Reason to crack soybeans when making tempeh

I know quite a few people who continually talk about how you don’t need to do exactly what recipes say in order to get what the end result is.  I figured with tempeh I would create a real-world scenario where I did not crack or grind the soybeans before hand.

For a test, I used half a cup of soy beans soaked for 24 hours and steamed in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes.  Initially while looking at them you’d think that the skins would just fall off and or be loose enough where it wouldn’t matter. This is not true.  Here is an example picture of a 24 hour fermentation:


Notice the mycelium grew without any problems.  The real issue is that once you break this out of the Petri dish, you notice the soybeans were not readily penetrated by the mycelium.  Example:


In this picture you can see the structure was not able to be built by the mycelium. The reason is the mycelium cannot push the soybeans skin out of the way. There are some soybeans in this Patty that are without skin, and that is what is creating the body that does exist in this picture.


This is the patty broken in half.

My theory is also that the soybeans act as a brick style interface. Mycelium acts as a mortar, and the t work together.  Later I will do tests to see how the mycelium and soybeans react together when I grind the soybeans to a smaller scale.  (4-8 pieces per bean)

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