Noerhakim, better known as Hakim, believes that tempeh can get “upset” if not treated right. Hakim said that if he failed to mix the yeast properly, the soybeans would feel upset and turn into tempeh that is easily spoiled.
If he does not pack the soybeans properly, the yeast would grow unevenly during the fermentation process and result in poor quality tempeh.
But most of the time, Hakim manages to get everything right and ends up with tasty tempeh. After all, he a fourth-generation tempehmaker.
His great-grandfather made tempeh in Madura, East Java, and Hakim’s grandfather continued the tradition when the family moved to Bali.
Hakim grew up watching his grandfather and father making tempeh and became involved in the family business in 1998. Now, Hakim manages his own tempeh business, which produces 100 kilograms of tempeh every day.
He still does most of the tempeh-making process, starting with peeling and splitting the soybeans with a milling machine.
Hakim then boils the soybeans and leaves them overnight to reduce their acidity levels. In the morning, the soybeans are boiled again before going through the fermentation process.
Hakim uses imported soybeans from the United States, noting its superior quality. In terms of price, the imported soybeans cost Rp 6,250 (43 US cents) per kilogram, slightly higher than the price of local soybeans at Rp 6,000 per kg.
According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Indonesia imported 2.58 million tons of soybeans in 2018, with a majority (2.52 million tons) coming from the US.
Indonesia’s tempeh and tofu industry, which needs around 2 million tons of soybeans annually, relies heavily on imported soybeans as the country can only produce 500,000 tons of soybeans per year. [yps]