🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur.
Microplaning bubble hash is a way to break apart fresh, wet bubble hash for drying after Ice Water Extraction. Hash that’s just pulled from bubble wash bags is soaking wet, and in order to air dry properly, it needs to be prepared accordingly. Wet hash sticks together in globulous patties. Even if it’s spread into a thin, uniform layer to air dry, it will still trap moisture within. Moisture locked inside can’t evaporate by itself in the open air, and this invites mold growth before the hash gets a chance to fully dry.
So how does a microplane, a common kitchen tool, help us with drying bubble hash?
Wet hash is difficult to work with, almost like pancake batter. But freezing it gives extractors a better form to handle. Once it’s frozen, it’s much easier to break apart into tiny pieces. Wet hash that’s broken down into minuscule chunks helps minimize the amount of moisture trapped by the hash. This makes mold growth less likely.
Microplanes allow extractors to break frozen, wet chunks of hash into tiny, sand-like grains. Scattering these grains in a thin layer, with a desiccant underneath, aids in evaporation and enables moisture to dissipate before mold growth can occur. The closer that the wet hash resembles coarse sand, the better.
But air drying isn’t the only way to dry bubble hash. Actually, freeze drying bubble hash is ideal, if you have the budget for these specialty (and quite pricey) pieces of equipment. Learn more in How Does a Freeze Dryer Work?
Let’s assume you’re going to air dry your freshly-made bubble hash. Want to give the microplaning approach a try? Here’s what you’ll need to get started.
List of Supplies
- Stainless steel microplane
- Wet bubble hash
- Parchment paper
- Thick piece of cardboard
- Paper towels or microfiber towels
- Sheet of 15 or 25-micron screen
- Nitrile rubber gloves
How To Microplane Wet Bubble Hash for Air Drying
1. Prep the Hash
Right after extraction, scoop the hash from the bubble wash bags with a cold stainless steel spoon and drop it onto a 15 or 25 micron screen. Screens with the 15 or 25 micron pore size are ideal for preventing trichomes from slipping through, while still allowing excess water to drip through.
Place several layers of paper towels or a microfiber towel underneath the screen. These absorbent materials act as desiccants, actively pulling moisture out of the freshly-extracted hash.
2. Freeze the hash and microplane
Put the hash and microplane in the freezer. Hash is much more stable and easier to handle when it’s cold, so keep your tools as cold as possible anytime they come in contact with the hash.
3. Set up the cardboard and parchment paper
Cut out a thick piece of cardboard to serve as a tray, with enough surface area to hold the hash spread out in a thin layer. A decades-long tradition is using pizza boxes, but any thick, dry cardboard will do. You can cut out multiple rectangular pieces of cardboard as needed. Then, cut sections of parchment paper to match the size of the cardboard. Cover the cardboard trays with the parchment, with the silicone side facing up.
4. Remove the hash from the freezer
Hash that comes right out of the bubble wash bags following extraction is completely saturated and unmanageable, but placing it in the freezer with a desiccant underneath allows the hash to reach a state where you can handle it and scrape it across the microplane. Leave the hash in the freezer just long enough to render it into a manageable form. The frigid temperatures help to harden up the hash and provide some structure to the loose mass of trichomes.
The amount of time the wet hash needs in the freezer depends on the level of saturation of the hash, the desiccant, and the specific cultivar you’re working with. Sometimes the hash is ready to microplane after just an hour or so, when the outside of the hash develops a somewhat crusty layer that hold it all together. Other times, the hash may require more time, until the whole mass is frozen (almost) solid. Ideally, it’s best to remove the bubble hash before it’s completely frozen all the way through.
5. Rub / scrape the hash across the surface of the microplane
Remove the microplane from the freezer. Once the bubble hash is a bit less saturated with water and in a solid enough form to manage, it’s time to work it across the microplane. Grab a chunk of the hash and scrape it across the microplane, in the direction against the tiny blades. Do this over the parchment paper and cardboard tray. Trichomes should come raining down through the microplane and onto the parchment paper.
Be careful not to move too rapidly, as this can create heat buildup which makes the hash harder to work with. Remember, keep everything as cold as possible. You can even work inside of a freezer by keeping the door open and reaching inside the freezer for this process. Continue scraping the hash across the microplane, with just enough force to grind the hash into tiny pieces. Continue until all the hash has been passed through the microplane.
6. Spread hash into a thin layer over the parchment paper
As the hash rains down through the microplane, move the microplane over the entire surface area of the parchment-lined cardboard so that a very thin layer of hash is created. A thick layer of hash defeats the purpose, as moisture will get trapped within. After all the hash has been microplaned, you can use the cold spoon to spread out the layer as thinly as possible.
Setting up the Drying Environment
Controlling the temperature and humidity of the hash-drying environment is key to ensuring your hard work will pay off. The idea is to create an environment where the moisture can sufficiently evaporate from the bubble hash in a slow and even way.
While air circulation plus getting fresh air into the drying room are important factors to consider, direct air blowing onto the hash is never a good option. Maintain movement of the air inside the drying space, but also prevent air from blowing directly onto the hash. The room should be clean and dust-free. Keep the lights off while the hash is drying.
For air drying bubble hash, the ideal environment is 35% relative humidity at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t want to dedicate an entire room for a drying environment, a wine cooler can be a good alternative. The same rules for controlling temperature and humidity apply.
Read more in How To Use a Wine Cooler To Dry Bubble Hash.
Microplaning wet bubble hash is a convenient and efficient way to prepare freshly-extracted bubble hash for air drying. With just a few basic supplies, you can easily break the bubble hash apart into tiny pieces that allow moisture to escape before mold growth has a chance to take hold. Coupled with a good desiccant and the proper drying environment, the hash should be ready to go in less than 2 weeks.
There's another way to break apart bubble hash, similar to the microplaning method. Read more in What Is the Difference Between Microplaning and Sieving for Air Drying Bubble Hash?
There's an argument that microplaning is actually more abrasive to trichome heads than sieving, since a microplane utilizes blades while a sieve does not. We've found the microplane is still incredibly effective and produces high quality hash.
What do you prefer, microplaning or sieving? Let us know in the comments!
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a microplane?
A microplane is a kitchen tool commonly used for grating and grinding, which is composed of hundreds of tiny blades spread across a flat surface.
What is the purpose of microplaning bubble hash?
The purpose of microplaning is to grind wet hash into tiny pieces so that the moisture can efficiently evaporate.
How long does it take wet bubble hash to air dry?
After microplaning, it can take up to 2 weeks for bubble hash to air dry.
Do you have to microplane bubble hash in order to air dry?
You can use a sieve instead of a microplane to break apart wet hash for air drying. Read more in What Is the Difference Between Microplaning and Sieving for Air Drying Bubble Hash?
Do you have to air dry bubble hash?
Air drying is the traditional way to dry hash, but you can also use a freeze dryer, which is actually the preferred method. The main downside to freeze dryers is the cost.