How to Make Tempeh the Easy Way | The Perfect Food for Boondocking

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But Where Do You Get Your Protein?

I know what you are thinking, but stick with me on this. Truth be told I am a vegetarian, but it is not my aim to try to convert you or anyone for that matter into a whole foods lifestyle. With that said, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy a delicious whole foods meal.

When one hears the word “fermented” chances are that sauerkraut or pickles are the first foods to come to mind. While sauerkraut and pickles are both amazing fermented foods we’re going to tame things down a bit and discuss tasty protein packed tempeh. I’m not talking about grocery store tempeh, oh no. I’m talking freshly cultured, flavor packed tempeh easily made with an unusual tinyhome friendly gadget.


Our Off-Grid Diet, or You Too Can Survive the Apocalypse

During our off-grid days we found ourselves faced with the constant challenge of finding alternative methods for most everything we did. We baked fresh bread buried in the ground, created a desert permaculture, and fermented/cultured any food we could. While fermented foods are easily stored without refrigeration, *I do not recommend this unless you have fully researched fermented foods. In those days we didn’t really eat much tempeh. Aside from the fact that we mainly consumed what we produced I never really liked the stuff.


Small Oregon Family Farm | Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

It wasn’t until several years later while living at a small intentional community in Deadwood Oregon that I experienced fresh handcrafted tempeh. Whoa, that sh*t changed my life. It was on that day at that little farm that I decided I would learn the art of tempeh crafting. Like most things we consume, homemade is usually superior both in quality and taste over anything that comes in a package.

In my effort to learn this new skill I began reading blogs and watching any Youtube tutorials that I could find. As I continued my journey I learned a bit of history and some age old traditional methods for crafting tempeh. Not only was I learning about traditional tempeh, but I was also finding a plethora of alternative types of tempeh.

Being that cooks have crafted tempeh without any sort of gadgets for utterly eons I decided that this gal was going to do the same. I had researched enough that I was confident with the simplicity of the process. I opted to go for the traditional soybean tempeh, but never would I have imagined that it would go off without a hitch.

Where Did it All Go Wrong?

After a few successful rounds of yummy tempeh, eventually a very sad day came when a delectable batch of soy tempeh failed on me. Simply put I did not factor in the internal temperature of my batch once it began to incubate combined with a very hot summer day. That was when I learned a hard lesson regarding the importance of consistent temperature control. I needed a little more stability than that.

With that I searched high and low for a method in which I could create a more stable environment for my process. While there were many interesting tips I came across, most of them involved building some sort of home brooder. With our lifestyle this simply was not going to work. Honestly, I was about to give up. Until, one day without even looking there it was! I had found the Brod and Taylor multi-use incubator.

Not only did I find a brooder specifically marketed for making tempeh, but as it turned out the brooder was light weight and folds down for ease of storage. The brooder’s thermostat has a temperature control which has lower settings than any other device I’ve come across. This versatility in temperature control allows the brooder to be used for homemade yogurt, proofing bread, and even as a slow cooker. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Brod and Taylor Available on Amazon.com

Brod and Taylor Key Points

  • Accurate temperature control – 70-195F (21-90C)
  • Roomy enough for proofing bread
  • Appropriate temperature setting for culturing tempeh, yogurt, cheese, and kombucha
  • Melts chocolate with ease
  • Dutch oven slow cooking
  • Folds flat for easy storage
  • Hundreds upon hundreds of positive reviews

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since Brod and Taylor first came into my life. Since that time I have learned a great deal about different types of tempeh, and I’ve branched out into creating several different types. There is lentil tempeh, which is the easiest and best for tacos. I’ve also become quite fond of quinoa tempeh which makes to most amazing sausage links.

We will talk further about the different types of tempeh and how to craft them in future posts. Until that time I’ve included Cultures for Health basic tempeh recipe.

Basic Tempeh Recipe by Cultures for Health

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Boil the soybeans for 1 hour to cook.
  2. Discard the cooking water and dry the beans (either using a towel to pat them dry or setting over low heat in the pot to evaporate the water off the beans). It is important for the beans to be dry to the touch, as too much moisture can ruin the batch.
  3. Place the beans in a dry bowl and allow the beans to cool to a lukewarm temperature (same temperature as your skin).
  4. Add the vinegar and mix well.
  5. Add the tempeh starter and mix well to evenly distribute the starter in the beans.
  6. Place the beans in two vented containers (or quart-size plastic bags with needle-size holes poked through at 1/2-inch intervals). The beans should be layered 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick.Incubate the beans at 85-91°F for 24 to 48 hours. Verify the temperature using a thermometer inserted into the beans, rather than testing the temperature next to them.
  7. Check the beans after 12 hours. At this point in the process the fermentation will cause the beans to generate their own heat so you will normally need to reduce or even eliminate the external heat source. Be sure to use a thermometer to check the actual temperature.
  8. After 24 hours or so, the white mycelium will start to cover the surface of the beans. Over the next few hours the white mycelium will grow through the beans and will smell nutty.
  9. After 24 to 48 hours, when the beans have become a single mass held together by the white spores, the tempeh can be refrigerated.

*Recommended reading…

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