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Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 6)


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If Fermento itself is a slavoring rather than an actual starter, and addition of a lactobacillus culture would change the sugars to lactic acid, could I just use my favorite yogurt featuring gazillions of live lactobacillus cultures as the substitute?

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Okay I have a few questions and hoping someone anyone can help me.

I checked on my Saucisson Sec and I had to throw out most of it. Mold! Not the good white kind either. I still have 2 links hanging and I did use a paper towel with vinegar down them. I'm hoping to save have them. What did I do wrong? Here is what I did do: they are/were curing at 60 degrees and a bowl with water and salt. They have been in there for 2 weeks. Most where still soft. I did have a piece that was hard and had to try...I did and I must say, I liked the taste. I didn't use as much garlic as the recipe said, didn't like the sausage recipe that had so much in. So I cut a little out. Is there something I could have done before to make sure it won't happen. Like the vinegar wash?

Now I have lamb prosciutto in the fridge curing. It's still a few weeks away.

One last question: I bought frozen duck breast at Whole Foods they weigh 6 oz eachand they are not attached, has any tried them for the duck proscuitto or duck ham?

Thank you for any help.

Jane

Edited by JaneMC (log)
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Beautiful, beautiful photos! I must make something from Charcuterie asap - I've had the book since it came out, but I'm a little afraid, I admit. It seems to me that bacon is the best recipe to start with for an extreme beginner, but what does everyone else think?

I also live in a tiny apartment with not a lot of good dry, right-temp spots for curing stuff - how big of an issue is this going to be for me? Is it possible to cure in the fridge?

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Beautiful, beautiful photos! I must make something from Charcuterie asap - I've had the book since it came out, but I'm a little afraid, I admit. It seems to me that bacon is the best recipe to start with for an extreme beginner, but what does everyone else think?

I also live in a tiny apartment with not a lot of good dry, right-temp spots for curing stuff - how big of an issue is this going to be for me? Is it possible to cure in the fridge?

Yes, bacon cures great in the refrigerator! I've done it several times now.

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Okay I have a few questions and hoping someone anyone can help me.

I checked on my Saucisson Sec and I had to throw out most of it. Mold! Not the good white kind either. I still have 2 links hanging and I did use a paper towel with vinegar down them. I'm hoping to save have them. What did I do wrong? Here is what I did do: they are/were curing at 60 degrees and a bowl with water and salt. They have been in there for 2 weeks. Most where still soft. I did have a piece that was hard and had to try...I did and I must say, I liked the taste. I didn't use as much garlic as the recipe said, didn't like the sausage recipe that had so much in. So I cut a little out. Is there something I could have done before to make sure it won't happen. Like the vinegar wash?

Now I have lamb prosciutto in the fridge curing. It's still a few weeks away.

One last question: I bought frozen duck breast at Whole Foods they weigh 6 oz eachand they are not attached, has any tried them for the duck proscuitto or duck ham?

Thank you for any help.

Jane

For controlling mold, there are several approaches which usually have to be used together:

- Lower humidity and/or lower temp during curing means less mold. I keep it closer to 50f at about 70% humidity.

- Check more frequently... bad surface mold is often curable with a vinegar or brine wipe if caught very early.

- Dip before hanging with a good surface mold, like this stuff: http://www.butcher-packer.com/index.php?ma...143b38b4be095e9

or in Canada, "Mondodip" from stuffers.com (not on their website, but they do have it)

- Some people also like to soak casings in a vinegar solution before stuffing.

Re the duck, I've made prosciutto from frozen duck breasts without problems.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Okay I have a few questions and hoping someone anyone can help me.

I checked on my Saucisson Sec and I had to throw out most of it. Mold! Not the good white kind either. I still have 2 links hanging and I did use a paper towel with vinegar down them. I'm hoping to save have them. What did I do wrong? Here is what I did do: they are/were curing at 60 degrees and a bowl with water and salt. ...

Bad moulds are often a sign of too-high humidity.

My guess is that the problem might be with the 'water and salt'.

It needs to be a saturated salt solution (ie no more salt can dissolve) -- AND stay that way, even after it has taken up moisture from the sausages.

That means spare salt - at or above the "water level". (Otherwise you will develop a less salty surface layer.)

So it needs to be "wet salt", not a bowl of salty water.

And depending on the size of your chamber and the quantity of stuff in there, you may want more surface area to give the wet salt more power.

So, a wide shallow dish with lots of salt and a little water ...

The less salty the water, the higher the humidity.

The humidity above a saturated solution is theoretically still a little higher than ideal, so a little bit of fridge chilling also helps to knock down the humidity some more.

Personally, I think that its usually the chiller doing the dehumidifying, with the saturated salt solution preventing the chiller from making it too dry.

-- Implicit in that is that there is some means of removing the chiller condensation from the chamber. -- (Otherwise, you have some no-salt water pushing the humidity way higher!)

A little air movement is a good idea. Like from opening the door occasionally, or running an old computer fan in the chamber for a few minutes very occasionally.

The air movement should even out the humidity in the chamber - no damp patches!

Similarly, ensuring that the air can get all round the sausages is a good idea.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Dougal, about that computer fan concept,

I talked to my computer repairman, and he said that the computer fan is DC versus the refrigerator iis AC How do you rig up the computer fan to be a fairly friendly appartus tocirculate the air in the curing chamber? Thanks.

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Dougal, about that computer fan concept,

I talked to my computer repairman, and he said that the computer fan is DC versus the refrigerator iis AC How do you rig up the computer fan to be a fairly friendly appartus tocirculate the air in the curing chamber? Thanks.

Find a "wall wart"( the things you plug into wall outlet to charge/power, stuff), at the thrift store that has the required DC voltage (and amperage) and use that to power your fan...

Bud

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Thank YOU everyone. I knew someone would know what I was doing. I have lowered the tempature (I use a wine frige) and now I have moist salt not salt water. This is the first cured sausage and not my last. I will check every few days also. I was checking close to once a week. I think some of you (if not all of you) need to write a book on the problems that have simple fixes!

Jane

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Dougal, about that computer fan concept,

I talked to my computer repairman, and he said that the computer fan is DC versus the refrigerator iis AC How do you rig up the computer fan to be a fairly friendly appartus tocirculate the air in the curing chamber? Thanks.

Find a "wall wart"( the things you plug into wall outlet to charge/power, stuff), at the thrift store that has the required DC voltage (and amperage) and use that to power your fan...

Bud

Thanks, Bud. That's what I needed to know. I hope to start my cinghiali salumi experiments this week.

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... the computer fan is DC versus the refrigerator iis AC How do you rig up the computer fan to be a fairly friendly appartus tocirculate the air in the curing chamber? Thanks.

The fan should be LOW VOLTAGE specifically to be much safer than having dangerous mains electricity loose in the wet environment inside the fridge.

You could find a mains AC fan, but it wouldn't be the best of ideas!

Yes, almost all computer equipment fans are going to be DC and work from either 5 volts or 12 volts.

Find your fan, figure out how you can best mount it to stir as much of the chamber's air as you can, if at all possible without blasting (drying) any of the work in progress. You might decide to put together some ducting made from plastic drainpipe or tape together a simple shroud from a few bits of flat plastic 'card'.

Really small fans make a lot of fuss and don't shift much air. Big fans take up lots of room and are probably too strong. A 2" diameter fan is a reasonable compromise for the average fridge ...

Once you have your fan, check its label - it'll tell you (or your techie) what voltage and current it wants.

This gives you a spec for the wall-wart.

If you want the fan to blow more gently, you should be able to get away with 25% (my rough estimate) less voltage than a DC fan nominally asks for - and you can expect it to still run, but rather slower. (So a 9v supply should work to reduce the draught from a 12v fan.)

However your wall-wart does need to be able to deliver at least as much current as the fan needs. Not less. If you are generous in sizing the supply, it'll run cooler, last longer, etc ...

You can connect the wall-wart to a a cheap (mechanical, segment) timer switch.

If the fan runs for something like 15 minutes, every couple of hours, that should be plenty.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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If you are fairly handy with computers, you can reuse an old PC power supply to power the fan. You can even leave it in the case and extend the the wires with easily sourced extenders.

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is what did work out for me. The Saucsson Sec I had 3 nice size work out no mold. I must say, very good. I took some to work and they all loved it and couldn't believe that I made it.

I have lamb prosciutto in the fridge right now it has it's last week before it's off the chamber.

What I'm thinking of but not sure of is the Canadian bacon or pork belly comfit. Has any one done either of these but then I'm also looking at pastrami. Oh too much that I want to do! Now I just need the time.

I'm also getting the stuff together to do peperone.

The wine fridge just isn't all that big. So I have to becareful.

My bacon is real good. I've done it a few times. I've also made fresh sausage a few times.....but it's the curing that I'm really liking.

Thank you for lisening to me ramble.

Jane

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Will my questions ever stop....I hope so....one day.

My question is I have tied up my lamb prosciutto then put it in one of those colgan bags ment for the meat (got it from Butcher and Packer) will it be okay? I just couldn't fit in the bag so I tried it up and got it in. Nope it wasn't easy, it worked.

I have pepperone in the oven for teh 12 hours then in the chamber it goes. Should be a good few months coming.

Jane

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I made my first batch of duck confit a couple of weeks ago; it mellowed in the fat until last night, when I pullet out some of it to make rillettes in advance of a dinner party. Couldn't have been easier, and I now have some groovy duck spread for my guests.

It tastes great, of course, but the rillettes are sort of an unappetizing gray color- they look more like tuna salad than anything else. I know that that's the traditional preparation, but I wonder if it wouldn't be worth it to brown the meat in duck fat before rilletting it. The trick will be keeping the tender confit texture while getting a nice color.

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Traditional rilettes can be browned to a varying degree depending on where they come from. My Larousse Gastronomie has a Balzac quote where he calls rillettes for "brown jam".

I have sucessfully made pork rilettes that had a very nice medium brown color and a deep nice flavour. A later batch which wasn't browned was still nice but not quite as good as the previous.

No idea how duck would fare though, Larousse makes no mention of browned duck rilettes. Might end up dry perhaps?

Edited by TheSwede (log)
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No idea how duck would fare though, Larousse makes no mention of browned duck rilettes. Might end up dry perhaps?

Yes, dryness is a potential problem. Maybe brown the skin and include it? Or there might be some way to further reduce and/or darken the confit jelly that goes into the rillettes.

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Ok, so this is the thread (along with its predecessor) that has caused me to throw off my long held lurker status. :biggrin:

I received the book a couple of weeks ago and have had much difficulty thinking of anything else since. On Friday, I picked up my first pork belly from my butcher.

It is a local, pastured hog. Too bad it already had the skinned removed.

gallery_35269_6655_19038.jpg

It was a 6.6lb belly, which I cut in half for two cures. On the left is the standard maple syrup. On the right is a Sichuan peppercorn cure.

gallery_35269_6655_21029.jpg

Bellies rubbed.

gallery_35269_6655_13391.jpg

gallery_35269_6655_13224.jpg

Thank you all for the inspiration. I will update next weekend after the smoking.

--Michael

Michael

Our Local Table

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Traditional rilettes can be browned to a varying degree depending on where they come from. My Larousse Gastronomie has a Balzac quote where he calls rillettes for "brown jam".

I have sucessfully made pork rilettes that had a very nice medium brown color and a deep nice flavour. A later batch which wasn't browned was still nice but not quite as good as the previous.

Yes, regarding pork rillettes my understanding is that there are two main varieties, de Tours and de Mans. (Actually a quick google also revealed Anjou, but I'm clueless as to that style.) The type in Ruhlman/Polcyn's Charcuterie is Rillettes de Mans, cooked gently with some stock and aromatics so that they they do not brown and remain quite delicate. Rillette de Tours, as I have made it, is simpler (no stock/herbs) and is lightly browned in the fat for a more robust flavor.

As to your question regarding rillettes from duck confit, I'm not sure but I will say that one restaurant I know that does excellent charcuterie sometimes serves rillettes (or something very similar) that have been turned into a hot pan, crisped, and served browned-side up. They're excellent.

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As to your question regarding rillettes from duck confit, I'm not sure but I will say that one restaurant I know that does excellent charcuterie sometimes serves rillettes (or something very similar) that have been turned into a hot pan, crisped, and served browned-side up. They're excellent.

I've done that with pork rilettes, but it should work with duck too, since they spend a very short time in the pan:

I did a rilette "sausage" wrapped in cling film, refrigerated it and then sliced into pucks which were quickly crisped on both sides.

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We finally broke down and picked up a spare fridge to use for curing meats. This is our first batch hanging:

gallery_58047_5582_77009.jpg

We figured we would start simple with the Charcuterie recipe for Saucisson Sec:

gallery_58047_5582_67536.jpg

It came out beautifully. Great texture and intense flavor.

We also did a cured version of an improvised Spanish-style sausage that we have enjoyed as a smoked sausage:

gallery_58047_5582_38858.jpg

It came out a little soft, but still very nice.

Since we had some jowl on hand, we also decided to do some Guanciale:

gallery_58047_5582_59899.jpg

Along with some smoked cheddar, it made for some great sliders the other day...

gallery_58047_5582_2699.jpg

We're officially hooked. We've got Tuscan Salami and some Coppa hanging now.

Absolutely beautiful. Those sliders are calling to me.

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As to your question regarding rillettes from duck confit, I'm not sure but I will say that one restaurant I know that does excellent charcuterie sometimes serves rillettes (or something very similar) that have been turned into a hot pan, crisped, and served browned-side up. They're excellent.

I did a rilette "sausage" wrapped in cling film, refrigerated it and then sliced into pucks which were quickly crisped on both sides.

Those are both brilliant ideas that I will be stealing at the earliest opportunity. Thanks!

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I'm looking for a (very) inexpensive way to do a difficult thing - dry cure in Houston - and I'd really appreciate some advice/guidance on my idea - curing in a cooler using ice to get to the right temperature.

What do you think of this idea? Has anyone tried such a thing? Supposing I solve the temperature issue, my worries are air circulation (maybe too much from changing ice every day??) and contamination - I've thought of turning it on its side, or even hanging it upside down to keep mold spores from falling in... like Pasteur's famous broth experiment - open to the air only through a gooseneck it kept sterile for weeks.

I live in an apartment with no space for a second fridge. The air temperature in the closet under the stairs (coolest spot I can find) is a stable 72.

I've got the meat for a coppa curing for another few weeks, so I've got time to problem solve, or change course if I am making a big mistake...

I've started experimenting with ways to control the environment, but assuming I can solve them, I'd still need to open it every day or so to replace the ice. Humidity shouldn't be a problem, if I get the right diameter bowl of watery salt, right?

On temperature - I've tried ice packs and frozen bottles of water so far, and they get the air temp. down into the sixties. So now I'm trying a tiny cooler absolutely filled with ice inside the larger one - to keep it cool longer. I believe that I should be able to get the temperature to the right range long enough... I hope!

What do you all think?

Thanks!

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While it's good to get the temperature down to the 60s, it's not necessarily fatal if you can't do it. I've made pancetta, saucisson sec, and bresaola in a coolish cabinet, but I kept a thermometer/hygrometer in there, and temperatures often were in the 70s. When humidity was particularly low, I would spray the meat with water once every day or two, particularly during the first week of drying, so the outside wouldn't form an impermeable skin that could cause the inside from drying properly. So far, this has worked for me. Here are some photos--

gallery_64820_6661_23044.jpg

gallery_64820_6661_307968.jpg

I was encouraged to read Harold McGee's recent article in the _New York Times_ about small scale dry-cured ham producers in the South who have tradtionally hung meat at ambient temperatures, sometimes going into the 90s. After all, they did this sort of thing before there was air conditioning--

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/dining/03curi.html

I've been thinking of making dry curing a seasonal spring/autumn project, when ambient temperature and humidity are best in New York, but these country hams hang for a year or more, so the temperature variations contribute to the flavor of the product.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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