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Tempeh, Koji and Miso Making

 
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I've just begun my first batch of miso. I've made tempeh successfuly for years...it has an incubation of 24 to 30 hours..miso has 40 to 50 hours for the first step,the koji, and then a year for miso.. This is the second time I have bought Koji starter...the first time I chickened out because I didn't think I could keep it warm for that long.
This time I began with Lone Pine organic soybeans, cooked, cooled and innoculated and placed in an enamal roasting pan, then wrapped and placed in my oven with just the light on. That seems like the right temperature for now. I am more concerned with keeping the miso itself warm enough for a year.

Anyone making miso? tips? disasters to avoid?
 
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Please, where can I find info about miso making???
 
Judith Browning
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I order both my tempeh starter and koji for miso from GEM Cultures. gemculture@juno.com Their phone is 253.588.2922. I called originally for a catalog and have always ordered through the mail. They send detailed recipes with the starters but I would first get the catalog and check out all of the different starters. I even got the recipe from them before ordering.
What I am making is what is called soybean (hatcho) miso. It has it's own particular starter....there are five different ones for misos and shoyu, plus dairy cultures,kombucha tea fungus, natto starter, etc.
Our library has Sandor Katzs book 'Wild Fermentation' and reading that gave me the nudge I needed to try miso...but I am using GEM's recipe.
 
Judith Browning
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So far so good. At 24 hours I uncovered and stirred to break up clumps in my innoculated beans...nice white cottony growth.
I covered and wrapped the whole thing back up in towels and put back in the oven with just the light for extra heat. It is staying around 85 degrees. Over 90 will cause spoilage. Twenty four more hours...
 
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please do keep us posted on how it goes!

I've been on the GEM site and wondered about making tempeh and miso. I love miso!
 
Judith Browning
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These are not the complete directions ...you need the right starter and detailed instructions come with that. I just wanted to share my experience that so far is good. Most of the process is soaking, cooking and incubation time not hands on.
I just finished packing three pounds of (future) miso into my grandmother Browning's salt glazed one gallon crock. After mashing the koji I added sea salt, a tablespoon of unpasterized org. miso (this is not required but helps), and one cup cooled boiled water...all mixed well and packed...with a wooden masher...into the crock. The directions then called for a layer of plastic! which I don't use so I covered with clean cloth, then a two piece wooden lid against the cloth then a three pound weight(pennies in a covered bowl) then paper tied over the crock opening and it's setting on the shelf above our wood stove...of course it is supposed to be in the seventies today...I'll be opening doors and windows.
Because the pkt of starter is enough for two batches I have another round of koji begun and will add it to this crock in two days.
The starter is three dollars...the shipping is five so I always get several things at a time. The 'seed' miso is from the local store...any unpasterized miso is good, you just need one TBS per batch.
Now,I wish I could get my bucket cooper husband to make a miso tub...hint..hint.
 
c cagle
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Can you tell from the directions if you can make gluten free miso? I know it's possible - but not sure if those directions cover it or not.

Fun to have a cooper husband! and funnier that you are without a bucket. lol.
 
Judith Browning
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The GEM catalog I have lists light rice miso, a red rice miso, a barley miso and the soybean one I am making. They each have a seperate koji starter, not interchangable I guess and all different fermentation times. I don't know if the rice misos have any other grains...they would be gluten free if just rice. I don't eat wheat but I don't worry about fermented soybeans. I would ask GEM for the gluten free choice. The bit of 'seed' miso I used was barley but could have been rice I think.
 
c cagle
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I emailed them but never got a response. Then again, I'm not serious about making it yet - more thinking about it right now. I'll call them if and when I get to the 'starting' point.
 
Judith Browning
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c cagle wrote:I emailed them but never got a response. Then again, I'm not serious about making it yet - more thinking about it right now. I'll call them if and when I get to the 'starting' point.



I think they just recently did the web page. Try calling them...I think you will get a machine that will take your address for a catalog...there might be an option for asking a question. They are a small family run business...Try to get the recipe for tempeh and the miso you want before you buy your starters so you can have everything you need and can experiment with incubation temperatures...that was the biggest challenge in making tempeh...our dog loved those failed batches.
 
Judith Browning
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I just broke up the clumps in my second batch of koji...It smells good, kind of mushroomy. I was able to keep the temperature more consistant this time and closer to 85 to90 degrees. The problem for me is when it starts generating its own heat...as with tempeh incubation...the temperature can get too hot over night and spoil the batch. I'll stir every four hours now until bedtime (as the directions say to prevent 'hot spots').
 
Judith Browning
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Stirring the koji at 42 hours I found it had heated up too much over night and turned bad...good compost material. I guess I had beginners luck with the first round. Now a year before I find out if the first batch of miso really works. Back to tempeh.
 
c cagle
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oh what a bummer! I'm sorry to hear about the overheating. And boy did that temper my eagerness to try. lol.

I'm hoping your miso is a good discovery when the time is right. I just had a good cheese discovery: made many 4 lb wheels of cheese just as we were getting ready to sell our cow and farm. Took care of them faithfully for the first 2 months, turning then and oiling them on schedule. Then all heck broke lose with the move, I got overwhelmed, forgot the cheese. When I looked again all of the wheels were fuzzy and moldy. I tossed them into an open food grade bag together, moved them with us, and finally got around to cutting one open yesterday - 2 yrs after I made them. There is a good 1" - 2" of hard as a rock and moldy rind on the outside - the inside is mellow, ripe, very dry, and spectacular! Had to use a saw to cut through the rind it was so dry! lol. But a nice discovery after all that waiting and hard work.
 
Judith Browning
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Excellent cheese story! Two years...I've only made some soft goat cheeses nothing aged I think some things are just an act of faith. I do love long processes and I think that is what keeps me growing food. As far as the miso goes I am all up for trying again but there is a limit to how much we can eat and share with family and friends. Tempeh is done in twenty four hours or so and we eat a batch over the next two weeks. Try tempeh first..you can make it with other beans and also rice although I have not tried anything but soybeans.
 
c cagle
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I might do that, Judith, try tempeh first. We're about to start an anti-candida diet so it'll be awhile before we can eat fermented things again. But hopefully soon!
 
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I love miso. I'm so freakin impressed. Good luck, Judith.
 
Judith Browning
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Rion Mather wrote:I love miso. I'm so freakin impressed. Good luck, Judith.


Thanks, Rion...this is one of the joys of aging...after children and my mother with us for years we are both finding time to actually have long conversations with each other and do some things that require long term 'tending' like the miso...and actually I will be impressed too if in a year I can post success here...our house has never been reliably warm or cool...just a little more or less than out of doors.
 
Judith Browning
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Well, I think I've let the house get too cold repeatedly for my miso to work properly. It's not smelling up the room yet but up close it doesn't smell right even for this early in the process...maybe compost soon. My bigger problem is I haven't been able to find tempeh starter for months. GEM cultures is out of stock and I can't find The Mail Order Catalog from TN (the Farm) on line and I am off of their mailing list...maybe they stopped the mail order business? Does anyone have an address for anyplace else that sells tempeh starter?
 
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Culturesforhealth.com I have no personal experience with this company, just from my bookmarks.
 
Judith Browning
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This is an older thread, Sandor, but if you read my earlier posts in it you will see that your book inspired me to try making miso....and I am sure it would have worked if we had not had to leave our home for a few days at a time (unheated) over the winter....the temperatures dropped into the low forties too often I think. Another time I think I will find a 'miso sitter' with a warm house.
But, I am going to try again! I am still waiting on GEM cultures to have tempeh starter again and then I will order koji starter. Do you know what happened to them? I can't seem to get any information but I think they are still in business. Thanks for being here.
 
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I'm not sure what's up with GEM Cultures, but here ia a source for tempeh starter: http://www.tempeh.info/
 
Judith Browning
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Thank you! I can't wait to be back in tempeh production...we had been used to eating it once or twice a week freshly steamed for several years until about six months ago.

and if you have time for another question...While we were without a starter I read a little about making your own starter from a batch of tempeh allowed to sporulate...?...have you heard of this or tried it? Thanks again.
 
steward
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could you break up some finished tempeh and mix with new substrate?
 
pollinator
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c cagle wrote:I might do that, Judith, try tempeh first. We're about to start an anti-candida diet so it'll be awhile before we can eat fermented things again. But hopefully soon!



1) I thought that on the contrary fermented food would compete with the bad fungi in the guts!

2) By the way, if you can be of some help on my cheese post, I try to ferment some fresh cheese i buy...
You made me dream with your story of a 2 years cheese!

3) I would also like to know how you can go on with tempeh. I buy some. Can it be used as a starter?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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From tempeh. info
"With most fermented food products you need a starter to push the process in the desired direction.
For example, to make good quality yoghurt you need a starter containing the desired lactobacillus and streptococcus bacteria: you can use commercial starters or some yoghurt from your previous batch.
In the latter case there is a risk of contamination with other bacteria, a risk which increases with every successive batch.

The same principle applies to tempeh fermentation: to produce good quality tempeh you need a tempeh starter with a very high count of desirable Rhizopus molds."
 
Judith Browning
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Tel, What I read said to let the cake go past done to where it develops black spores all over...then dry it and use ground I think for the next batch...the starter I was getting was very inexpensve so I never thought of trying this.

Xisca, I always use a commercial starter but haven't been able to get it from GEM for awhile. I am sure store bought tempeh is steamed to stop fermentation.

I think our tornado warning is over...we have been hanging out under the stairs for awhile...now it looks just like a good old storm and I hope it beats in all of the seeds I planted today.
 
Judith Browning
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Finally able to update my old thread....just finished a batch of garbonzo tempeh with starter from http://www.culturesforhealth.com/chickpea-tempeh-recipe
I was out of practice and I think my glass pan was a little big for the amount of beans (layered a little thin) and I was so afraid of letting the temp get too warm that I probably had it on the cool side.....it worked though and we loved the taste......I think the beans could have cooked a little longer initially and I think I could have lengthened the fermentation time as there was no sign of sporulation. I used this recipe that calls for twice the starter as cultures for life and I see that cultures for life calls for about twice the fermentation time.
I'm going to try black bean tempeh next http://www.superfoods-for-superhealth.com/black-bean-tempeh.html.
 
Judith Browning
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Black bean tempeh for breakfast....it came out really good After trying both the garbonzo and black bean variation I doubt I go back to soy bean tempeh at all. I need a few more times to practice and work out the texture...mashing a few of the beans is suggested, and the length of time to ferment....the black beans went on for maybe thirty hours and I think could have used even more time. In the past, when I was first making soybean tempeh, I've had that over ripe ammonia smell and slime on the bottom when I either ferment too long or the batch gets too warm, so I'm erring on the side of too short a ferment with these.
 
Judith Browning
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the above mentioned black bean tempeh on greens
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Judith Browning
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Finally! I have some good tempeh starter again, from NorthWestFerments through Azure.

I don't have soy beans at the moment though so used black beans.  I think I could have split them better but otherwise it made a wonderful cake of tempeh....so excited as it used to be one of our favorite protein sources and for years I made it a couple times a week.

I found that our fairly large toaster oven worked great for incubation with a lidded pan of hot water wrapped in towels as a heat source.  I covered the outside with thick bath towels and set the thermometer where I could see it through the glass door.  It held the heat well at 85-90F with two changes of hot water over the first day...after that it produces enough heat to keep things warm.
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fresh black bean tempeh
fresh black bean tempeh
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fresh black bean tempeh
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fresh black bean tempeh
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fresh black bean tempeh
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fresh black bean tempeh
fresh black bean tempeh
 
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Yours look so much better than mines. Great job.
I am going to have to get some starters from NorthWestFerments
 
Judith Browning
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S Bengi wrote:Yours look so much better than mines. Great job.
I am going to have to get some starters from NorthWestFerments



Thank you!
Years ago I  was getting a good starter from the Mail Order Catalog at The Farm in Tennessee...then they quit selling it and I found good starter at G.E.M.  and then they quit selling it also.  The next place I tried, the starter seemed really weak so I gave up until recently I thought I would spend the shipping and order from Indonesia and then the pandemic happened.

This seems like good quality and quite active...hoping it's available for awhile now.

Are you having particular issues with the process or just weak starter?
 
S Bengi
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Mostly weak starter, but I didn't have perfect temperature control (if only I live further south)
 
Judith Browning
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Yeah, temperature control is where I've had the most problems.  I can do each step perfectly and then if I don't catch it when it starts producing it's own heat I've got a slimy mess and if I let it cool too much it just never gets going.  Some summers here the temperature in the house with no AC would be almost perfect! That was rare though.  I find a container of water that has been brought to a boil and then wrapped in towels set below the pan of tempeh works well.  

I don't use the plastic bag with holes method although they say it's more reliable?  I like the way I first learned using a glass pyrex rectangular dish covered with aluminum foil (the only time I use foil) with pin holes poked at one inch intervals.  This is where you will find out if your beans are dry enough...too wet along with too hot and the bottom of the cake will go off and slimy.
 
Judith Browning
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I've been making tempeh twice a week lately with great success!
The starter from NWFerments is wonderful and our summer has been hot and humid, just right for the ferment.

I joined a very small private 'tempeh making' group on facebook that has given me some more insight and lots of innovative ideas.

The big advance is using my corona mill set very open to crack the beans.  This worked perfectly with the soybeans and made it so much easier to remove the skin of the beans.  Before, we would soak overnight and then squish by hand to split and hull them and it took forever.....  
The black beans needed to run through the mill twice as some of the beans were much smaller than others but this was easy also.

I found that people are making it with a variety of grains and seeds, herbs and even sweet potato bits....I added soaked sunflower seeds to the last batch and it worked well and made another with barley and navy beans and spinach flakes.

A lot of the makers use leaves as wraps...banana leaves of course but also some experimentation with other large non toxic leaves like cabbage and grape.

I have always made it in a glass pyrex dish covered with foil with holes poked in it.  Now I've been covering with a damp cotton kitchen towel until about the 24 hour mark when it starts producing it's own heat...then I pop it out of the glass and wrap in the damp towel to finish...damp not wet is necessary.

I really don't like the 'fail proof' methods some companies are promoting using baggies with holes...we can make it without using any plastic

I've neglected pictures lately but thought I'd post a little in case anyone else is making it or interested in learning?
 
Judith Browning
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When the weather is hot and humid, even in my house, make tempeh!

This last batch is soy beans with mung beans.  I did not split or hull the mung as I was advised that it wasn't necessary.  

Great summer food.....sauteed with some melted cheese on top with a side of fresh garden vegetables and some homemade sauerkraut (good weather for making it also).

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tel jetson
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you're making it very hard to be allergic to tempeh, Judith.
 
Judith Browning
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tel jetson wrote:you're making it very hard to be allergic to tempeh, Judith.



haha...Allergic? to soy maybe?  The black bean is excellent



 
tel jetson
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the fungus, unfortunately. I have problems with some very delicious mushrooms, too. c'est la vie.
 
S Bengi
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Does that mean that you are allergic to the fungi yeast. How about anti-biotic alot of them are fungi based.
 
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