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Collapsing Cakes


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#21 Tenderfoot

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 12:40 PM

As Juthro so kindly pointed out above, using quart jars is not ideal for BRF cakes.  Half pint is the norm.  Best of luck!


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#22 Billcoz

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 08:32 PM

As Juthro so kindly pointed out above, using quart jars is not ideal for BRF cakes.  Half pint is the norm.  Best of luck!

Yeah, I don't think that had anything to do with the cakes shrinking/collapsing, but that is correct. Pint jars will stall quite often.


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#23 FunG

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 02:29 AM

Did op see where I mentioned to use a towel between the jars and the bottom of the pot? If they're not sitting on a divider that comes with the PC that is....

#24 DustStorm

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 09:12 AM

Did op see where I mentioned to use a towel between the jars and the bottom of the pot? If they're not sitting on a divider that comes with the PC that is....

Some towels will disintegrate in a PC, and I've scorched some by lining pots with it to stop them from shattering the jars from the heat, but it does indeed work.

 

I'd rather just line the bottom with forks, spoons or butter knives to act as a divider for the bottoms of the jars nowadays, but towels or scrap cloth will work fine for multiple uses until they start to unthread and break apart.

 

As far as cakes collapsing/compressing in the jar from the heat... well, the jars lose moisture when they're being heated up, and usually it occurs when you keep the spawn mixture a bit too dry. It's not really bad to keep the spawn moisture a bit lower than normal, and it actually helps stop bacteria from flourishing too quickly.

 

My grain jars always dry down slightly and shrink to about 2/3 the size of the original filling, or sometimes even 1/2 of it's original volume after I pc'ed them, and they still take spores, LC and agar transfers nicely.

 

The best type of jars for making PF-style cakes are half-pint, pint, and pint-and-a-half jars. The wide-mouth versions only. They have smooth shouldered mouths, allowing you to just tap or wiggle the cake out.

 

OP might as well just use the quart jars to spawn to bulk, but that's if the spawn doesn't contam during consolidation of the jars.


Edited by DustStorm, 17 October 2019 - 09:13 AM.


#25 Billcoz

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 12:15 PM

 

 

 

I have a divider for my PC, but back when I was using a pot & lid I had this pizza oven rack disk thing, that fit just perfectly inside the pot I have. It's like a metal ring with a wire mesh center to keep pizza hot or cook it or something.

 

I'd just ball up a few big pieces of tinfoil to about 1 1/2" thick, put em in the bottom of the pot and put the wire disk thing on em, so the jars sat stable on top with plenty of room for enough water so I didn't have to worry about water boiling dry and open it to check the level.

 

My little bro stole the wire rack from Hungry Howies(where he worked) for me. I saw it one day when I was there & the thought popped in my head that I could use it for this very purpose lol.

 

I was obsessed with mycology when I was starting, so I looked at everything as potential myco equipment. Plus I am an extreme low-budgetter, or just a cheap ass.


Edited by Billcoz, 19 October 2019 - 12:17 PM.

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#26 DustStorm

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 03:10 PM

I have a divider for my PC, but back when I was using a pot & lid I had this pizza oven rack disk thing, that fit just perfectly inside the pot I have. It's like a metal ring with a wire mesh center to keep pizza hot or cook it or something.

 

 

 

I'd just ball up a few big pieces of tinfoil to about 1 1/2" thick, put em in the bottom of the pot and put the wire disk thing on em, so the jars sat stable on top with plenty of room for enough water so I didn't have to worry about water boiling dry and open it to check the level.

 

My little bro stole the wire rack from Hungry Howies(where he worked) for me. I saw it one day when I was there & the thought popped in my head that I could use it for this very purpose lol.

 

I was obsessed with mycology when I was starting, so I looked at everything as potential myco equipment. Plus I am an extreme low-budgetter, or just a cheap ass.

 

Same, I'm a cheapskate, but I blame video games that taught me about barterism. I want as much value out of my time or resources as possible, even though in reality I know I'd be way more chill about settling with what I have. It really helps to have an open mind about how we can approach this hobby, and what could make the best value-per-action ratio possible.

 

I used a stainless steel wire rack that was used to cool pastries down, or as a paper towel stand, or w/e it was used for by my granny...

But it's the same circumference as the presto 23qt pc rack plate, and it has three legs that allows me to put 10 quarts + 1 pint jars inside perfectly snug.

Before that, I just stuck steel utensils or metal jar rings on the bottom to keep the glass jars off of the bottom or sides of the pc, and used cloth to line them so that the jars could have some cushion of some sort. We just improve our skills as we go along.


Edited by DustStorm, 19 October 2019 - 03:12 PM.


#27 Maddmyco

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 07:51 AM

Thank you everyone for the valuable insight provide. I'm very excited about this new hobby and perhaps a bit impatient. Since I joined this sight I've inoculated 16 quart jars applying what I've learned from the pros (you guys). Using 4 different strands, Burma, Golden Teacher, B+, and PE, I'm seeing my first mycelium growth. The jar size and cake shrinkage have been a learning process.

Also, as the fall season moves in, keeping my jar temps up has been a small challenge. I'm using 2 aquarium heating mats with digital readout inside of a large storage tote in front of a window. In efforts to evenly heat such large jars I've laid most on their sides on the mats. I'm trying to get my jars close to a consistent 80 degrees usually coming in at about 76-78. Growth is very very slow or I can't see what's taking place inside the cakes to know how it's going. It's a test of patience that's for sure.

One question about fill:
When I'm hydrating my mix and grab a handfull to check progress, I'll squeeze and visible moisture comes up between my fingers, but does not drip or stream out. Is this good? Is underhydration why I'm seein so much shrink after PC? Do I need more water? If I need more water can I add it at this point through my injection ports?

As always, thank you ladies and gentlemen for your input.
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#28 peacefrog

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 05:53 PM

Not from my experience. When I make cake material, I always use LI to inoculate via the old blender tek from a known clean agar wedge.

I hold back the water to where once squeezing, I hear a squishing sound, the substrate holds its shape, but no water comes out. This is because I like to inoculate cake material very heavy with LI. I have never seen this shrinking issue on a scale I understand from your post. I still think it’s a packing issue.

I always lightly pack mine down using a couple of gentle taps on the table.
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#29 Billcoz

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 04:09 AM

Not from my experience. When I make cake material, I always use LI to inoculate via the old blender tek from a known clean agar wedge.

I hold back the water to where once squeezing, I hear a squishing sound, the substrate holds its shape, but no water comes out. This is because I like to inoculate cake material very heavy with LI. I have never seen this shrinking issue on a scale I understand from your post. I still think it’s a packing issue.

I always lightly pack mine down using a couple of gentle taps on the table.

My cakes that I had this happen to were definitely not packed too tight, I take great care to make it fluffy. I'm sure the issue was that it got pressurized in the jars with post office tyvec for the filter and cooked too much. They were fluffy before PCing but shrunk down after.


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#30 peacefrog

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 02:10 AM

They might shrink a bit, but I have never seen shrinking to the extent from what I understand from this thread. Perhaps I am reading it wrong lol.

I have ran countless jars/containers of cake material and have never seen significant shrinking of the substrate.

Perhaps the filters you use did allow some over pressurization? I inoculate cake material in a SAB using sterile technique and open my unmodified lids up while inoculating. I have used holes covered with 2 layers of micropore tape in pp5 containers many times and still never saw shrinking of that magnitude. But again, I may be reading the OP wrong.
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#31 crazy1

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 05:27 AM

Like peacefrog, I have never had any major collapse in any cake or sub material in a PC.

 

 

The only thing I can think of, is somehow, the moisture was boiled out causing the shrinkage as the cake dried out.

It's the only thing that makes sense. 

 

I really hope things go well for you, and you've chosen a TEK to follow to the letter. 

 

 

 

Peace and good vibes


Edited by crazy1, 25 October 2019 - 05:28 AM.

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#32 Maddmyco

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 06:03 PM

In conclusion I have determined my cakes collapsed due to inadequate hydration. Additionally, I feel that the shrinking increased the density of the cakes too. I say that because colonization has been very slow.

I have also lost one jar to the very fluffy white mold, and I'm afraid I may have a bit of the green mold starting to manifest in another jar. I'll keep a close watch.

Many of my jars never grew at all. Those jars went out the the back yard with a decomposing roll of hay. I spread the cakes out after hydrating them and covered them with hay. I'll let nature take it from here and see if anything happens in the spring.

Mush love

#33 Jinroh

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:01 PM

I had that problem with my second set of BRF cakes. I am pretty sure I left the sub too loose and they did collapse some. They still worked though. I just posted a new topic for my APE projects and those were made from the collapsed BRF sub. I also did use pint jars. My first ever set of BRF jars did much better, but I had them compressed more. They did not collapse but took longer to colonize, and parts of them did not colonize at all. I figured I over-compressed them so I went much lighter on the next set. I guess it is just my lack of experience and learning how to get things just right. I only use BRF for my hydroponic grows anyway because that is about the only way to grow hydroponically.

 

I am sure I will eventually get it right.






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