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How to make tempeh?

Step 1: Ingredients

You need about 500g whole soya beans, a few tablespoons of vinegar and a bit of tempeh starter to make 1 kg of tempeh. Tempeh starter contains either spores of Rhizopus oligosporus or Rhyzopus oryzae, or a mixture of both. You can buy tempeh starter from TopCultures, they ship worldwide.

Step 2: Soaking and dehulling soya beans

Whole soybeans can be dehulled by soaking the beans for 8 - 14 hours in water and then removing the hulls by hand. In doing so, the beans are split into two halves and the seed coats can be discarded.

Step 3: Cooking the dehulled beans

Place the soybeans in a cooking pot and add just enough to water to cover the beans. Add the of vinegar, bring to boiling point and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and remove the cooked beans onto towels to drain off the excess water and to cool the beans, which are now swollen and soft. It's important that the beans become very dry, otherwise undesirable bacteria can grow and create off-flavours.

Step 4: Inoculating the dehulled beans

Put the cool and dry beans in a clean container and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of tempeh starter (can be ordered at and mix thoroughly. The exact amount of tempeh starter required is given on the package of tempeh starter.

Step 5: Incubating the beans

Take 2 plastic bags about 18x28 cm and perforate them with holes at a distance of about 1 cm by a thick but sharp needle.
Divide the soya beans in the two bags and seal them. Press them flat, making sure that the total thickness of the beans is not more than 3 cm.
Place the packed beans in an incubator at 30°C or at a warm place for about 24-48 hours or until the container is filled completely with white mycelium and the entire contents can be lifted out as a whole piece. A simple incubator can be made with putting a light bulb in an old fridge. Depending on the room temperature bulbs with different wattage (15W, 25W, ..) can be used, but remember that the tempeh will also produce some heat on its own.
Before incubation
After incubation

The fresh tempeh will feel warm and will have a pleasant mushroom flavour. The finished tempeh can be store in refrigerator for 7 days or a few months in the freezer.


Making tempeh from spouted soy beans

I have access through my local farmers market for fresh sprouted soy beans. Will these work the same as the dry for the method on your website. My customers would freak out about house made tempeh.
Justin - 24/10/2013

Peanut tempeh

How to make peanut tempeh?
Guest - 25/10/2013

This is from the Book of Tempeh: "Although peanuts are hard to dehull, the delicious tempeh is worth the work. Prepare as for soy tempeh but soak the raw peanuts for 12 to 16 hours after first boil. Split peanuts in halves (or chop) after dehulling, steamin a cloth on a rack over 1 to 2 cups water at 15 pounds in pressure cooker for 10 minutes, then allow pressure to come down naturally. Mix steamed peanuts with steaming water (1 to 2 cups) and vinegar, drain well, and proceed to inoculate and incubate as for soy tempeh."
Wim - 25/10/2013

Astringent taste

Soybeans contain phytochemicals with a bitter and astringent taste, such as isoflavones (mainly genistein) and saponins. Soy protein can be obtained from defatted soybeans in two different ways: alcohol extraction or water extraction. Extraction with alcohol will remove more of these bitter components but results in a less healthy protein as these phytochemicals have been associated with positive health effects in soy. Oxidation of lipids will also increase bitterness.
Rob - 01/11/2013

dehulled soybeans for making tempeh

Do you know where i can buy dehulled soybeans in europe?
Sari - 01/11/2013

dehulled soybeans for making tempeh

Dehulled soybeans are very difficult to find.
Celnat in France sells them. Most tempeh and tofu factories dehull their soybeans themselves or buy containers loads of dehulled soybeans from Canada.
Rob - 01/11/2013

Soya seed hulls

I wonder what are the properties of Soya seed hulls? All I could find is that they are used in animal feed and have a lot of fibre. Is it better to remove them. When making tempeh they are removed before cooking-why is that & why before?
DadaVi - 15/11/2013

Soya seed hulls

These hulls are indeed fibre and are indigestible for humans. But they are also not digestible for the Rhizopus molds used in tempeh fermentation. Although soybeans without hulls make the best tempeh, it is possible to make tempeh without removing them. When making tempeh the hulls are removed before the final cooking process, because removing them afterwards will increase the risk of infection.
Rob - 15/11/2013

Can one make tempeh with mungo asian beans?

do you know if one can make tempeh with the mungo asian beans? i believe they are green soy beans. so far, i've been using yellow soy beans, and it was working really well!
Kim - 21/11/2013

Can one make tempeh with mungo asian beans?

You are 100% correct Rob, in everything you say :-)
You have to find a tempeh starter that groes well on starchy substrates. Also bear in mind not to overcook the mung beans and make them quite dry. Starchy beans tend to retain a lot more moisture than soya beans. Try steaming them rather than simmering in boiling water.

Otherwise yeah it's definetly possible. You can also find split mung beans, in indian stores. That would spare you a lot of time.
jimmy - 22/11/2013

any other equally nutritive pulse as soya bean that is worth trying?

I'm studying food processing technology
I'm given a project to work upon a food to increase its self life
I'm interest to try this
I also want to know whether there are any other uses of tempeh
Plzz reply as soon as possible
shivani - 18/01/2014

Who has tried to make tempeh at home?

Just curious, did any of you tried to make tempeh at home? Is it that easy?
Peter - 04/09/2015

Who has tried to make tempeh at home?

I got my tempeh starter and instructions from TopCultures. Actually it's very easy. And it's very pleasant to see the tempeh growing. Also fresh tempeh tastes a lot better!
Jim - 04/09/2015

bitter after taste

recently with non-gmo soy, almost always bitter, tried to rinse many time n remove as much smaller part of soy but same thing. when i made 1kg was ok, 5 kg bitter again. lastweek made with organic and non-gmo at the same time, organic one was perfect, non gmo was bitter n not fully develop spore. same starter, together in incubator n same quantity. the only difference: organic used SS pot n tray to dry it, non-gmo aluminum pot n tray. I've made many time (old batch of soy)with perfect result, using aluminum from soaking, boiling, drying and incubating. Could be the soy? but 1kg was ok.
minx minx - 28/09/2015


i want to promote soyabean as food to fight malnutrition. i am in pune,india.our area grows lot of soyabean/however nobody eats soya.this can be a good opportunity for joint venture pl help.padmakar deshpande .email
padmakar deshpande - 25/11/2015


I want some tempeh starter culture for my test samples
wijesiri muththettowage - 06/12/2015

soy-free tempeh starter

Does anyone know if I can buy soy-free tempeh starter directly from Europe? I live in Europe and I rather buy locally than have it shipped from the US or Indonesia.
D lovgren - 15/03/2016

soy-free tempeh starter

I know that Topcultures sells soy-free tempeh starter to industrial clients, not sure if they all sell it in small quantities.
Leonard - 18/03/2016

dehulled soybeans for making tempeh

Two source of slit soybeans:
1) Search for "Raitip Sojabohnenkerne, geschält".
2) Deshima
Rob - 25/05/2016


Hi, I have been looking for readymade tempeh in Mumbai. Does anybody know where I can get it please.Thank you.
girija - 17/03/2017

Using sprouted raw garbonzos

Is cooking necessary before inoculation? I know in mushroom production a cut log must be left for a few weeks for its natural fungicide to dissipate before introducing spawn. Would something similar be true for sprouted substrate or can I use soaked and sprouted beans as is without boiling or steaming?
Guinn - 19/03/2017

Using sprouted raw garbonzos

Yes, you have to cook substrate to kill all foreign molds and bacteria. Even if the end result looks like tempeh you don't know what mold is growing, some of them produce toxins.
Kim - 27/03/2017

tempeh and Joey Alexander

you have make a perfect step by step tempe/tempeh, you must try without vinegar, it will more delicious and if you eat tempeh routinely may be you will have a son/daughter like Joey Alexander or Diki Suryaatmaja.
joko - 01/04/2017

Why do the soybeans need to be dehulled? I made tempeh before I read about this and did not dehull the soybeans, and the tempeh came out just fine. What am I missing?
Veggietater - 06/05/2017

Steaming tempeh

I am making tempeh and decided to steam it instead of boiling...and suddenly came to me I missed the step no vinegar.Should I continue or through tho batch out?
Appreciate your answer
Bobb - 23/07/2017

Adding vinegar

When should I add vinegar to the beans? During the cooking process or after cooking and cooling of the beans (before adding the starter)? I find very conflicting info on the internet. Some don't add vinegar at al.
Luca - 23/07/2020

Adding vinegar

Adding vinegar to the boiling water is the best option. Then all beans will be equally acidified. Even better is to let the soybeans acidify naturally in the soak water, like they do in Indonesia. Growth of micro‚Äźorganisms in soak water results in a decrease in pH value of the cooked beans.
Eduardo - 07/08/2020

uncooked okara to make tempeh

i using okara to make tempeh....can the okara uncooked to make tempeh
chin yh - 08/09/2020

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