Maybe its saved…
Okay - I believe I have hit a good mix on what to do. I will have pictures soon.
I like the large LD Carlson cheese cloth roll. The threads are good and strong. I use them in steaming and now I will use them in making koji.
I used a large aluminum rectangular tray (large cookie sheet size?) The come in a two-pack about 2/3 inch deep. Using one of those 2x1 foot rolled 40watt plastic heater panels, put curvy side down and place the tray ontop. The tray width is about the same width, slightly over it actually. Tap down the heating sheet underneath the tray. The heater sheet will be slightly longer that the tray.
Next, unroll the entire cheese cloth on top of the tray, center it up. Place inoculated rice on-top the cloth, inside the tray. A little overflow is okay because it will fold over the cloth on an even spread bed of rice. If facing the tray on a table, the longer edges go left and right. Top flap over the rice, same for the bottom flap. They overlap on-top the rice. Then do the same left and right. The rice ends up in a nice little bundle on top the tray, in the cheese cloth. unwrap the left/right sides a bit, press down the temp controller probe halfway into the rice and push the rice around the crevice. bring the two flaps back over. Place on table, attach temp controller and then find a spare full size blanket/comforter.
When time comes to move the rice around, take of blanket, fold back cheese cloth like a present, and stir away. Pull edges back and fold up again - replace probe and cover.
Once the koji starts producing heat on its own, I put a large gel freezer pack once blanket layer above the koji and re-fold the rest on-top. The layer of blanket shields from extreme cold. Cooling flows down from the top, warmth up from above and I’m sitting at 95 solid now through the exothermic stages.
I just wish I started out this way. I have a rice that dried out that won’t grow - but its really taking off now.
Koji gets plenty of air, moisture getting trapped and re-distributed by the cloth and the air is kept at the same temp as the rice (near the rice/water barriers anyway)
Smells of cheese and chestnuts!