Category Archives: Fermentation

Fermentation tips and tricks for the beginner or experienced culturist.

Benefits of Tempeh and a Simple Recipes

Tempeh is a staple food of Indonesia, which is gaining popularity all around the world, for its distinct nutty taste and nougat-like texture. Tempeh starts by cooking soybeans, followed by inoculation using a culturing agent like Rhizopus oligosporus spores.

Tempeh in BBQ Sauce
~ Tempeh in BBQ Sauce ~

To finish the culturing process, incubation occurs overnight turning the soybeans into a solid white cake. Use the fermented tempeh cakes in a number of dishes, as a healthy meat alternative! Tempeh works great marinated in your favorite herbs and condiments.

  Tempeh is a highly nutritious food rich in protein, which has been the traditional cuisine of Indonesia for more than 2000 years. Today, tempeh is a popular meat alternative for vegetarian and vegan cuisines. Because it is a low-fat and high-protein food, many vegetarians choose to include tempeh in their diet on a regular basis.

  Tempeh is extremely rich in protein, low fat, and contains fiber and vitamins.  Now a common sight in Co-ops and health food stores, it is easy to enjoy tempeh at any time! Store bought tempeh is ready to cook and eat or one can make it much cheaper at home with prepackaged spore starter and some basic equipment. Below are some health benefits of Tempeh.

Health Benefits of Eating Tempeh

  • Tempeh is a rich source of proteins. The proteins in tempeh have the additional benefit of lowering cholesterol level, unlike the protein from animal sources, which raise the cholesterol level of a person. Thus, tempeh is an excellent alternative to meat.
  • Tempeh contains magnesium, which plays a vital role in the cardiovascular system and in more than 300 enzymatic reactions. Magnesium is also necessary for reactions like the control of protein synthesis and energy production.
  • Tempeh may help in preventing heart diseases. It reduces the cholesterol level and hence, lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Tempeh also raises the HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol passes through the body and collects the cholesterols in the arteries to be disposed of by the liver. Tempeh can even lower LDL cholesterol levels, apart from raising HDL.
  • Tempeh, like other soy foods, is rich in dietary fiber, which binds fats and cholesterol and prevents their rapid absorption. In addition, the dietary fiber binds the bile salts and helps throw them out of the body.  As it disposes of the bile, the liver is stimulated to convert more cholesterol into bile salts, thereby lowering the cholesterol level in the body considerably.
  • The fiber present in tempeh may assist in lowering the risk of colon cancer, by being able to bind to the cancer-causing toxins. It is also preventative against some other cancers, like breast cancer.
  • Tempeh is also helpful in treating menopausal symptoms.  The isoflavones present in tempeh bind to the estrogen receptors and provide relief from the uncomfortable symptoms associated with the decline of natural estrogen.  In addition, it may aid in reducing the bone loss that generally follows menopause.
  • Tempeh contains a good amount of the trace minerals, like manganese and copper.  These minerals play an important role in numerous physiological functions.
  • Tempeh is extremely healthy food for people suffering from diabetes.  Its natural properties that assist in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels prove helpful for diabetic patients.  Also, tempeh aids in lowering the triglyceride levels in diabetic patients.

Cooking Tips

  • Always cook the tempeh cakes to kill the active mold and/or spores.       Do not eat tempeh RAW.
  • Tempeh will take on the flavors of the marinade or recipe ingredients.       By itself, tempeh has a mild taste.
  • To make tempeh, you will need soy (soya) beans, few tablespoons of vinegar and tempeh spore starters like Rhizopus oryzae or Rhizopus oligosporus.
  • Soak the beans for 8-14 hours in water. De-hull the beans by hand and split the beans into two. Skim off the hulls and discard.
  • Make sure the beans are very dry; otherwise, undesirable bacteria may take hold and produce bad or off flavors.
  • Keep the beans in an incubator, while wrapped in the plastic, at a temperature of 30°C/85°F. You can also keep them at any warm place for a day or two or until you see, the plastic completely filled with white mycelium.
  • The tempeh is ready when the soybeans become one complete solid mass.
  • The fresh tempeh will be warm and has a pleasant mushroom flavor.
  • You can store tempeh in the refrigerator, for around ten days. However, if you keep it in the freezer, it can stay for a few months.

Recipe For the Week

Tempeh Super BBQ Burger

tempeh burger
An Easy Way to Use Tempeh Cakes

Ingredients Needed

  • 1  tempeh cake (about 4 to 5 cups)
  • 1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, grated
  • 1 broccoli stock, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown rice or nonwheat flour
  • 2 Tbs arrowroot starch
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs dried basil
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 2 Tbs dried parsley
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 egg or egg substitute (1 Tbs ground chia + 1/4 cup warm water)
  • Add other spices, if desired, like chili, herbs, or spice mix.

Instructions

– Cut tempeh up into cubes and toss into a food processor and process until into small pieces, or finely chop.

– In a large mixing bowl, mix together ground tempeh, onion, zucchini, broccoli stock, brown rice, arrowroot starch, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, oregano, parsley, baking powder, sea salt and egg or egg substitute.

– Mix with a fork until it starts to come together, and is evenly mixed.

– Take about 1/3 cup mixture, roll into a ball and then flatten into a patty shape.

– Either cook on a 350-400 BBQ or in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Remove once lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Do not overcook the patty.

– Serve on a bun with the toppings of your choice or wrapped in lettuce.

We hope this Blog page has assisted you in making great tempeh at home.  We have tempeh spore starter in small amounts and now in 500gr commercial size packaging.  See more details at our web store – Organic-Cultures.com

Culturing Recipes For the Week…1.25.2015

Today we shall look at some recipes for pro-biotic drinks from traditional Indian food culture. Yoghurt or buttermilk plays an important roll in Indian cooking. Bringing richness to a dish and helping to cool down a chillies heat in an entrée.
Yoghurt type drinks, called Lassi, and herbal teas add not only pro-biotics but also the medicinal properties of the herbs added.

Here are three Lassi drinks to get you started:

Cultured yoghurt lassi
Simple to make Indian lassi is great!

Spicy Lassi

2 c water
½ c of plain yoghurt of your choice
2 tablespoons of sugar (or to taste)
½ tsp fresh, grated, ginger or ¼ tsp dry ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes. Adjust sugar to taste and dosha. Doshas are part of Ayurvedic medicine system with the goal of keeping the body in correct balance. This lassi is good for all body constitutions and has a heating effect on the body.

sweet lassi
Sweet Indian Yogurt Lassi

Sweet Lassi

2 c water
½ cup cultured yoghurt of your choice
2 tbsp of sugar
1 drop rose water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes

Good for all body types but especially balancing for pitta dosha types.

 

A spicy lassi ready to drink
Hot and Spicy Drink !


Jalapeño Milk

This is a great drink for heading off colds and flu’s. It provides inner heat and energy to the body when needed. This is one of my favorite medicinal drinks for taste and easiness in preparation. The jalapeño milk is not as hot as the name sounds. The milk and sugar will mellow out the chillies heat.
People are surprised by the amount of energy it gives!

Start with 2-5 fresh jalapeño chillies

8 oz cultured yoghurt or milk

Raw honey or unprocessed sweeter, to taste

Chop the jalapeños and blend with the milk. Blend for least 5 minutes. The long blend time, ensures the chilies are incorporated and helps to froth the milk. Add sweetener and blend for a few seconds. Adjust the sweetener to taste. Strain and enjoy!

We hope you like these drinks as a change from the common yoghurt smothies here in the USA.   Yoghurt style cultures are avalible in our store: store.organic-cultures.com

 

Culturing Recipes For the Week…

curd chillies
Yoghurt curd chillies use in many dishes for a tart and spicy taste

Curd Chillies From India

For an easy cultured condiment that may be added to many dishes, try curd chili. The name makes it sound hot; however, the addition of fermented curd cools down the chilies heat. Any type of traditional yogurt style starter will make the curd needed for the recipe.

The finished product is a pickle of sort, as the curd softens the chili and ferments it at the same time. It goes very nice with curd rice (see recipe below).

Recipe Ingredients:

– 1 kg fresh red chillies
– 3 tbsp sea/rock salt
– 1 cup very thick, drained yoghurt, Fil, or Viili
– 1 cup tamarind juice (soak golf ball-sized lump of tamarind in 1 cup water for 15
minutes and squeeze out juice or use tamarind paste)

Pre-heat oven to 100 Deg C or 220 Deg F

Mix salt, yoghurt culture, and tamarind in large bowl.  Add chilies until coated with mixture.  If mixture will not stay on chilies, try coating chilies with flour or thicken mixture with a thickening agent.

Place coated chilies on a baking tray and heat until chilies are dried.  Turn chilies to cook even and coat all the area.

Store the dried cultured chilies in a air tight jar. Use as is or fry in some oil.

HINTS and TIPS:

  • Use as is or fry in a little oil
  • When making the curd, drain the whey off by hanging in cheesecloth.
    The thicker curd will sick better to the chilies.
  • Add to lentil dishes, curries, or other dishes for a tart, sour, and hot taste!

 

Curd Rice Recipe

Curded Rice is a nice way to use leftover rice or add some punch to an entrée

– 3 tbsp vegetable/coconut/sunflower cooking oil
– 2 cups cooked rice (day old rice may work better)
– 2 1/2 cups water – Salt to taste
– 1 cup cultured yoghurt (your choice on type)
– 1 tsp mustard seeds (toasted)
– 3 dry red chillies
– 5 to 6 curry leaves
– Coriander leaves to garnish

In a large pot, mix cooked rice with the yoghurt and salt.
In hot pan heat oil and fry off mustard seeds, curry leaves, and chillies. Cook until chillies blacken in colour.
Mix this into the rice and serve topped with fresh coriander/cilantro leaf.
This makes a great addition as a side dish to the meal.

We hope everyone enjoys these recipes and Happy Culturing!

The Never Ending…Cup of Life Updated 2/8/15

Making Pro-biotics Part of Your Daily Life and Health

Probiotic Beverage
A Cup of Living Probiotic Beverage

As we move into the new year, many people strive to make healthier choices through ‘resolutions’. Intake of living foods is vital for great health and proper digestion. Consuming living foods/pro-biotics is an easy resolution anyone can follow to increase health and wellbeing. Ways to obtain living foods can include eating a RAW food diet, fermentation of foods, or by capsule form. Capsule forms of pro-biotic are very expensive over traditional cultured foods and beverages, like live kefir cheese or ginger brew. We believe eating a diet of raw foods is as close to nature and a natural way to ingest the highest degree of nutrients. Adding fermented foods into the diet allows a higher degree of pro-biotics intake over a standard a raw diet, assists in absorption of nutrients, and provides a much greater array of healthy foods.
 
  Here at Organic-Cultures, we use a method that insures daily pro-biotic intake. We call it ‘The Cup of Life’! Without beneficial yeast and bacteria, human life would not subsist. This method would fall under fermentation and RAW food choices. Using the ‘Cup’ method is very simple to implement into your daily routine. First, you will need a drinking container, water bottle, etc. A quart size vessel seems to work best. Next, fill your container with your favorite water type cultured food drink. Liquid type cultures work better than dairy culture starters. Your choices range from any type of water kefir grains, kombucha tea or JUN, and ginger brew. One may mix different types/strains of fermented beverage to increase the pro-biotic array
(Be careful not to contaminate your pure culture strains).

Water Kefir Grains
Choose your mix of probiotics to produce a fizzy beverage.

Decided on a pro-biotic source(s) and simply add some fresh pieces of fruit and/or juice along with the active cultivated source. One may add pieces of the water kefir grains or other culture, if desired. The next part is where the real action begins! As the cultured beverage sits, the active bacteria and yeast strains will start to consume the sugars within the fruits/juice. As you drink this mixture throughout the day, keep refilling the container with fresh juice and water mixture. At night, loosely cover and in the morning there should be a nice fizzy beverage ready to consume throughout the day. Since the ingredients are cultured, the beverage can stay out for several days with no worries of contamination or refrigeration.

Photo updates 2/8/15
IMG_0297 Photo updates 2/8/15

Tips:

– Keep at room temperature to keep the cultures producing and fermenting

– If stored in a container with lid make sure to open slowly in case of pressure buildup –
or leave your drinking vessel open.
– Cut fruit into larger pieces to prevent a chocking hazard

– Make sure to change out the container from time to time for hygienic reasons

– If you like a colder beverage…just add ice.

 As always…

Happy Culturing through the New Year.      Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods!

Update on the living cultured drink…10.31.2015

It is been many months of drinking with this same culture sample.  It is providing a great fizzy beverage every day without much work.  This glass of never ending life filling probiotics is done with the grape kefir grains which are larger then traditional water kefir grains.  Just add some fresh juice,  cut fruit, water kefir, or even a little kombucha tea.  It’s been working for many months and provides a drinkable beverage day or night.  If made before going to sleep, the beverage will be fizzy by morning, with a head like beer does.  Carry this around throughout the day and people will ask what is floating in your drink.  A great way to tell them about living beverages and probiotics!
Happy Culturing!


 

 

What is Tempeh and Tempeh Starter?

What is Tempeh?

tempeh spore cake Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a cake, similar to a very firm veggie burger. Traditional tempeh is a soybean cake that has a rich smoky flavor and aroma, with a firm nutty texture. The soybeans are fermented and inoculated with the mold spores of Rhizopus oligosporus. Use the cooked TPS cakes as a replacement for meat in many recipes.

Tempeh works well for making tacos, hamburgers, and our favorite…the grilled Tempeh Reuben with raw sauerkraut! If you live in Indonesia, you can buy tempeh starter easily.  In the USA, buying the starter spores can be a bit difficult; however, to make tempeh is not too hard.  Many commercially prepared brands add other grains, such as barley, also adding spices and extra flavors.  All this you can do yourself at home by adjusting the recipe.  Although tempeh is a soy product, it has a unique taste and a mildly smoky flavor, unlike tofu.

Description

Making tempeh  Tempeh is fermented soy food that originated on the island of Java in Indonesia and is fermented with the mold
Rhizopus oligosporus. Fermentation of tempeh can involve a period of several days or longer, and fermentation is
usually carried out at temperatures of 85-90°F/29-32°C. Tempeh is usually purchased in a cake-like form and can be
sliced in a way that is similar to tofu. However, tempeh has a less watery texture than tofu, and in comparison to non-
fermented tofu, a more distinct flavor as well. Steaming, baking, and frying are all popular ways of preparing tempeh
in many countries. Tempeh is also commonly incorporated into stews, soups, and grilled kebabs.
To understand more about tempeh’s health benefits, it can be helpful to think not only about the fermentation of soybeans into tempeh but about the fermentation of foods in general.

How to Use Tempeh

Because it is a low-fat and high-protein food, many vegetarians choose to include tempeh in their diet on a regular basis. Try adding some to a stir fry instead of tofu, or crumble into soups or meatless chili for added bulk and protein.  Because of the tempeh cakes firm texture, the tempeh should be sliced into small dices, cubes, or slices as the recipe calls for.  Find tempeh in the refrigerated section of most health food stores and in the natural foods aisle of well-stocked grocery stores.  However, for the best and cheapest tempeh, one should make a fresh home-made tempeh product.

With a fresh tempeh cake, the finished product is cut and prepared for the entrée desired.  Cutting it into ¼” strips and marinating is great for sandwiches, tempeh bacon, or the feel of cut steak.  Dicing and marinating work well for stews, soups, and stir-fry dishes and recipes. Just like tofu, tempeh cakes will take on the flavor of the marinade.  The trick is two panfry or grill the prepared tempeh (tempeh should never be eaten raw) then wait until the last to add the tempeh to the entrée or recipe.  If added too soon, the flavor of the marinade will become lost to the dish.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas for Tempeh

  • For a twist on the traditional reuben sandwich, place broiled tempeh on a slice of whole grain bread, layer with sauerkraut, top with cheese or non-dairy “cheese” and then broil in oven for a few minutes until the sandwich is hot and toasty. Top with Russian dressing made by combining ketchup and mayonnaise, and enjoy.
  • A vegetarian option to spaghetti and meat sauce is spaghetti and tempeh sauce. Just substitute tempeh for ground beef in your favorite recipe.
  • Add extra flavor, texture, and nutrition to chili by adding some tempeh
  • Check out our site for some of the best recipes including…Tempeh Reuben sandwich w/ raw sauerkraut

Making Tempeh From Spores

tempeh in banana leafMaking tempeh is not a hard process for those with some cooking skills or background. The basics are boiling and de-hauling the soybeans, letting this cooldown, and inoculate the cooked soybeans with the tempeh spores. The finished result is a firm white cake ready to slice and cook.
The detailed instructions are at our main website http://www.organic-cultures.com/tempeh instructions

Tempeh soy cakes are a traditional Indonesian food made by fermenting soybeans with a starter culture.  Traditional tempeh is a soybean cake that has a rich smoky flavor and aroma, with a firm nutty texture.  Tempeh or TPS is one of the Indonesian traditional foods full of protein made by fermenting soybeans with the Rhizopus mold spores.  It is high in nutritional value, providing nutrients such as protein, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.  It is also low in Cholesterol and Sodium. If you live in Indonesia, you can buy tempeh starter easily.  In the USA, buying the starter spores can be a bit difficult; however, to make tempeh is not too hard.  A meatless choice is great for vegans or those looking for a healthy probiotic alternative for an animal-based diet.  Cooks up like ‘bacon or steak’ when sliced thin and fried.  It is recommended not to eat tempeh products raw. Soy should only be consumed after fermentation and not raw.  The ragi tempeh spores will break down the soy into an easy to consume food.

Want to know more about tempeh – PTS? Checkout our Main Site.
Need tempeh starter spores – Visit our store

Happy Culturing!  Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods