Fermenting Beans - DIY Tempeh




About: Hi! I am Klinong, that is how my loving family calls me, except my brother, he calls me Krinyol, as I have silly curly hair :) I love Instructables for forever now, especially for the contests ha-ha!, but ...

Growing up in Indonesia, I consumed tempeh almost daily. Needless to say it is almost like a staple food for the Indonesians.

Moving to Canada, only on my 3rd year that I found tempeh, sold seasoned and frozen and IMHO, soggy defrosted tempeh is not so appetizing no matter how good the flavor it has, but a man gotta eat right? Ha-ha

On my 8th year in Canada, I was gifted a bag of tempeh yeast, super excited to try....and disappointed. I studied online a lot before making tempeh and it did not work....twice I must say, so I gave up and returned to frozen seasoned tempeh.

Recently I was given a bag of yeast, same brand, from different friend though and thought to myself that it is just embarrassing that I cannot make tempeh when all these available frozen tempeh are not even made by Indonesian, and tempeh is originally from Indonesia!

So I tried with fingers crossed, legs crossed, hair crossed, along with everything else!, and succeeded, four times so far I should add. The conclusion? I think my previous trials years ago was due to bad yeast (maybe expired hahaha)? most likely!

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Step 1: Materials

I made these tempeh, four days in a row, various beans! The first day was a huge success that I dared to give it a go with other type of beans. As you may aware, tempeh majorly use soy beans. However during my learning online, I saw there are various tempeh with various beans, so I tried with what I have in the cupboard.

First day was: 1 kg split mung beans

Second day was: 1 kg white beans

Third day was: 1 kg red beans

Fourth day was: 1 kg green split peas

For every 1 kg beans, you will need about 2 grams of yeast

If your beans are still with their skins, soak them in cold water for 12 H or overnight, adding more water if needed throughout the time.

Step 2: Peeling the Skins

Once your beans are soaked for 12 H, drain and rinse them. Squeeze beans between fingers, the skins would peel easily. Separate skins from beans and rinse again

For beans without skin such as the green split peas and mung beans, go ahead proceed to the next step

Step 3: Boiling the Beans

For beans without skin, I did not soak them for 12 H, but only for 6 H, enough for them to expand in size.

Drain and rinse and place them into a pot

Fill the pot with enough water and bring to boil

Once boiling, lower heat to medium and let simmer for 30 minutes (per tutorials online almost every where! However, for my mung beans, I only boiled them for 20 minutes and for the green split peas as well).

You will see that they will produce foam, it's natural and no need to skim them off, but stir the pot once awhile.

For beans that were with skin, I do boil them for 25-30 minutes (white beans and red beans)

Step 4: Packing the Beans

Once your beans are boiled, drain and place them on a long sheet and air dry them (I use electric fan btw!)

Then sprinkle the yeast, stir beans so yeast would cover all beans and pack them into ziplock bags

Punch holes all over so yeast can breath

Line your baking pan with clean towel (I use my instructables aprons haha), place packed beans and wrap it with the towel

Once wrapped, place baking pan in oven with light on and ferment beans for at least 22 H

(NOTE: my green split peas took 36 H, longer than the rest of the beans though)

Step 5: Your Tempeh Is Ready!

After 22 H, when it's a success, you will have beans cake, firm with white spores all over.

On the picture, for my green split peas, photo was taken before tempeh was fully fermented (36 H); it was still fermenting, I was just impatient to take a snap :)

Tempeh is ready to be seasoned and used for frying, burger, etc.


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    10 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I would love to try this! What temperature do you need the oven to be? Our oven does not have a "light on" function.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    The oven is not turned on at all

    What you need is a dark warm room and I don't have that kind of area in the house so I place them inside the oven *grins* Oven is basically dark right, but I need it to be warm and turning on the light helps. So if you dont have light inside your oven, try storing them in a dark warm area of the house


    3 years ago

    Hi! Thanks for the tutorial. It never crossed my mind to make my own Tempeh when I was living abroad. Is there a special yeast that has to be used?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    unfortunately, yes, we do need tempe yeast (or starter)

    there are online stores selling the starter :)


    3 years ago

    They form a cake? Even though you didn't press, mash or shape them? Can you save starter for the next batch? Can you flavor it?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Yes they form a cake thanks to the yeast.

    I read that you can make the yeast yourself once you are succeeded in making tempe by collecting the fungus, but I havent try that myself. I dont even know if the starter available in the US/Canada is the same as the yeast available in Indonesia. I would assume they are similar (starter is available online, please Google it if you'd like to purchase some).

    Yes, you can flavor them! In Indonesia they are plain, but flavored just before cooking (frying, adding to stew etc), however, the ones available frozen in Canada most of the times are already flavored by the manufacturer(s), but some plain ones are also available, in tofu/vegetarian sections.

    I usually only use water solution that has salt, garlic and turmeric in it, for my fried tempe :)


    3 years ago

    never heard of temper but love the sound of this. I've never found an acceptable soya/tofu for me because I'm too anal about food manufacturing for my own good, but trying this and soon!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Tempe(h) is mainly known among vegans/vegetarians ^_^


    3 years ago

    Congratulations on your success with beans other than soy! Other suggestions are to keep everything sterile, and the tempeh starter is actually a fungus (found naturally in straw, though better to use a commercial culture). The black on your last picture looks like a part of the tempeh is sporulating. This is inspirational as I've meant to make tempeh for a long time.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Ah no, it was not sporulating! The picture was taken at around 15 H fermenting, it wasnt fully fermenting yet. Should have taken pics once it was totally done ^_^