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Grain for Simple Minds

( updated: April 17, 2014, at 08:16 PM )
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These instructions will guide you through the process of preparing grain either to be used as spawn to inoculate bulk substrates or as mushroom substrate that can be directly cased.

There are 2 ways of preparing the grain, either by measuring grain and water, combining them in a jar and pressure cooking it, or first simmering the grain in order to achieve the proper water content, and then pressure cooking it. Both methods work similarly well. Try both, and see what works for you.

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Basic rye recipe for 1 pint jar

  • 100g (=3.5 oz~125 ml~0.53 cup) rye
  • 105g (= 3.55 oz =105 ml~0.44 cup) water
  • knife tip full of gypsum (optional)

For a quart jar, double the amounts.

Basic millet or birdseed recipe for 1 pint jar

  • 100g (3.5 oz~140 ml~0.59cup) birdseed
  • 60-70g (60-70 ml) water
  • knife tip full of gypsum (optional)

Note: 1/4 qt(quart) = ½pt(pint) = 1cp(cup) = 236ml(milliliter) = 236cc(cubic centimeter)
The cups, pints and quarts are in the US liquid measuring system.

The recipes above a basic guidelines. Other grains can be used as well, for instance wheat, barley, whole oats, tricale.... The exact measurements depend on the grain used, jar size and your pressure cooker.
You might find out, that a little less or more water gives you better results, thus experiment and vary the amounts a little after you have used the basic recipe, to find the optimum for your situation.
Keep notes on the amounts!






Fill both the measured amount of grain and the water into the jar, screw the lid fitted with a polyfill filter tight and pressure cook for 1 hour at 15 psi. If you don't know how to use a pressure cooker, check out this document about the correct pressure cooker use. The water absorption ability can vary depending on the grain quality and the type and the size of the pressure cooker. It's best to make a batch of test jars when one acquires a new grain for instance 100g rye and 100, 105, 110, 115 and 120g water. Then you'll see which water content provides the best result.

After the pressure has settled and the jars have cooled down a bit (~1 hour), take the still very hot jars out of the cooker using a towel and shake them well to mix the wetter and drier kernels.

If you turn the jar upside down, you can see the drier kernels separate from the wet kernels at the bottom.

After shaking the grains should appear wet, after a few days after inoculation they will loose this look and look more drier. Put the jars back in to the pressure cooker and let sit until completely cool. It has to be pointed out that the grain on this picture was meant to be directly cased after colonization, thus it is a bit on the wet side.

The grain used for spawn should look a bit drier, but still moist, and have less exploded kernels. The rye on this picture has been pressure cooked 48 hours ago with a rye/water ratio of 100g/100g.

Preparing grain by simmering

Alternatively you can prepare the grain by simmering in order to give it the correct water content. The procedure step by step:

  1. Weigh out the amount of grain needed (~100g per pint jar).
  2. Bring double the weight of water to a boil and put the grain in it. Start timing.
  3. Reduce the heat so the water is barely moving. Stir the grain occasionally with a fork.
  4. After ~30 minutes (for millet or birdseed) or after ~40 minutes (for rye) pour the now swollen grain through a strainer and let is drain for ~20 minutes. The exact simmer times depend on your grain, the size of the pot and other factors. For the start, follow the above times as closely as possible and then, if you see that the water content is not perfect, vary the times a bit.
  5. Fill the of grain in the jars, screw the lid fitted with a polyfill filter tight and pressure cook for 1 hour at 15 psi. If you don't know how to use a pressure cooker, check out this document about the correct pressure cooker use.
  6. After the pressure has settled, take the still very hot jars from the cooker (using a towel to protect your hands) and shake them well to mix the wetter and drier kernels.

Preparing rye grain by simmering - TEST RESULTS
(originally posted at the Shroomery)

I decided to test a rye grain for the water absorbing ability.

I weighed out 3 time 100 gram rye grain.

1. 100 g rye were dried in the oven at 140°C for 90 minutes
2. 100 g rye were simmered in 500 ml of water for 30 minutes (rye grain put in boiling water)
3. 100 g rye were simmered in 500 ml of water for 40 minutes (rye grain put in boiling water)

1. The 100 g rye grain in the oven dried to 88 g -> 12% moisture content.
2. After 20 minutes of draining the grain weighted 190 g, nearly no exploded kernels ->(12g+90g)/190g = 54% moisture content
3. After 20 minutes of draining the grain weighted 200 g, more exploded kernels, I'd say at the limit ->(12g+100g)/200g = 56% moisture content

Preparing grain by simmering it is a viable option. It shows that the amounts usually used when one mixes grain and water directly (100g grain and 100g-110g water) are similar(a little higher) as if one simmers the grain for around 40 minutes.

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Page last modified on April 17, 2014, at 08:58 PM