Mmmm, delicious tempeh. It might not be as versatile as that other, more popular soybean product, tofu, but it certainly has a way more interesting taste and texture. It’s also more expensive, which is where the TempehSure comes in. It’s a countertop incubating oven that ingests soybeans and mold, and spits out delicious, tangy, sour tempeh.
Tempeh is easy to make, in principle. You combine beans with spores of Rhizopus fungus, put it in a warm spot, and sit back for a couple of days to let the fungus bloom and grow. This recipe from the Kitchn recommends using nothing more specialized than a Ziploc bag with some ventilation holes punched in.
But in the same way that some folks prefer to use a bread machine instead of getting a quick 10 minutes of therapeutic exercise by kneading their own dough, some might prefer DuPuis’s machine to a baggie. It certainly looks cool, kind of how you might imagine a home DNA-splicing machine to look in the future.
The advantage is consistency and ease of use. The manufacturer promises perfect climate control, as well as an option for pasteurization once the process is done. And to prove that the makers of TempehSure know their target demographic, they offer the TempehSure’s sister product, the Bean Spa, a name that should attract DIY eco-hippies galore.
The bean spa is the place to cook, sprout, and then tumble-dry your beans, ready for tempeh-ization, but could also be used just for bean prep. And speaking of beans, you aren’t limited to soybeans. Anything goes, including chickpeas and lentils.
The first TempehSures will be pro units designed for restaurant use, with a 3-pound yield per cycle, to be followed by a smaller 1.5-pound unit. Neither will be available until the end of the year. In the meantime, I’m going to have a crack at that homemade tempeh recipe. After all, who needs animal proteins?