Making Tempeh at Home



Hardware: Ingredients:
Large pot for boiling beans and steaming tempeh Organic Soy Beans – 2 cups
Thermometer Vinegar – 2 Tbs
Light with dimmer switch Tempeh Starter – 3/4 tsp
Mixing bowl
Colander for steaming tempeh
Containers with holes for making tempeh in




1 Measure 2 cup of dry soybeans – we use organic.




The first step is to de-hull the beans. Boil whole soy beans 15 minutes, then turn off and allow to sit 2 hours.
3 Drain water off of beans and use a shallow baking dish and potato masher to split beans. Dump split beans and hulls into another pot. tempeh03


A firm “rocking” motion with the masher works well to split the beans and liberate the hulls.
5 Add water to the pot you’re putting the beans and hulls into and use a strainer to skim the hulls off.  tempeh05


After skimming the hulls, mash the beans some more in the pot to liberate more hulls. The de-hulling step is the hardest part – it takes me about 10 minutes for 2 cups of beans.
7 Boil the beans for another 30 minutes after the hulls are removed to finish cooking them.




The de-hulled beans are now ready for drying. Put the drained beans in a clean lint free towel and dry them until they are “surface dry.” 




Knead them gently in the towel to dry them and then put them in a mixing bowl to inoculate them.




Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the beans and mix well. Then add 3/4 teaspoons of tempeh starter to the beans and mix well again.




Lightly pack the beans into the vented containers to about 1/2 to 1 inch deep. (I make mine about 1 inch thick.)
Here’s my setup for an incubator. I use one of my kitchen cabinets in which I placed a heat source (a lamp with a dimmer switch) and a thermometer. (My thermometer happens to be a function on my multimeter.) I have placed the Tempeh containers on a wire rack to facilitate air circulation. I adjust the light dimmer switch temperature as required to maintain the temperature in the cabinet to between 85 to 95 degrees F – trying to keep the temperature of the beans 88F for the first 12-15 hours until the Tempeh begins producing its own heat. At that point, I begin dimming the light and eventually turning the light off.  I close the cabinet door and check the temp every hour or so, but not after I go to bed. tempeh12
13 tempeh13 Here’s the Tempeh at about 23 hours after inoculation with the starter. The white mycelium is starting to cover the entire surface of the beans, only a couple of more hours to go!
14 Here’s a look at the inside of the finished Tempeh at about 26 to 30 hours after inoculation. The white mycelium has grown though the beans and created a dense, nutty smelling Tempeh. At this point I steam the Tempeh over boiling water (using the colander) for 20 minutes, and then slice them in half to make patties about 1/2 inch thick. I soak the patties overnight in salt water made from 2 teaspoons of salt per pint of water, then dry and freeze the patties. When I want to eat them, I take them out of the freezer the day before, let them thaw and fry them up.


Here’s one way we like to eat our Tempeh – fried with a little soy cheese melted on top, on toasted homemade bread, BBQ sauce and some fresh lettuce – oh, and lots of vegan mayonnaise!Tempeh Bacon is another fun way to eat Tempeh.  Thinly slice the Tempeh into strips and place in the following marinade for 1 hour to 5 days, then pan fry or deep fry until golden brown and crispy.




Water – 1 pint
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Garlic Powder – 1 teaspoon
Liquid Smoke – 1 tablespoon

You may, of course, adjust these ingredients according to your taste