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Charcuterie: Dry-Cured Salami / Salumi

Charcuterie

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#31 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 10:20 PM

So I've been making charcuterie of various and sundry types for the better part of a year now, and with my first dry-cured items coming done of late (flat pancetta done, tolled should be ready this week, next week for some bresaola) I had decided that dry-cured sausages would be my next project. I had intended to do the Peperone from the Ruhlman book in hog casings then the Tuscan Salami in beef middles but today I found some pork shoulder for a great price (for summertime, anyway--$1/lb) so the schedule has been accelerated and changed somewhat. I have the Cure #2 already, but I lack the starter culture for fermenting sausages, though I ordered it tonight from Butcher-Packer. My question is this: If I go ahead and grind, season, mix, and bind the meat for the salame, will it keep in the refrigerator ok until I get the starter in? I could then add it, stuff, and incubate before hanging to dry.

It seems like this would be an acceptable if not ideal workaround for the issue, but I'm apprehensive since stuff sometimes takes a while to get here from Butcher-Packer. Any reason this won't work?

Also, and maybe this stuff is better in the Charcuterie thread, but the instructions for starter culture typically give a minimum amount to be used. That same amount prescribed for 5 lbs should also be sufficient for 10 lbs, too, right? (I typically double receipes for 5 lb batches). I'm slightly unclear on how the starter functions--can one stuff the salami immidiately after inoculating them? Or does the entire batch need some time to gel together beforehand? Seems like you should be able to go right on ahead but I just wanted to double check.

I hope the combined wisdom and experience here can help guide me here. I'm very excited about this but given the (knock on wood) very limited losses thus far to spoilage I'm a bit apprehensive about doing this dry-cured thing the wrong way.

-Andy
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#32 zavodny

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:52 AM

Thank you to everyone for the guidance on the Tuscan Salami - turned out fantastic! Now I do have a lot of salami that has dried to where I want it - how do you all store it? I can't see it being around for more then 4-5 weeks... but for then do you just leave at room temp? Food saver it and put in fridge? Freezer? Thoughts?

#33 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 10:32 AM

thirtyoneknots, I would suggest holding off on doing anything until the culture arrives, you want to make sure it is well-incorporated into the meat mixture, and the best way to do that is to add it before you do the bind. In my opinion you should prep the pork for the grinding, even add the seasonings to it, and then freeze it. When you have the culture, let the pork thaw enough to grind, then add the culture and do the bind. As for the amount of culture, you are right, for any quantity less than about 50 lbs you are just going to want to use the minimum recommended amount.

zavadny, glad to hear the salami turned out well. I personally like to vacuum pack mine and keep it in the fridge. I actually find that a week or two vacuum packed improves the texture of the final product. I also find that it freezes with no trouble, but I think others have reported degradation: I don't know quite what's going on there.

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#34 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 10:41 AM

thirtyoneknots, I would suggest holding off on doing anything until the culture arrives, you want to make sure it is well-incorporated into the meat mixture, and the best way to do that is to add it before you do the bind. In my opinion you should prep the pork for the grinding, even add the seasonings to it, and then freeze it. When you have the culture, let the pork thaw enough to grind, then add the culture and do the bind. As for the amount of culture, you are right, for any quantity less than about 50 lbs you are just going to want to use the minimum recommended amount.


Hmm ok I may have to just do that. I'm grateful for the great price on the pork but the timing wasn't great. Unless the culture shows up by Thursday (not likely if past history is an indicator) then it looks like I'll have to wait til next week. Oh well. Thanks for the pointers!
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#35 Tom Gengo

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 10:36 PM

The starter culture serves 2 purposes: a) it flavors the meat b.) most importantly it lowers the pH of the meat to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria. For a very, pardon the pun, meaty discussion of the uses of starters, pH, aW (available water), etc. I would read The Art of Fermented Sausages by Marianski & Marianski. Although a great book, Polcyn & Ruhlman do not in my opinion give enough explaination of the chemistry and pathogenic organisms for dry cured sausages.
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#36 Chris Hennes

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 07:18 AM

I agree, Marianski and Marianski have an excellent section on the various starter cultures, in particular their research on the time vs. pH during the incubation and curing stages. My problem with M&M is that they recommend the use of incredibly tiny amounts of starter culture in these small batches, which I don't think is a good idea considering the widely varying nature of home freezers for storing the culture.

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#37 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 10:29 PM

That book is on my to-get list, but it may have to wait til Christmas. I think Ruhlman & Polcyn can keep me busy til then ;)
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#38 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:00 AM

Ok so the cultures are in, the other projects are out of the chamber (and are delicious), it's time to proceed with salami. I'm a little confused here though; the instructions with the package say use at least 1/4 of it though it is only 25g in the package. Elsewhere I have seen Mr. Hennes say he has had trouble using only 6g of starter. Ruhlman says use at least 1/4 of the package then mandates 20g of culture in the recipe itself (while saying this is 1/4 cup--highly unlikely). I'm ok with using the entire package if I need to though given the relative expense involved I'd rather use the minimum that is safe. The contradictory information here is pretty frustrating though.
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#39 zavodny

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:09 AM

For what it is worth, I have been using a 1/2 a package (food saver and freeze the other 1/2) with success and no issues. I have seen that many use the 1/4 package, but I figured 1/2 was a safe point and good investment in the risk vs reward factor.

#40 Chris Hennes

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:16 AM

It wasn't 6g I used, it was 0.6g. And it turned out that my pH measurements were crap, so it's not conclusive whether that actually was a problem in the end. And the information is not really contradictory: it's just differing amounts of butt-covering. As dougal points out above, you can make salume with no starter at all. You add the starter to make sure you get the right bacteria growing and consuming the sugars you have added, lowering the acidity and flavoring the meat. But starter really works just like, say, yeast in bread: you can add any quantity you want, as long as you are willing to wait longer for it to act when you use tiny amounts. The danger in using tiny amounts of this particular starter is that it is more fragile than bread yeast, and is more likely to have dead spots in the package due to improper handling. If you add only the starter from one of the dead spots, it's like you didn't add it at all. So: cover your butt, add more than you need.

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#41 vice

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:37 AM

For about 6 months, I've been adding starter (F-RM-52) at a rate of 0.05-0.1% of the meat+fat weight, then doing a 3-5 day ferment in the fridge with meat, fat, and seasonings. I haven't had any problems with failed fermentation thus far, but note that I haven't taken pH measurements, just evaluated 'tang' in the final product. I was having a difficult time maintaining high enough humidity at the elevated temperatures required for a short fermentation period. The pre-grind fridge fermentation makes this step irrelevant and seems to give enough time for the small amount of starter to do its job.
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#42 vice

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:58 AM

Also, there's something else I've been meaning to try but haven't gotten around to yet. Bod del Grosso mentions here that whey can be used instead of a commercial starter. Not often in possession of proper whey myself, the liquid that separates from yogurt (actually, I suppose there's no reason not to consider that whey) could be used to similar effect. It's filled with the same lactobacilli that are in most starter cultures and there should be plenty of microbes to ferment a 5 lb batch with as little as an ounce or two.

For more recipes that utilize small amounts of starter culture, see jmolinari's blog and Len Poli's site.
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#43 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:19 AM

Thanks for the information and encouragement, folks. I clearly need lots of hand-holding for this aspect of charcuterie.
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#44 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:03 PM

Followup: I made the stuff today (a 10 lb batch), using half the package and letting it bloom for about 15-20 min. Stuffed in beef middles, smells great so far. The wine turned it kind of dark so the cured color is a little hard to see but fingers are crossed as it incubates overnight.

Picture on twitgoo

I'll hang them tomorrow and start checking the weight in about two weeks I guess. Thanks for the help, I'll try to remember to report back on the finished product.
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#45 vice

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 01:10 AM

With 42-45mm casings, I reach 35% weight loss in under 2 weeks. Your casings look larger, but it's always better to check earlier rather than later.
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#46 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 08:03 AM

With 42-45mm casings, I reach 35% weight loss in under 2 weeks. Your casings look larger, but it's always better to check earlier rather than later.


Thanks for the tip, I'll start checking in about 8-10 days then.
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#47 scotty2

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 09:32 AM

I agree with vice. I typically use .09% starter(based on total meat + fat raw weight) and has worked every time.

#48 Chris Hennes

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 09:14 AM

Based on feedback from the 2010 eGullet Heartland Gathering it seems that the Marianski and Marianski Finocchiona was the clear crowd favorite. The flavors had intensified a bit more over the past few months (some spent in the fridge and some in the freezer), and it disappeared about twice as fast as the other three varieties I brought. If you've got this book and are looking for a next recipe to try, I highly recommend this one.

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#49 vice

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:20 PM

Like Chris H, I recently started playing around with the Marianski book. I totally dig the in-depth technical explanations of all aspects of the process. The one thing thing that gives me pause, however, is their frequent recommendation of a higher relative humidity during drying (80-85%) than I've seen anywhere else (70-75% being the standard). In fact, they actually detail a gradual step-down process (p. 163 for those playing along at home), ramping down from 90% to 75-80% over the course of a two-week period, then holding steady at that lower bound.

So what gives? It is as simple as a difference between Polish tradition (the Marianskis) vs. those from France and Italy (the bulk of the resources we're likely to encounter)? Do different starter cultures benefit from different drying regimes? How about different size salumi? For larger-diameter ones, it seems intuitive that a gradual drying might help achieve a much more consistent moisture content throughout the product, as long as excessive surface mold growth can be avoided. I have a few kilos stuffed into beef middles heading starting to dry tonight. I'll follow the conditions set down in the book and report back. In the meantime, any other insight would be much appreciated.
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#50 jmolinari

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 05:13 AM

their recommendations on humidity and times are confusion and contradictory even within the book. So much so that i emailed them, and got a reply VERY quickly....different from the book.
Basically I was told that my 75-80% RH for the whole time is fine and correct. Having said that i know there are italian recipes that also have descending and ascending temperature ramps during the industrial process. These are done to minimize loss, maximize beauty (shape etc.) and would be very hard to re-create at home.
Everything for me goes into my chamber at 55/75...after a ferment at 70 deg.

#51 vice

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 10:38 AM

Thanks Jason, I figured that I could manually do a slow ramp down just by tweaking the controller knob every few days, although such a gradual change might well be swamped out by the shorter period humidity swings in my chamber.
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#52 jmolinari

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 01:22 PM

sure, you could...but then you have to put batches and and remove them all at the same time. Not practical...for me at least where i have multiple stages of things going

#53 vice

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 04:23 PM

Oh yeah, hadn't thought of that. If I had a full-size fridge that totally wouldn't fly.
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#54 technophile50

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 01:14 AM

I got interested in home sausage production and found these on the net -
http://www.fao.org/d...6556E05.htm#ch5
http://www.rdoapp.ps...4-1145-1152.pdf

I haven't made any of my own yet, but you guys success is inspiring me.

#55 zavodny

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 09:23 AM

All - I have dried many a sausage, this will be the first time using Mold - 600 Bactofermâ„¢ Sausage Mould( Formerly M-EK-4 ), at what point do you guys apply? After inoculation? thanks

#56 jmolinari

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 09:24 AM

After casing, before putting htem in the fermentation box/area

#57 zavodny

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 09:33 AM

Thank you - I meant after fermentation - not inoculation, but before none the less. Again - thank you

#58 Baron d'Apcher

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 07:33 PM

Salaisons.

Posted Image

Viande de Grisons (air-dried Randall-Lineback eye-of-round with herbs. No casing); Bresaola (air-dried Black Angus eye-of-round in beef bung), Saucisson sec (lean Randall-lineback, pork fatback, lucknow fennel, black peppercorn in beef middle). Natural bloom, no starter culture.

#59 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 07:47 PM

Beautiful, Baron (as usual).
Would you mind sharing some details on your technique for the viande des Grisons? Thanks!

#60 Bjs229

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:46 PM

Salaisons.

Posted Image

Viande de Grisons (air-dried Randall-Lineback eye-of-round with herbs. No casing); Bresaola (air-dried Black Angus eye-of-round in beef bung), Saucisson sec (lean Randall-lineback, pork fatback, lucknow fennel, black peppercorn in beef middle). Natural bloom, no starter culture.

That is stunning. Beautiful.

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