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 Post subject: tempeh incubator
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:58 am 
Tofu Pup
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I really want to be able to buy something that will work as a tempeh incubator. I considered making my own but I'm worried that the mould thing will already be gross enough without also making it in an old fridge containing a light. Is there anything suitable (& small) I could buy? I thought about a yogurt incubator but I think the temperature will be too high. Any ideas??
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 Post subject: Re: tempeh incubator
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:02 am 
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Did you check out the ideas in this thread?

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 Post subject: Re: tempeh incubator
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:10 am 
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yes I've read that in detail! I was quite surprised by how low-tech the approaches in that thread weres compared to some of the methods on the net. I imagine that with a box with a hot water bottle etc the temperature control will be fairly poor. Can you get away with this with tempeh? How many batches will fail with this sort of low tech method? Or is tempeh pretty resilient?
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 Post subject: Re: tempeh incubator
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:58 pm 
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You can PM Gunk who created that tutorial. I think that in that thread, it's a cooler with a small heater used so they are pretty lo-tech.

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 Post subject: Re: tempeh incubator
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:06 pm 
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Hey becca. There are lots of more hi-tech ideas on the net that I think sound really awesome, but unfortunately don't have the tools, skills, or budget to recreate at home, so I haven't checked them out personally. From all accounts that I've read, though, some kind of small, insulated container with a light in it and a thermostat attached is a really great method. In terms of the mould factor being gross or whatever - keep your incubator clean! Also, because of the apple cider vinegar added to the tempeh, other moulds have a hard time growing because the environment is too acidic for them. Finally, it's important to get decent air circulation, which should also help with that issue.

The waterbottle method is probably not the most stable temperature control method, you're right. It would take a fair amount of reheating the water, and checking on the tempeh, which is more active than most people have time to be for a whole 24 hour period. My standard method of using a heater and a cooler box of some kind has worked really well for me, and out of probably 20 batches only one has failed (which was because I deviated from my usual method). Tempeh does need a pretty stable temperature, and using a themometer is obviously really important for achieving this. It can, however, take some fluctuation - between 28 and 32 degrees celsius is ok, which gives you a 4 degree margin (30 degrees is optimal).

As far as things you can buy, I feel like I've heard of people using fish tanks and aquariums, again with some kind of thermostat and heating element, or perhaps just a lightbulb. I know I've even found places online that sell specialised tempeh incubators, but I imagine they'd be quite expensive. I think your fridge idea sounds fine, too - like I said, just keep it clean. Making homemade tempeh does require some ok-ness with tempeh mould. I'm generally extremely grossed-out by mould and bad food, I think most people are, but for me, the mould on tempeh smells and looks completely different, and I don't have anything like the same reaction to it.

I hope this helps! Happy fermenting.

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 Post subject: Re: tempeh incubator
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:21 am 
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I've always used a styrofoam cooler with a lightbulb on a dimmer switch with a thermometer. poke some large holes for air circulation, make a shelf to put the tempeh on and away you go. check the temp a few times a day and adjust as needed. it doesn't take long to find the approximately right position for the dimmer switch.

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 Post subject: Re: tempeh incubator
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:16 am 
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for making yogurt and natto, i have used the things that are sold as "baby wipe warmers"- they are a small electric blanket type thing and keep the stuff at almost exactly the perfect temperature. putting that at the bottom of a cooler or aquarium seems optimal.

the yogurt maker i had was a small pot-type thing that i don't think would give you the surface area you need for tempeh.

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 Post subject: Re: tempeh incubator
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:32 pm 
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Have you tried an electric oven? Make sure you buy the one which can maintain suitable temperature for tempeh. Depending the size and of course the brand, the price range between $30 to $300. I bought mine for $90, it's about the size of my microwave oven. It works well to make tempeh and of course you can use it to bake any cakes.


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 Post subject: Re: tempeh incubator
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:53 pm 
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I hadn't thought of that. Can you buy ovens that cook at such a low temperature? What make is yours? Thanks


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