The paste bar had dried to a hard brick. Here are the solutions I tried:
- Mortar and pestle: Did not even dent the brick. Noisy and completely ineffective
- Soak in oil: marginal breakdown on the edges. I tried soaking overnight. ineffective
- Hammer: did not dent it
- Microplane grater: too hard, did not even dent it
- Small blender: ineffective. It just bounced around. I was afraid it would damage the blender
- Cut with a sharp 8″ chef’s knife: difficult and somewhat dangerous, but somewhat effective. I had to use a lot of force to hammer down on the knife. I was, eventually, able to cut the large block into 4 pieces.
- Two flat pieces of metal, squeezed together with a C-clamp: Put the block within a piece of plastic wrap, between two flat pieces of metal. Bent the metal.
- C-clamp: Put paste block within plastic wrap. It did squish down but not enough for me to make it crumble. At least it moved
- 1 ton arbor press: This was effective. Put the block within a piece of plastic wrap. This crushed the paste block very easily into a thin layer that I was able to crumble.
2023 Oct 25: I sealed the achote bag, but it still solidified hard. I used the arbour press, and although it broke the plastic bag multiple times, I did break up the block into crumbles, which then melted into my stew. It is ridiculous that I have to use an industrial tool to prepare a meal.