May 27, 2013

Let's Make Moldy Rice Crispy Treats!

Let's Make Moldy Rice Crispy Treats!
....but not really.

Last week I experimented with making Tempeh, which is a fermented soybean product that is used as a meat substitute. When I pulled the finished product out of the incubator I made my wife took one look at it and said, "You're feeding me moldy rice crispy treats?"

It looks a lot better once when its finished off, but for a while there it really seems like one of those foods first eaten on a dare. Of course I say the same thing about beer, and I like beer. This tempeh was cobbled together from a series of different instructions, most notably from Betsy's Tempeh and Gem Cultures.
2 1/2 cups Soybeans
4 oz Pearly Barley
1 tablespoon flour (I used Rice Flour)
1 teaspoon nutritonal yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar (I used Rice Vinegar)
1 teaspoon Rhizopus oligosporus spores

Making Tempeh, Steps 1-5
1) Soak the soybeans for at least eight hours.

2) Gently mash the soaked beans up a little bit. I pulsed them briefly in my food processor, but next time I'll probably just use my hands.

3) Extract the soybean hulls. I found filling the pot with water, swirling around the soybeans, letting them settle for just a couple of seconds before dumping out most of the water gets rid of a lot of hulls. More will float up during cooking.

4) Simmer for 35 minutes, but after 5 minutes of simmering, add the barley. Drain well.

5) Dry out the beans using a hair dryer for a couple of minutes while stirring well. When done, add the vinegar and stir well. The vinegar is optional, but it is supposed to dissuade competing organisms.

Making Tempeh, Steps 6-11

6) Prep your Rhizopus oligosporus spores. I got mine from Gem Cultures. This amount of beans took 1 teaspoon of this fungus culture.

7) Mix the spores with the nutritional yeast and the flour. This step is optional, but it is supposed to make inoculation easier.

8) Stir the culture starter mix into the soybeans as well as you can.

9) Spread the mixture into a glass or metal dish, pressing  it down firmly and evenly.

10) Incubate between 85* and 87* for 22 hours. The fungus growth is exponential to a point, so you won't see anything for the overwhelming majority of the time and then BAM.....moldy rice crispy stage.

11) Finish off in a 175* oven for 25 minutes to stop the culture's growth. Cool. Flip it over, out of the pan and cut up as desired.

Finished Tempeh
A Better Picture of the Final Product
You can use this tempeh as a meat substitute, but you'll want to experiment a bit on how you do so. I used it crumbled up in place of ground beef/turkey in my homemade hamburger helper and I thought it was "meh". Carolyn liked it though. Some of this batch was marinated immediately for use in stir-fry and I totally loved it. I actually liked it better than using beef.

We still have some tempeh "burger" patties to try out.

Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity
Shared 2013.05.27

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