab to the incubator and put the lid on. No power was needed to warm the interior — the tempeh itself at this point is generating a fair amount of heat. I thought perhaps some time in the warmth might encourage the mycelium. 

When the slab felt rewarmed, I returned it (with the raised rack) to the tabletop. 

After 120 hours — 5 days

Above is the slab, freed of the bag, after 5 days. The top of the bag was along the right side of the photo, and as you see, the top and a section in the middle never took hold. I continue to blame the density of the black rice. It would have been better if the ration of black rice to chickpeas had been smaller (less rice, more chickpeas).

Above is the cross-section. I have butchered the block now and put into glass storage containers, and placed those in the refrigerator. Although the batch is — how shall I say? — cosmetically imperfect, I think it will be edible, and it is, of course a valuable lesson learned. 

Written by Leisureguy

11 May 2022 at 11:14 am

A big difference after 15 more hours

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Here’s the green-lentil tempeh after 46 hours. Photo in the previous post shows it after 31 hours; the difference in appearance is obvious. Moreover, the batch is now a solid, heavy slab. It has at this point been out of the incubator and on its own (on an elevated rack, for good air circulation) for 11 hours. It is quite warm.

I perhaps could end the process now, but I’m going to go for another day to let the mycelium increase somewhat. I’m not sure whether the grey spots are sporing (harmless) or whether they are lentils showing through. On the whole, they seem to be lentils not well-covered yet by the mycelium.

My worries about not seeing any activity for the first 18 or so hours were pointless. I think the somewhat slower start may have been that the amount of starter in the packet is for a smaller batch — a 2-cup batch, and this is 3.5 cups of lentils (measured before cooking). Also, lentils are small and thus closer packed than beans, so that might affect progress as well. 

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2022 at 9:27 am

Recipe improvisation with marinated tempeh

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Tempeh responds well to marinades (example), so I decided to marinate some of my black-eyed pea and peanut tempeh for half an hour or so before I make my next meal. The photo shows most of what I put into the marinade. I used a good inch of the ginger root, grating it on a microplane. 

I didn’t do any real measurements — a splash of this, a splash of that. After I took the photo, I decided that a little tamari would not go amiss, so I added a dash of that. When I put the tempeh cubes into the bowl, too many were above the marinade line, so I moved them into a glass storage container that was larger and has both a flat bottom and a tight lid (so I can shake it up from time to time). 

I might also have used lemon juice, but the brown rice vinegar will do for the acid, and the ponzu sauce has yuzu, so that’s some citrus. 

After the tempeh had marinated 20-30 minutes, I set about using it in:

Tempeh-Barley One-Pan Meal

I used my 10″ nonstick Misen skillet, and I first sprayed it well with olive oil. (I like the Evo oil sprayer very much. It’s a fully satisfactory sprayer that gives good coverage with a reasonable amount of oil.) 

I then added to the pan:

• 1 bunch thick scallions, chopped (with the leaves)
• 2 tablespoons walnuts
• 3 largish white mushrooms, halved and sliced thick
• 3 tablespoons cooked hulled barley (i.e., intact whole grain)
• 3 pickled lemon slices (from same Middle-Eastern deli where I got dried barberries)
• about 10-12 thin asparagus spears, chopped
• pinch of grey sea salt

I turned the heat to 4 on my induction burner and cooked that, stirring occasionally, until onions were wilted and mushrooms showing signs of being cooked. I then drained the tempeh. Draining the marinade was not really necessary — unlike a marinade used for beef or chicken or pork, the marinade for tempeh is fine to eat — but I did not want so much liquid. In fact, the tempeh had absorbed quite a bit of the marinade already. I added:

• the drained diced and marinated tempeh
• about 1/2 cup cooked collards
• a rounded teaspoon turmeric purée
• about 2-3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (for the turmeric)

I let it continue to cook for a while, then filled a bowl with about half of it and topped that with a couple of spoonfuls of the refrigerator jalapeño pickles.

I like it. It’s fairly spicy, but not too much so.

Written by Leisureguy

26 April 2022 at 1:55 pm

New section in “Useful Posts”

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I added a section on the Useful Posts page. The new section collects links about tempeh: what it is, how to make it, some combinations I’ve tried, and some recipes. In the spirit of transparency, I titled the new section “Tempeh.”

Written by Leisureguy

25 April 2022 at 10:41 am

Black-eyed pea & peanut tempeh after 72 hours

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The above photo shows the current state of the batch I started 72 hours ago. In the past 24 hours the mycelium has filled in noticeably and the slab is now denser and more of a solid block. I’m going to let it continue until evening. I will then butcher it to fit my storage containers and refrigerate it.

The grey areas (due to sporing) that were visible after 48 hours are completely gone, presumably overlaid with new mycelium growth.

Next batch is going to be a 4-cup batch, and I’m leaning toward chickpea-peanut tempeh, two cups of each.

Written by Leisureguy

21 April 2022 at 11:28 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Non-animal diet, Tempeh

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Tempeh harvest after 72 hours — with chili recipe

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This is the batch I started just 3 days ago, after 72 hours of fermentation. I probably could have ended it after 48 hours, but I thought another day would be good. So Saturday noon to Tuesday was the growth time.

You can click on any of the photos to view it as a slide show, but starting in the upper left corner and going left to right, row by row:

  1. On the rack and still in the bag after 72 hours. The first 20 or hours were in the incubator, then it resided on a raised rack on the table.
  2. The same block with the bag cut off. If you right-click the image to open it in a new tab and then click to enlarge it, you can see clearly the marks from the tiny perforations in the large Ziploc Fresh Produce bag I used.
  3. The first cross-section cut.
  4. Four pieces packed in a storage container, ready for the refrigerator, with one long narrow piece that didn’t fit.
  5. That long narrow piece now diced for a stir-fry or small batch of tempeh chili. 

I like tempeh that combines some type of bean and some type of grain, and this looks quite good.

UPDATE: Tempeh chili recipe improvisation in comment.

Written by Leisureguy

12 April 2022 at 12:22 pm

Black-bean-and-rye tempeh progress report

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Above is the tempeh just now, 48 hours after I bagged it and put it into the incubator. It’s been out on its own — on a raised rack sitting on the countertop — for at least 18 hours. The slab is now quite firm and stiff, and I could probably cut it up and refrigerate it now, but I think I’ll let it continue to ferment until this evening.

It really doesn’t take long to do a batch. Some instructions say to press the batch between (say) a cutting board and a pan, but that is unnecessary and in fact inadvisable: you want the air to flow freely around the growing batch. The mycelium itself will weld the beans (and grain, in this case) together into a sold mass with no need for weights.

I have also updated the original post, so it can tell the complete story of this batch.

This post has the details of the method I’ve gradually developed from reading and experience.

Written by Leisureguy

11 April 2022 at 12:14 pm

New batch of tempeh: Black bean and rye

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Cooked, mixed, vinegar added, awaiting the culture

I recently joined the Facebook Tempeh Makers group, and that inspired me to make a new batch. My incubator is warming up to 88ºF, and I’ve cooked the black beans (from 2 cups uncooked) and (intact whole-grain) rye (from 1 cup uncooked). The photo shows them mixed and after adding 3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar. (Any vinegar will do: it’s the acid that helps the fungus prosper.)

Although I doubt you can tell from the photo, the temperature of the batch is 101ºF, still a little too high for the starter culture. But it will soon drop, and then I’ll mix in the starter and bag the batch and put it into the incubator to get it started, which will take 12-24 hours. Once it’s started (when I can see little white hazy areas of mold), I’ll remove the bag and put it onto a raised rack. It will take 3 days or so to finish. I use large Ziploc Fresh Produce Bags, which are nicely perforated.

I can’t wait. I have some other combinations I want to make, but that’s for later. I’m the only one eating the tempeh, and it takes a while to consume a batch.

For general info on how I make tempeh, see “Foolproof Tempeh—Lessons from Experience.”  Or, slightly more up to date, this blog post.

Bagged and in the incubator

It didn’t take long for the batch to cool. I added a packet of tempeh starter culture, a little at a time, mixing well (using a silicone spatula) after each addition, and then bagged the batch, put it on the rack in the incubator, and put the lid on the incubator.

After 19 hours

19 hours later

I started the incubation roughly at noon, and about 19 hours later, around 7:00am, the fungus seems to have found its footing — see photo at right. 

So I removed the bag and rack from the incubator and put therm on a table for the process to continue. The room is a little cool — 71ºF — so I might not get liftoff, the point at which the heat generated by the fermentation is sufficient to keep it going. 

My experience with 3-cup batches has been that, once they’re going, they generate too much heat to keep them in the incubator. But still, the room is pretty cool.

Hmm. I just decided to return the bag and rack to the incubator. I initially thought not to turn on the warming mat, but finally decided the warmth would help. So back into the box it went, with the heat on.

Four hours later

4 more hours

I took the photo at left 4 hours after the photo above. As you can see, the mycelium is now well advanced and also uniform in its coverage. The uniformity is because I add the starter culture little by little, and stir well (using a flexible silicone spatula) after each addition. This ensures the starter culture is evenly distributed throughout the batch and so the mycelium grows evenly.

I now have turned off the heat. I think I’ll leave the lid in place for a few more hours until I’m sure the mycelium is generating enough heat to continue its vigorous growth.. I would say that this batch will certainly be ready by Wednesday and perhaps even by Tuesday evening. (Today is Sunday.) 

48 hours after starting the batch

48 hours from start

It’s now been 48 hours since I bagged this batch, and as you can see the mycelium is well developed and has taken over. The slab is firm and rigid. 

Probably I could now cut it up for storage, but in accordance with the well-known dictum “More is better,” I’ll let it continue to ferment until at least this evening.

By yesterday evening I had put the bag on a raised rack on the countertop and left it out in the open overnight and this morning. It has prospered.

One thing that now strikes me as odd: the notion that when you start the batch, you should press it between (say) a cutting board and a weighted pan. That is totally unnecessary and IMO undesirable. Place it on a raised rack so the air can flow around it. The mycelium itself will make the tempeh strong and rigid. Pressing is pointless.

After 72 hours, the harvest

Here are two photos of the final product. On the left, the block of tempeh after the large Ziploc Fresh Produce bag has been cut off, and on the right, the tempeh in cross section. You can see more photos in another post. (A comment on that post contains a tempeh chili recipe I made — very tasty.)

I could have stopped after 48 hours, but I wanted to give it a full three days. And I’m glad I did. I think the mycelium is thicker and more robust. 

Written by Leisureguy

9 April 2022 at 11:15 am

Soybean-and-kodo-millet tempeh

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Time Zero: The starting point

This batch had cooled to  a temperature of around 82ºF when I put it into the incubator (at 88ºF) at 11:30am. The incubator will soon bring it up to 88ºF for the initial stage. This is quite a large batch, and I used just one packet of tempeh starter, an amount intended for 2 cups of dried beans, according to the instructions. Since I started with 2 cups of dried beans and 1 cup of kodo millet (both expand substantially as they cook), I expect it may take 24 hours before the fungus takes hold. Kodo is a particularly healthy millet, though barnyard millet bests it in a couple of categories. I used unpolished millet (thus the grains look brown rather than white), which has two benefits: it’s more nutritious (the bran of any grain has good nutritional value), and the grains don’t stick together in clumps when cooked. And, of course, following a whole-food plant-based diet means, among other things, eating intact whole grain.

20 hours from start

It looked ready, so I removed it from the incubator at 7:30am on July 1 and put it on a raised rack on the table. Room temperature right now is 74ºF, but it will probably warm up during the day. Here’s a photo:

After 20 hours

After this batch had been out for 4 hours, I got a little concerned because the temperature in the apartment is now 73ºF. I wasn’t terribly concerned, because even if the fungus stalled, I could return it to the incubator to rev it up again, but still I wondered how it was faring. I just used my Thermapen digital thermometer to check the batches internal temperature: 93ºF. It has definitely achieved liftoff.  

25 hours from start

It’s clear that my concern was bootless. Here’s the tempeh at 12:30pm on July 1, five hours after the photo above.

48 hours from start

It looks pretty good. I might cut it up, put it into storage containers, and refrigerate tonight, though depending on how it looks and feels, I might wait until tomorrow morning (72 hours after start).

72 hours and it’s done

This post shows the final result after 3 days of fermentation. Below is one photo from that post: a few pieces in a storage container with one cross-section showing the structure: soybeans, millet, and mycelium of the Rhizopus fungus.

Written by Leisureguy

30 June 2021 at 11:57 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Non-animal diet, Tempeh

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Chickpea-peanut tempeh

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From left to right: peanuts after being boiled, drained, and dried; peanuts and chickpeas mixed with tempeh culture and a little vinegar; and the batch bagged and ready for the incubator. The tempeh’s name is “chick-peepee-nut,” said quickly. Update: The Wife suggested “Chick-Pea²-Nut Tempeh.” /update

Despite my earlier comment that I would make no more 3-cup batches, this is a 3-cup batch: 1 cup peanuts, 2 cups chickpeas. The earlier batch turned out so good, despite my (needless) worry, that I think I’ll probably continue to make 3-cup batches, and probably continue to use 2 cups of this and 1 cup of that.  I do like the thickness of the resulting slab. Update: 1) I’m moving toward 4-cup batches: 2 cups of legumes, 2 cups of (intact whole) grain, both measured before cooking (and cooked separately); 2) I now use raw redskin/Spanish peanuts (because the pellicle has nutritional value), which I simmer for 30 minutes or so. /update

I’m now finding it odd that more people don’t cultivate their own tempeh. It’s a great food. Now that I’ve worked out exactly how to grow a good batch, it seems easy.

Update after 3 days

At the right is a photo of the above batch taken 72 hours after it started. I was going to go one more day, but I think tonight it will go into the fridge (after about 80 hours).

This time I didn’t hesitate to remove it from the incubator once the fungus took hold (after 24 hours — see this post). I placed on a raised rack. Occasionally, when I inspected it, I would notice some gray areas on the bottom, due (I think) to the fungus just starting to spore. When I noticed any of those, I would turn the slab over and the gray spots, now on top, were quickly overgrown by new mycelium, perfectly white.

I have decided that the best dish for this will be a curry.

Here’s how the batch turned out and at the link is a draft recipe for the curry. Below is a slice from the finished slab, which I cut to fit my storage containers.

Written by Leisureguy

20 June 2021 at 10:47 am

Black-bean-and-black-rice tempeh a great success

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I had a temperature scare when the batch, once it started, got very hot (internal temperature of 100ºF), but as it turns out, I needn’t have worried. And come to think of it, I doubt that the fungus would generate so much heat it would harm itself. Natural selection would work strongly against that.

So after 3 days 23 hours — let’s just call it 4 days — the tempeh came out beautifully. it felt solid, like a styrofoam board. It smelled good and the mold was very soft and nice to the touch. Note the excellent marbling. 🙂

I wanted to try the tempeh, so I made:

Tempeh mini-chili test

I diced two of the small slabs shown above — sliced them down the middle, then across into cubes. I was just cooking one serving, so i used my 8″ nonstick skillet. It does have a lid so I could do some of the cooking covered (the simmering, for example).

• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 cup chopped red onion
• 1 red Fresno pepper, chopped
• Salt
• 12 mini-San-Marzano tomatoes, chopped
• 1 piece of tempeh, diced as above
• garlic powder
• Worcestershire sauce
• Yuzu ponzu
• Liquid Smoke
• Mexican Oregano
• Ground cumin would be right, but I didn’t feel like it so skipped it — but it really belongs
• California Sweet Paprika (couldn’t find my Smoked Spanish Paprika, so just used this)
• pinch of dried Thyme
• splash of Shaoxing wine

Sauté onion and Fresno pepper in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook until tomatoes start to soften.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix. Then cover the pan, reduce heat,  and let simmer a few minutes.

Remove lid and greatly reduce liquid — evaporate most of the wine. Then serve. I added:

• 1 teaspoon Bragg’s nutrition yeast
• about a tablespoon of pepitas

The tempeh held its shape remarkably well. It tasted good and had a good mouthfeel, with some chewiness. The mold is like the mold on Camembert or Brie: totally inoffensive, eminently edible. And a nice soft touch, like suede.

I was worried about this batch, but it could not have turned out better. Still, I’m going to stick to 2-cup batches: I think they would handle heat better. OTOH, there was definitely nothing wrong with this batch. So: maybe. I have to say a 2-cup batch is probably a better size for things like my next experiment: chickpeas and peanuts.

Stay tuned.


Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 10:35 pm

A drawback to a big batch of tempeh

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Normally I use 2 cups of uncooked beans for a batch of tempeh. This latest batch I used 2 cups of black beans and 1 cup of black rice, and after cooking them separately and drying them (not a problem with the rice, which iis cooked until the water’s all absorbed), I combined them, added vinegar and culture, and put the batch into a Ziploc fresh-produce bag: beans (and rice, in this case) into the bag, zip bag shut, place it on its side, and spread the beans in the bag to make a uniform layer that fills the flat bag from side to side and top to bottom. I noticed immediately that the 3-cup batch made a layer noticeably thicker than the 2-cup batch, but didn’t see the implication. Then the bag goes into the incubator at 88ºF to get the fungus established.

Once the fungus gets a good start in the incubator, I turn the thermostat down to 77ºF. The fungus generates its own heat as it grows, and if the temperature gets too high, the fungus will start to spore, which produces unsightly gray and black patches (perfectly edible, but off-putting). So once this batch was going, I turned the thermostat down and went on my way. But when I checked later, the temperature in the incubator was 92ºF. It had gone up, not down.

Those little guys really do throw off the heat. I tried to get the temperature down through several steps: 1) move lid so top is partially open; 2) remove lid altogether; 3) remove batch from incubator and put it on a rack (so air can circulate) in the kitchen. I then took the internal temperature: 99ºF! I moved the batch into the refrigerator for a while, then removed it. I went back and forth to the fridge for an afternoon. Right now the internal temperature is 100.3ºF and the photo shows what the batch looks like. I guess back into the fridge for a while.

Lesson learned: When I use the Ziploc fresh-produce bags, I’ll stick to 2-cup batches. Those seem not to heat up so much, probably because the beans make a thinner layer. I’m curious to see how this batch comes out. I’ll let it work for another day or two to see whether the internal temperature will drop. (Update much later: I now routinely make 3-cup batches in a Ziploc fresh produce bag. The key is to use the incubator to get the fungus started, but once a light haze of mold appears, remove the bag and let it finish on a raised rack on the countertop. It generates enough heat to keep going, and seems less likely to spore than when I used to leave it in the incubator. /update

Update: The batch ultimately turned out fine — indeed, I would say excellent. Take a look.

And now (May 2022) I’ve been routinely making 3-cup batches and have begun making 4-cup batches: 2 cups legumes, 2 cups grain (both measured before being cooked separately).

Written by Leisureguy

14 June 2021 at 11:10 am

Another walk and the black-bean-and-black-rice tempeh moves to Phase 2

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Another walk, with some photos shown above. And the tempeh mold seems to have taken hold after 18 1/2 hours, so I turned the incubator down to 77ºF (25ºC). Some of the light color is moisture, but some is the fungus — and in any event, that much moisture indicates that it’s working.

The walk was longer, so I did it in two sessions, with an intermission rest between.

Click any photo for slide show; right-click photo in slide show to open in a new tab, and click to magnify.

Written by Leisureguy

12 June 2021 at 5:40 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Non-animal diet, Tempeh

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