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"Making Tempeh at D Acres" Compiled by the Tempeh Wizard's Guild, published October 2004

The following is a guide to making miraculous tempeh. This is for 1 batch, but a good amount for 20 people is 3 batches. Use any beans you want (chickpea, black, adzuki); some taste great, but the soy one has the greatest health benefits.

Splitting and Dehulling: The hulls decrease the quality of the final product but add fiber to the content – keep or remove hulls at your own will. Splitting the beans helps to create more surface area for the fungus, but not too much so that there is space for respiration between the beans.

Using a mill:
i. Set the mill to the coarsest setting.
ii. Send 2.5 cups of beans through and make sure that they are being dehulled and split in approximate halves (go back to (i.) if not).

By hand:
i. Soak beans overnight.
ii. Cook for 15 mins. and drain.
iii. Rub beans between palms so that hulls come off and beans split.
iv. Fill with water and skim off floating hulls with a colander.
v. Repeat (iii.) to (iv.) several times.

Cooking: cook for an hour if you did (1a.); cook for another 45 mins. if you did (1b.). Use enough water so that you will easily be able to skim off hulls when they float to the top.
Draining and Drying: Drain beans into a colander and let sit until well drained. Spread out onto pans to help beans dry as well as possible. This process can be aided by a fan or by intimately patting the beans with a paper towel. Make sure they are well dry before the next step, or they will spoil (ugh).

Inoculation: In a bowl, mix beans really well with 1 tbsp. of vinegar (distilled white). Then, when the signs are right, sprinkle in ½ - 1 tsp. of Rhizopus Oligosporus starter, mix really well, then tap the side of the bowl three times and shout: "grow, baby, grow!" The vinegar creates the slight acidic conditions that are comforting to the fungus, but unfavorable to discourage bacteria and other fungi.

Molding: There are two (or more) kinds of molds you can use. Both are reusable!
Put the inoculated beans into a ziplock bag that has fork punctures every ½ - 1 inch apart. Lay the bag on a pan with paper towels under it and pack the beans into the corners.

Spread the beans about an inch thick onto an aluminum pan with fork holes poked every ½ inch on the bottom and cover with aluminum foil with fork holes, too.

Ferment: Allow the beans to ferment 24-38 hours in a warm environment, such as the oven with a pilot light or in the boiler room. Let them ferment 'til it's tough to see the beans through the cottony mycelium and there may be black sporulation around the air holes.

Give birth – liberate them from the molds. Cook!

When applying to an earthen surface such as cob or adobe, you will need to remoisten the surface with a mister. This opens up the pores of the wall so it will bond with the plaster.

The easiest way to apply this plaster is by hand. Use fluid motions and try to even out the surface of your earthen wall as much as possible. After the initial coat has dried two to three hours, you can smooth it out with a trowel or an appropriate substitute (we used recycled yogurt tops, and they worked great). We recommend testing your plaster on a small section of your wall before applying it to the entire structure.

After it has dried for a few days, check the wall for cracks. Serious cracking is usually indicative of too much clay in your mix, which can be adjusted by increasing the amount of sand or reducing the amount of clay in your recipe. Excessively quick drying will also cause cracking. This is not a problem in New Hampshire with our relatively high humidity, but in California it can be a concern. One way to slow the drying is to protect the surface from the wind with a tarp. You could also periodically mist the surface or try a combination of the two.

That's all there is to it! Do some experiments of your own if you like, nothing is set in stone. Good luck getting dirty!

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