After several failed attempts at making tempeh using weather, oven, and insta pot, we decided to try creating our own tempeh “incubator.”
Based on the light on in the oven concept, it’s simply a 40Watt light bulb installed in a 20qt. plastic bin.
A junction box was bolted on, and a hole drilled out for the weather-resistant bulb socket.
Cord secured using romex sheathing.
All exposed metal was covered with electrical tape – for safety!
Voila. Worked fine, just like that. However, some improvements were made:
On the trial run, we found that the lid got fairly hot, so we created at foil/paper-towel-shield to more evenly dissipate the heat. Also, the double-sticky failed and the thermometer plopped into the water, so a hook was fabricated to hold it in place.
After success making tempeh in plastic bags, we tried just making it on just the tray. That failed – it got too dry on top. So, we mocked up the light bulb shield, and covered the beans with perforated paper. That worked only okay, but the bulb shield improves heat dissipation.
Heat loss also made temperature regulation tenuous, so the box was insulated with bubble wrap and shop towels.
Using just the tray and perforated paper never made great loaves, so we’ve reverted to using perforated plastic bags, which has produced great tempeh, except for once. When tempeh fails it’s very obvious: Fun-kay.
We’re all in – moldy beans..
Making tempeh is straightforward, but hulling and drying the beans is a hassle. Especially garbanzos. The basics are there: Soak the beans (2.5cups), hull the beans, cook the beans, and dry them well.
Then, it’s 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a teaspoon (Or, in the current case one packet) of the starter mixed with the beans.
Temperature in the incubator should stay between 85f and 90f, and i usually aim from right in the middle of that.
Per the advice of Betsy Shipley, the finished cakes are baked at 180F for 30 minutes to stop the fermentation process.