Where Can I Find Organic Tempeh Starter Culture?

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Organic Tempeh Starter

The most difficult part of making tempeh is sourcing organic tempeh starter cultures. Tempeh is a derivative of the fungus Rhizopus Oligosporus. The spores from this fungus act as a starter and are required. As tempeh is gaining international attention, simply getting the Rhizopus to start could be a barrier. This issue has gotten more difficult due to the pandemic shipping.

Although the starter could be created from scratch, with adequate conditions and proper hibiscus plants, it isn’t a beginner’s project, especially so if you don’t understand what you want to achieve. To ensure safety, purity, and obtaining the best strains, it’s always recommended to use professionally produced starters that are produced in sterile conditions. These starters are free of any tag-along microbes which can cause sickness.

But, once you’ve got an excellent starter, if you take care of it, it is able to be propagated and continued to grow–like yogurt, for a few batches. At that point, it weakens and becomes reduced. Fresh starters are preferred for each batch, but it isn’t always practical.

The concept behind this list was that it’s a live document where the sources of tempeh starter producers, also known as importers, are listed as they are made available to us. This way, we want to ensure that high-quality tempeh spores will be available anywhere in the world. Similar to when something is crowdsourced, the idea took off. Details about small handmade tempeh makers from all over the globe are being gathered. 

The list has expanded to one that connects makers across the globe -commercial producers with who you can purchase tempeh and home-based makers you can connect to discuss recipe ideas, recipes, and local sources for the materials needed to start or build your own substrate.

What Is The Best Place To Find The Organic Tempeh Starter?

This recipe requires the tempeh to be in a culture that is active. The idea is to take the tradition and allow it to spore to allow you to use the culture in subsequent batches of tempeh. If you’re the first time making tempeh, the best choice is to purchase a starter kit online.

Here are some ways to find out if tempeh purchased from a store is still alive:

  1. Most tempeh is steamed in order to keep it from spreading. If it is stored in the refrigerated section or bulk-packaged, then it is steamed to eliminate the mold.
  2. If you’re able to find an established producer in your area, you can ask whether they’ll offer you fresh, uncooked tempeh.
  3. It is possible that frozen tempeh is alive, too. It’s worth checking.

How Much Homemade Starter Should You Use?

The organic tempeh starter you make at home is just as effective as the store-bought variety. You should use one teaspoon to 1 kilogram of beans. If it takes longer to grow than you’re used to and you are not sure, feel free to increase the amount to 2 or 3 teaspoons per one pound of beans.