Tempeh: What is your setup?

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Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby Polo on Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:55 pm

What is your tempeh setup? Pros and cons? What works and what doesn't?

I am thinking dehydrater but are unsure as the temperature setting is fixed and will not react to the beans beginning to generate their own heat, and are worried that the batch will get overheated :shock: .

Besides, the dehydrater doesn't have a setting lower than 85 Fahrenheit / 29,4 Celsius, and compensating manually by gradually lowering the temperature is not an option ;) .

Thanks.
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Re: Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby Tibor on Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:26 am

I built my incubator to accommodate 3 glass pyrex bread pans. It has a glass door so I can watch the progress. It is literally an apple box with one inch of insulation and a wood box to cover it; with a metal rack in the middle and a sheet metal dissipater just a bit below it. Under that I have a 15W incandescent small socket chandelier bulb . I am using a digital temperature controller to run at 88 degrees, give or take 2 degrees. The bulb turns on and off when necessary. When the tempeh puts out it's own heat the bulb never turns on and I may even crack the door a bit. I do have a temperature reader in the box as well.
Works great.
A dehydrator usually has a fan and that is not good for making tempeh. One without a fan might not have even heat. I've never used one, so I don't know. You do need a properly perforated lid for your pans to maintain moisture for the spores to multiply properly.
There is most definitely a learning curve to making good tempeh. My favorites are black eye pea and also garbanzo with toasted sesame seed. I screwed up a bunch at first but keep at it .....it's worth it.
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Re: Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby Polo on Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:33 am

Interesting - very handy ;) . Incredibly that it can accommodate 3 whole glass pyrex bread pans!

Is the fan an issue because it dries out the environment? The tempeh doesn't generate enough moist on its own?

Inspired by the creativity I am considering this setup:

1.) Closed foamed polystyrene box with water
2.) Water heater
3.) The beans in a glass tray touching the water, placed on two full glasses

Are there any issues to this setup - please do comment! :mrgreen:
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Re: Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby Tibor on Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:32 am

yes, the fan is a problem because it dries out the tempeh. I have read that people use a cooler with hot water to make tempeh but I have no experience with that. Using that method would require adjustments to the moisture level in the incubation chamber. There is a tricky balance there. Your perforated lid over your tempeh pan keeps a regulated humidity inside, and your finished product is firm but not soggy. Also you dry your beans just the right amount before you add your spore so with the water bath you may need to adjust the dryness of your beans.
Mine works with my setup but I still screwed up a couple of times and I made adjustments and then I was on a roll. When I just had the bulb below the metal rack, I was getting a hot spot in the middle of the pan, so I suspended a thin sheet metal about the size of 2 pans just above the light and that dissipated the heat just right. I also started out with a higher wattage bulb and it was cycling too much, so I got a 15 w bulb which did the trick.
Also if you scroll down this page, you will see previous discussions about this and other tempeh subjects .
Experiment and let us know how it works out !
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Re: Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby Polo on Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:52 am

The suspension of a thin sheet metal about the size of 2 pans just above the light sounds like a really good solution to dissipate the heat. Very interesting!

It diffidently seems like a delicate process and I will have the firm/soggy issue and dryness of the beans in mind and be prepared for some trial and error.

What kind of vinegar do you use?

It reads on my Tempeh starter box that 2 tablespoons of "distilled white or rice vinegar" should be used (equals 2 cups of dry beans). I wonder if that is a must or if I could just use "organic white vinegar" instead?!
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Re: Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby Tibor on Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:25 pm

I use white vinegar for my tempeh, simply because it's the only vinegar I have around that is filtered. For my kitchen uses I use organic, raw, unfiltered Bragg's apple cider vinegar and I'm not sure if the unfiltered would mess with the process. If your organic vinegar is filtered, I don't see any reason why you couldn't use it.
Incidentally, I'm trying my hand at fermenting my own apple cider vinegar . I'm 6 weeks into making it alcoholic and then into vinegar a bit later.
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Re: Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby Polo on Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:37 am

White filtered vinegar sounds like the way to go if possible, but availability certainly seems like an issue. I personally can’t find any distilled vinegar around here which makes me lean towards the recommended “rice vinegar” as I don’t want to experiment too much with the first batch.

The making of apple cider vinegar sounds intriguing – first making alcohol then turning it into vinegar. I actually came across one recipe using unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in the making of tempeh. I would have guessed that the impurities would be an issue so I really don't know if that is to recommend. ;)
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Re: Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby khoomeizhi on Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:26 pm

the organic white vinegar i've seen is all filtered/probably distilled. it should be interchangeable with any other white vinegar.
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Re: Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby Polo on Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:01 am

It sounds like it reads "distilled" / "filtered" on the bottle?

Neither of the white vinegars I can get my hands on reads "distilled" or "filtered" so I assume it is not?!

On the bottle of the organic white vinegar it reads:

Ingredients: Organic pure fermented vinegar 5% (organic alcohol-vinegar made of fermented alcohol and water), salt and aroma.
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Re: Tempeh: What is your setup?

Postby tempehfun on Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:12 pm

oven; 60 to 100 watt light bulb plugged into reptile thermostat ($35)
zipper bags; staple them together and poke holes with a safety pin all at once: notice when the light stays off mostly- temp is rising; crack open oven door watch out for the oven light coming on as it will continue to add heat; set thermostat at 86 and place sensor right on top of bags; use a ceramic dinner plate above light bulb (which sits on oven floor) on middle rack as heat deflector; tempeh bags on top shelf. Enjoy the best food in 22 to 30 hours!
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