Tempeh in a dehydrator

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Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby mud-luscious on Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:09 pm

Hello all! I'm trying to make tempeh at home, and so far my oven-with-the-pilot-light-on effort has failed. It got way too hot and I think I cooked my spores :( Additionally, using the oven-with-the-pilot-light-on method isn't sustainable for me, since my university apartment oven doesn't have a light (and is also just generally heinous and burns everything that it doesn't undercook.)
SO. I was hoping I might have success in a dehydrator. Two problems, though. One is that every reference to dehydrator-incubated tempeh that I've come across uses a cube-shaped dehydrator (i.e. the Excalibur brands). I have a Nesco dehydrator (http://www.amazon.com/Nesco-FD-75A-600- ... B0090WOCN0) that is decidedly donut-shaped, complete with a hole in the middle.
This is problem one, and what I want to know is: is the cube-shaped suggestion just so one ends up with cube-shaped tempeh? Because I would not be opposed to donut-shaped tempeh, if that's the only issue. Or, do you suspect that there is an additional difference between the dehydrator types that could cause problems?
The second problem is that, obviously, the dehydrator dehydrates. Is there a way of keeping my tempeh from drying out too much? So far my dehydrator-incubation attempts have been extremely dry and mycelium-free. I've read that putting a shallow bowl of water in the dehydrator can help... has anyone had any luck with this?

Thank you sincerely for all the help!!!
mud-luscious
 
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Re: Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby Tibor on Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:45 am

I have never tried a dehydrator to make tempeh but I hear it can work if there is a way to turn off the fan. In your model the lowest temperature is 95 and that is too high for tempeh.Dehydration will happen if the fan is on or if you do not have the proper cover with small holes in a 3/4 inch grid covering the tempeh container. Maintaining moisture in your tempeh container is crutial and you are looking for 88 degrees.Also you need about 2 inches of space between the beans and the cover for proper ventilation and I'm not sure your model can give you enough space.Perforated zip lock bags(on both sides) would work but again your model is too hot. If you are handy,building an incubator isn't that hard. The Book of Tempeh by Shurtleff & Aoyagi will help you with different ideas and really inspire you. Keep at it...making tempeh is awesome. Get the book,you will not be sorry.
Last edited by Tibor on Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby mud-luscious on Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:53 am

Thanks so much for your helpful reply! I'm going to try and build an incubator out of a Styrofoam cooler, so we'll see how that goes!
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Re: Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby Tibor on Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:17 am

I would suggest a standard cooler than a styroform one. I would be concerned about off gassing. A 15 or 30 watt bulb would be best and a baby chicken incubator thermostat is cheap to make a worry free operation and you need a temp. gauge to adjust it all. It really is not that big a deal once you are set up and fresh tempeh from all kinds of beans and grains cannot be matched with store bought stuff. Good luck.
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Re: Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby mud-luscious on Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:25 am

So today I spent about 4 hours fashioning an incubator out of an old cooler we had (thank you Tibor for the advice about off-gassing!) and a few things from the Home Depot. It should not have taken 4 hours, of course, but I am essentially incompetent in the DIY-arena, particularly with anything electric. However, I eventually had success!
Of course, it was at this point that I realized (doh!) that my thermostat only went up to 80 degrees. I bought this guy (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Honeywell-Ma ... a14vY7yc9M), which LOOKS like it goes to 85 (which I figured would be sufficient, as 86 degrees has been the most common temperature recommendation I've found). I was dismayed to learn, though, that the dial does not actually go all the way around to the 85-degree mark; rather, it stops at the 80.
Do you think that I will have luck incubating at 80 degrees? Would it perhaps work, but take longer than at a higher temperature? If so, is there anything wrong with letting the spores do their thing for a longer period of time? Or do you suspect I'm going to have to go back to the drawing board? Has anyone had any luck incubating at a lower temperature?
Thank you so much everyone for your help!!
mud-luscious
 
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Re: Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby Tibor on Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:11 am

I don't have any experience with trying to make tempeh at 80' but it will take a very long time.You are just starting out so try to set it up to work at it's best.You want to shoot for 88'.My thermostat(chicken incubator model) operates the range of 85-91.That works to make excellent tempeh in approx. 22-24 hours.I do also want to mention that I am looking to upgrade to a higher quality thermostat.I suggest you get the Book of Tempeh as was suggested to me on this forum back in Jan.(Thanks Tim Hall and black eye pea tempeh is excellent!)It has tons of recipes and the way to make many different types of tempeh and also how to make your own spore if you want to experiment. In about an hour I will remove a garbanzo tempeh with toasted sesame seeds.
Making tempeh is a bit of work but very rewarding and excellent for you.
If you have not yet done this,go back and read discussions on tempeh making on this forum.Alot of good info.Good luck.
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Re: Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby mud-luscious on Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:56 pm

Thank you so much for the advice! I think I will get the Book of Tempeh. I'm going to try making tempeh at 80 degrees just to see if it works at all, so I'll let you all know how it works (or, more likely, doesn't!)
mud-luscious
 
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Re: Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby Tibor on Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:29 pm

Just to let you know.....In the book it says that at 80' it can take up to 50 hrs. BTW..you can find a book(2nd edition or newer) on line used for around 20 bucks.
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Re: Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby mud-luscious on Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:13 pm

I've had it incubating for about 20 hours, and so far absolutely nothing has happened. However, if it does take up to 50 hours on 80 degrees, that's not surprising. Just wondering - assuming it all works out and I'm left with some otherwise-perfect looking tempeh, do you think there's any harm in having a much longer incubation period? i.e. do you think this could this result in unsavories having a chance to flourish in the tempeh?
Thanks again for all the help!!
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Re: Tempeh in a dehydrator

Postby Tim Hall on Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:45 pm

The longer it takes for the rhizopus to get a hold of the ferment the more likely it will pick up some bacterial growth. But since you've already got it underway, just let it go and see what happens.

Fungal cultures like tend to not look like they are doing anything, then all of a sudden the come to life and start growing like crazy. But something is happening - you just can't see it yet.
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