Fermentation

According to traditional Indonesian manufacturing practices, the inoculated beans are then shaped into cakes and wrapped in banana leaves.The use of banana leaves as the packing chamber is not merely for natural aesthetics; they provide a moist, microaerophilic environment that supports rapid growth of R. oligo-sporus. However, for large-scale manufacture of tempeh (and as conducted in the United States), the inoculated beans are distributed on trays 1 cm to 3 cm deep and ranging in length and width from 1 meter to several meters.After one to two days of incubation in a warm room (ranging from 25 °C to 37°C), the beans are covered with white mycelium, and the fermentation is considered complete.The mycelia also will have grown in between the individual beans such that solid soy bean cakes will have formed. Detailed analyses have revealed that the fungal hyphae actually penetrate nearly 1 mm into the bean, or about 25% of the diameter of the cotyledon. It is important that the fermentation ends, however, before the mold begins to sporulate, since the appearance of the dark-colored black or grey sporangia is generally unattractive to consumers (see below).

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