The Hot Water Bath Method

The first method is the hot water bath. Straw is stuffed into a wire basket and submerged in a cauldron of 160-180° F. (71-82° C.) water for 1 hour*. The cauldron is usually heated from underneath by a portable propane gas burner. Tne straw basket is forcibly pushed down into the steaming water and held in place by whatever means necessary. A probe thermometer, at least 12 inches in length, is inserted deep into the brothing mass with string attached for convenient retrieval. The straw is submerged for at least one hour and no longer than two.

* Stainless steel 55 gallon drums from the food/ fermentation mtiustry are preferred. If staii iless steel drums are unavailable, only those designed for food storage/processing should be used.

Upon removing, the straw is well drained and laid ut in a shallow layer onto cleaned surfaces (such as a counter-top) to rapidly cool. Most cultivators broadcast grain spawn over the straw by hand. Gloves should be worn but often are not, and yet success is the norm. In either case , the hands are thoroughly and periodically washed, every 15 minutes, to limit cross-contamination. Hie spawn and straw are then nixed thoroughly together and placed directly into bags, trays, columns, wire racks, or similarly suitable containers.

Another basket of chopped straw can be immersed into the still-hot water from the previous batch. However, after two soakings, the hot water must be discarded. The discolored water, often referred to as "straw tes", becomes toxic to the mushroom mycelium after the third soaking, retarding or preventing further mycelial growth. Interestingly, this tea is toxic to most vegetation, and could be used

Figure 145. Straw is stuffed into a wire basket and then placed into the hot water

Figure 145. Straw is stuffed into a wire basket and then placed into the hot water

Figure 146. A brick keeps the straw submerged dur ing pasteurization.

Draining Excess Water From Straw

Figure 147. After 1-2 hours of submerged pasteurization, the basket is lifted out. After draining excess water, the straw cools. Grain or sawdust spawn is broadcasted over the surface an/ n.ixed throughout the straw

Figure 146. A brick keeps the straw submerged dur ing pasteurization.

as a natural Jjteitici le.

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