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Vegan Inventive Chef Cook Off!

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The Vegan Bleu Cheese! [Jul. 4th, 2006|07:39 pm]
Vegan Inventive Chef Cook Off!


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This week's ingredient is a vegan favorite:

What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented food typically made from soybeans and other whole grains.

How is Tempeh Made?
Tempeh begins with whole soybeans, which are softened by soaking and dehulled, then partly cooked. Specialty tempehs may be made from other types of beans, wheat, rice or may include a mixture of beans and whole grains.

A mild acidulent, usually vinegar, may be added and a culture containing the spores of fungus Rhizopus oligosporus is then mixed in. The beans are spread into a thin layer and are allowed to ferment for approximately 24 hours at a temperature. In good tempeh, the beans are knit together by a mat of white mycelia.
Under conditions of lower temperature, or higher ventilation, gray or black patches of spores may form on the surface -- this is not harmful, and should not affect the flavor or quality of the tempeh. This sporulation is normal on fully mature tempeh. A mild ammonia smell may accompany good tempeh as it ferments, but it should not be overpowering. In Indonesia, ripe tempeh (two or more days old) is considered a delicacy.
Note: those with mold and fungus allergies beware!

Heath Benifits of Tempeh:
The soy protein in tempeh becomes more digestible as a result of the fermentation process. In particular, the oligosaccharides that are associated with gas and indigestion are greatly reduced by the Rhizopus culture. In traditional tempeh making shops, the starter culture often contains other beneficial bacteria that produce vitamins (like vitamin B12). In western countries, it is more common to use a pure culture containing only Rhizopus oligosporus.

How do I Make My Own?

It's not required for this cookoff to make your own tempeh, but we wanted to include links to sites that can help you if you're feeling ambitious this week.
Too Many Chefs: Homemade Tempeh
How to Make Mixed Tempeh
BunnyFoot: Yes, You Can Make Your Own Tempeh!
Tribe: Homemade Tempeh - Way Cheaper and Better than Store bought

[User Picture]From: pills23
2006-07-05 04:01 pm (UTC)
I can't believe this is the first time tempeh has been the ingredient!

So while we're on the topic - I was wondering if anybody knows why tempeh.info has 2 different starters and what the difference is (see How To Make Mixed Tempeh link above). I've emailed them for info but they never returned my emails.

I've had great success in making soy tempeh from starter purchased from The Farm (they only offer 1 kind). However, I've tried it with other beans, as well as with a soy/rice mix, and it smelled horrid and I tossed it. I can't imagine what the difference is in the starters or why one would work for only soybeans. I've asked on the tempeh yahoo group as well, but nobody knew there either. Any insight would be appreciated.
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[User Picture]From: lavajin
2006-07-06 12:25 am (UTC)
Hey! Congrats on this community getting mentioned in VegNews! That rules!
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[User Picture]From: webtar
2006-07-06 04:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I've only heard about it, not seen it. If you have it could you take a picture for me?
It's exciting.
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[User Picture]From: lavajin
2006-07-07 05:07 am (UTC)
I will scan it tomorrow. :]
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[User Picture]From: lavajin
2006-07-07 02:07 pm (UTC)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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[User Picture]From: webtar
2006-07-07 02:24 pm (UTC)
No mention of vegancooking!? Oh well.
Thanks for scanning that.
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[User Picture]From: lavajin
2006-07-07 02:31 pm (UTC)
I know! We should all drop an email to the editor and give vc a plug.

Hehe No problem.
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