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How to grow and make tofu, seitan and veat.

 
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Hello. I am searching for more ways to grow and create my own vegan meat, instead of running to the grocery store most of the time. I'd like to find out where I can begin. How many fields and stuff I need to grow my own tofu, seitan or veat? I want mine to be more substainable and healthy as possible without all the garbage that's been spilled on our ground. Drop in if you got any more ideas and stuff. Out!
 
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Seitan is wheat gluten and tofu is curdled soymilk, so you'd have to grow wheat and soy and figure out how much you want to use for meaty sub.

If you got some tempeh culture, you can also make tempeh out of almost any bean or grain.  I have made tempeh from sunflower seeds, lentils, and buckwheat.
 
Blake Lenoir
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M.K! I'd like to make more ground beef from plants, as well as chicken, steak, etc. Ever tried to make veggie shrimp before?
 
pollinator
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I would be more inclined to tempeh, since you can use the whole bean, seed, etc. With seitan especially, you're only using part of the food, so you'd have to grow more to get enough of the gluten. I think I've seen wheat with 14% protein, but that's higher than most. So, if you grow 100lb of wheat, best case scenario is that you'll get 14lb of seitan for the year. Seems like there are better uses for the wheat to me, but maybe having foods like seitan is really important to you.

Another option is Burmese tofu. It's made from chickpea flour, water, and salt. You can add spices, if you like. You just cook the flour like a porridge, then pour it into a dish to set as it cools. Then you can cut it into whatever shapes you want and use it like you would tofu or polenta.

Chickpeas haven't grown well for me, and it seems like they're fairly low-yielding compared to beans - only one or two peas per pod and the plants aren't huge. You could probably use whatever pulses grow and yield the best for you to make "tofu", though.
 
Blake Lenoir
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I'm looking to make ground turkey from plant and add them in tacos, pizza, chilli, etc. How I make some from simple ingredients?
 
Jan White
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I find it's easier to just come up with tasty plant foods, rather than trying to recreate meat.

However, texturewise, you can get pretty close to chicken or turkey with tofu. Put a package of tofu in the freezer until it's totally frozen. While it's thawing, keep a weight on it to squeeze all the water out. Then you can pull it into strips and shallow fry them in oil. The texture is pretty convincing. My omnivore husband was impressed anyway.
 
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I have made broad (fava) bean tempeh and I don't recommend it. The bean seems to contain more carbohydrate than soy beans and the tempeh it made had an sweet, almost alcoholic smell to it. Perhaps my culture was contaminated with wild yeast but I never had that problem when making soy tempeh.

I also +1 for tempeh over tofu. Making tofu is a lot more work and, when it is so readily available for so little money (even the more expensive, organic brands), it just didn't seem to worth it to me.
 
Blake Lenoir
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How I make tempeh? Another nice type of protein.
 
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Making Tofu:
Tofu is made from soybean curd which has been pressed into a block shape, then stored in a brine.

To make soybean curd:
1. Grow soybeans (A LOT of them)
2. Harvest the beans
3. Remove from their pods
4. Soak the soybeans in water overnight
5. Remove the hull from each soybean
6. Puree the bean and with clean water until it's 'soymilk' - a liquid emulsion
7. Strain it to make sure all solids are removed (in case you missed a seed hull or two) - but keep the liquid
8. Bring to a boil and skim off foam (about 5-7 mins)
9. Lower to a gentle simmer (about 20 mins), stirring gently, then take off the heat
10. Dissolve the coagulant of your choice in a cup of warm water - the MOMENT it's completely dissolved, begin pouring into the stovetop soymilk.
11. Gently stir the milk & coagulant for about 1-2 minutes.
12. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for 15-25 minutes.
While the mixture sits, small white curds will separate from amber colored liquid.
13. Once the process of curd-forming is complete, transfer the curds into a molding container lined with cheesecloth or a similar fabric.
14. Fold the fabric over the curds and place a small weight on top to begin pressing out the liquid. Allow the mixture to be pressed by the weight for 20-30 minutes or until it holds together.
15. Remove the block of tofu from the mold.
16. Store in clean, salty water until you're ready to eat it~  

Coagulant options:
Gypsum OR Liquid Nigari / Nigari Flakes / Epsom salts (Magnesium Chloride)
Gypsum tends to act faster and results in a firmer tofu.

Freezing the tofu and thawing it again before cooking will help it be denser/meatier/absorb more flavors.

One pound of dried soybeans can yield up to 20 small blocks of tofu.
National average yield per acre is about 50 bushels per acre.
1 bushel of soybeans = 60 pounds
so 1 Acre of soybeans is 3,000 lbs of soybeans
or 60,000 tofu blocks (and a LOT of water)

If you had a 100 sq ft garden (10ft by 10 ft) and ONLY planted soybeans, and got an ok yield, you'd get about 6.8 lbs of soybeans, or 137 small tofu blocks.
(remember: husks and hulls don't count here. We're only looking at unshelled beans)

Making Tempeh

You can use soybeans, or almost any bean, grain, or large unshelled seed to make tempeh.
Making tempeh is a process of controlled fermentation. The beans are inoculated with a starter culture that contains Rhizopus mold spores (either Rhizopus oligosporus or Rhizopus oryzae), and then fermented at a warm temperature. As the mycelium grows, it binds the beans into a dense, white cake.

Tempeh should be made in a vented container with the beans lightly packed and no more than 1 inch deep. The vents must be large enough to allow for air circulation, yet not so large that the beans dry out.

In order for the mycelium to grow, the beans must be kept at a temperature between 85° and 90°F for 24 to 48 hours. If the temperature is not warm enough, the tempeh spores may not grow and you may get unwanted bacteria. Conversely, if it is too hot, the spores may die.

1. Soak the beans overnight
2. Remove the hull & split the beans in half if they're large
3.  Drain the beans, transfer them to a large pot, and cover by 2 inches with fresh water. Bring to a boil.
4. Skim off and discard any foam or hulls that rise to the surface.
5. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender (about 45 minutes)
6. Drain the beans.
7. Spread them out on two towel-lined baking sheets and pat them dry.
8. Let the beans cool to below body temperature.
9. Transfer the beans to a clean, dry bowl. Sprinkle the vinegar over the beans and mix well. (to help prevent unwanted bacterial growth)
10. Sprinkle the tempeh starter over the beans and mix for about a minute to distribute evenly.
11. Put the beans in their containers.
12. Place the bags in the incubator. The temperature must be between 85°F and 90°F for the next 24 to 48 hours, so periodically check to make sure the temperature is consistent.
13. Between 12 and 24 hours you should start to see some white mycelium growing on the beans. You may want to lower the heat source because the beans will start generating their own heat as the mold grows
14. Depending on your conditions, the tempeh may take up to 48 hours total. The mycelium will continue to thicken, forming a white layer around the beans and binding them into a dense, firm cake. The tempeh is done when the entire surface is covered with dense, white mycelium (some black or gray spots are okay), as well as the spaces between the beans. The beans should be bound together firmly as a cake. You may want to slice a small piece off the edge to make sure the cake is firm all the way through.

--

The words "I want to make beef/steak/chicken/turkey from plants" confuses me.

You can make very savory, dense materials that you can use /in place of beef/, which can fulfil a similar role as beef in many recipes, but beef is cow muscle. You can't make beef out of plants.

It's like saying 'I want to make a solid gold ingot out of quartz' <--- you can make a quartz bar in the shape of an ingot and treat it with chemicals to appear gold, but it will always be quartz.

Are you looking for a texture mimicking? Are you looking for a similar savory flavor? do you want big crumbles or little crumbles, or a slab of something that you can sear on both sides and cut into strips? Do you want something you can batter and deep fry and douse with bbq sauce?
Those are all different requests, and will get you different answers.
 
Blake Lenoir
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How can we refrigerate tofu, tempeh and stuff without electricity since some folks live off-grid?
 
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Blake Lenoir wrote: I'm looking to make ground turkey from plant and add them in tacos, pizza, chilli, etc. How I make some from simple ingredients?


Blake, see if you can get this book from your library.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23256202-the-homemade-vegan-pantry
She's got good recipes for homemade vegan staples that are good meat alternatives. I've been making sausage from the recipe she based hers on for over 15 years.
PTS (soy protein) is also a great ground beef sub, and you can usually buy it at any place that sells dry beans, etc.
 
Mk Neal
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Blake Lenoir wrote:How can we refrigerate tofu, tempeh and stuff without electricity since some folks live off-grid?



I think just make a batch as you need it, rather than storing.

The raw ingredients (beans and grains) store well at room temperature, so plan your meals to use the finished product up soon after it’s ready.  Tempeh, for example, takes a day and a half or two days depending on the temperature. So plan to start a batch Monday morning for “taco Tuesday” dinner.

 
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Here are step by step directions for making tempeh, and a place to buy the cultures:

Cultures For Health - How to make tempeh

That's a great website and company. I've bought many of their cultures and used their directions, though not for tempeh or tofu.

A simpler version of "tofu" is made from chickpeas and not fermented. It's also called Burmese tofu and it more like the process for making polenta than tofu.

I've had it at a restaurant that used it as a filling for burritos, much like one might use scrambled eggs. It does have the chickpea flavor, but it's mild and easily covered with sauces. In the recipe below, the chickpea flour is soaked. From what I've read, this is the traditional method of doing it and there are often nutritional reasons for this soaking.  Some recipes created in the US leave out the soaking, but that may not be a good call, nutritionally speaking.

How to make Burmese Chickepea Tofu

This is what it looks like:


Chickpeas are easier to grow than soybeans in some regions, they are hardier plants and require less heat and humidity than soy. I have some growing and maturing chickpeas right now! The other awesome thing about chickpeas is that you can eat them green, like peas or edamame:

Using fresh shelled Garbanzo Beans

And there are even more neat uses, like collecting malic acid from the plants. That's used as a vinegar/lemon substitute in India. It's also good for you!
 
Blake Lenoir
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Speaking of chickpeas, I've tried to make my chickpea scramble the right way, but I ended up making a warmer hummus instead of making it close to a tofu scramble. How can I cook my chickpea scramble the right way?
 
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I always have a bag of organic vital wheat gluetn in the pantry. When I want seitan, it's the work of a few minutes to mix a batch. Equal parts water and gluten. plus you can mix whatever flavourings you want in at the same time. I love using a homemade barbecue style sauce. Knead it for a few minutes till the texture becomes firm and a little stringy if you try to pull it apart. Then cook - I usually form mine into flattened pieces and bake. Other recipes might call for the seitan to be simmered in a gravy or sauce, or in a flavoured stock. It's far cheaper than buying mock meats in the supermarket.

But as Jan said, making seitan from scratch using home grown wheat flour is very wasteful, as it requires that all the carbohydrate is washed out. It takes a LOT of grain to make a small amount of protein. My guess is that with the processed gluten flour I buy, the carb part of the wheat that's washed out is then used to make wheat starch. But with homegrown wheat  - using the flour to make bread and eating it with peanut butter is a more efficient way to get your protein.

This is a fab recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen using both chickpeas and gluten to make high-protein cutlets that taste great. They're not pretending to be meat, and I highly recommend them: https://www.vegkitchen.com/double-batch-chickpea-cutlets/
 
Mk Neal
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Blake Lenoir wrote: Speaking of chickpeas, I've tried to make my chickpea scramble the right way, but I ended up making a warmer hummus instead of making it close to a tofu scramble. How can I cook my chickpea scramble the right way?



Not sure what the recipe was, but I have used a chickpea flour batter (just chickpea flour and water to consistency of pancake batter) to make something like an omelet. Maybe if you stirred around when half-set it would be a scramble.  

 
Blake Lenoir
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I was wondering if I need wheat or another type of flour to create my veggie sausage, round or link shaped. I'm trying to cook mine with less oil and stuff to make it much healthier than the store brought varieties, where I get the stuff from and are there ingredients out there on the cheap and do from scratch?
 
Mk Neal
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The texture is always the hard part when making a plant-based burger, sausage or the like from ordinary whole ingredients.  Years back I tried many “veggie burger” recipes. Most ended up as flavorful rounds of starchy mush, which need very delicate handling.  

The texture was greatly improved by adding any or all of the following:

- sprouted lentils
- chopped mushrooms,
-soaked or even sprouted sunflower seeds
- bulgar wheat as the main starch.  The gluten in the wheat will bind the mixture together if you give it a once-over with immersion blender.
 
Luke Mitchell
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Blake Lenoir wrote:How can we refrigerate tofu, tempeh and stuff without electricity since some folks live off-grid?



In my experience, tempeh stores very well at cool, ambient temperatures. I used to refrigerate mine as it slowed down the mycelium growth - eventually the fungi will sporulate (drop its spores) and turn the tempeh black in places; whilst completely edible it is a little off-putting. As tempeh is alive until you cook it, I believe it actively fights off other fungi and bacteria.

 
Blake Lenoir
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What's mycelium? Never heard of that word before.
 
Luke Mitchell
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Blake Lenoir wrote: What's mycelium? Never heard of that word before.



Mycelium is the white, fibrous stuff that you might have seen in soil (particularly woodland soil) or beneath mushrooms. To use an analogy, mycelium is the "tree" of the fungus whereas mushrooms are the "fruit" used to spread its "seeds" (these are tiny and known as spores in fungi).

You can use Google to learn more: mycelium
 
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Just to add an observation that I hope to test out soon in the kitchen.  Although each person has their own taste preferences, I find the new "Beyond Meat Jerky" to be an outstanding facsimile of meat jerky.  I was surprised to see that the main protein ingredients were mung bean protein and pea protein with no gluten nor methylcellulose to provide texture.  It's possible the mung bean protein has properties lending itself more to the firm texture than pea protein and would perhaps offer a non-gluten approach towards the meaty firmness.  Will be testing out a batch of mung bean protein soon.....  They can be grown and ground for the flour as well.  Here in northern North America, it may be a stretch to grow in a home garden as the days-to-harvest was listed as 75-90 and it appears to be quite frost intolerant.  Hopefully others have more experience with growing the beans and using mung bean flour or protein to add here?...  Love to see all of the approaches and solutions on this issue!
 
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