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need help with building my curing/fermentation chamber

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 04:00
by king kabanos
i have a kegerator that is not in use anymore and want to turn it into a drying/fermentation chamber. its a 7 cu ft freezer with a johnson temp conroller. i want to save money and was looking at some humidifers at bed bath and beyond and have a question are the expensive humidifers are any good when keeping the humidity where you want it around 75 or 80 and none of them go above 80 humidity level. this is the one i was looking into getting ... 44&sr=1-44 . or should i get the danton humidity controller plug in to control the humdity and get a cheaper humidifier. dont really want to spend the money on a humidity conroller thats 150 dollers? i know the danton plug in i can get for 55 bucks thats in my budget. so tell me what you guys think? hope everyone had a great thanks giving

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 03:32
by uwanna61
Don`t stress over the perfect humidity, you will drive yourself nuts! The most common curing/drying temps, average around 70 -80% humidity. I have 2 converted fridges that I have been using for several years with a $25 nursery humidifier in each one, and Dayton humidistat purchased from Grainger supply. Go with your budget and if your budget is small, start with a small batch (#5 lbs) and work from there. Dry cured Pepperoni is a great 1st time project! Most beginner sausage/salami makers typically will experience issues (with out realizing it) at the start of the sausage/salami batch, example: grinding, mixing, salt, seasoning and so on. Another thought, keep good project notes. Crap, I forgot what I did yesterday!! :shock:
Pick up a nursery humidifier at your local pharmacy and give it a run. Let us know your progress, pictures are always good. Let us know if you have any questions...
Hope this helps

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 04:25
by king kabanos
thanks for the info. i just spent the extra 40 bucks and bought the green air thc 1 humidity controller. i have a question i bought the crane 1 gallon drop shape humidifier and wondering on what setting should i have it on when using it lo med or hi

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 19:04
Hey King, I also bought the green aire unit, but it did not work, I then went with the dayton and has been working great for 2 years or so, i USE THE JOHNSON controller for heat and cooling, the trouble I run into is too much humidity, This tiem of year, I have use a hpt [late to keep the temp up, instea of using the cooling to keep it down, and with out the evaporation from the cooling, the humodity is hard to keep down, I installed a computer fan on a timer and reostat, and this helped alittle, but still have high humidity, especially the first 4 weeks as it starts to dry, in the spring ,summer and fall, I have excellent results, since I use the freezer to cool it down, and this draws out ,oister, I have giving up on doing any long term dry curing in the cold months, so now I use t as a 50 square ft dehydrator, in these months,Tim




Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 02:21
by king kabanos
shit i already ordered my green air thc 1 controller and hope it works and if not i will return it. With the danton plug in controller can you have it pluged into a extension cord and outside the fridge into a wall plug or no and same with the thc 1??? i was reading my book on fermented sausages and it says to open the fridge to dehumidify and i want to know how many times to open the fridge daily and what setting should i have my humidifier on a low speed hi or med. i also have a computer fan that i am going to put in the chamber and should i have it on all day or what? thanks for the help

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 05:15
by redzed
King you are right, you do need some sort of air exchange system, even if it's opening and closing the door a two or three times a day. I cut a hole on the bottom of the chamber as an intake and installed a computer fan on the top to dump air out. It runs for 30 minutes two or three times within a 24hr. period. I also have a small fan situated on the top rack that kicks in when the humidifier is on. This way it redistributes the air in the chamber and also forces the humid air back down. With this setup I am able to leave the curing without having to go down to open the door a few times a day. I was away recently for 20 days and the chamber performed as it was supposed to.

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 17:48
by king kabanos
thank you red zed. but i cant cut any holes in my fridge on the bottom only the top since i have a deep chest freezer and do not want to hit any coolant lines. so i guess i will just open it 2-3 times a day. i have a computer fan that that has speed of lo med and hi. what setting should i have the fan on and should i have it on constant to circulate the humidity around the chamber? also what setting should i have my humidifier on? can you show me your setup??? my parents are from poland and i also speak polish but was born here so my dad keeps bothering me to make kabanos, mysliwska and other dry suasages. but i love doing it and its always better to make it yourself. Can you post pictures of your setup thanks red zed

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 17:43
by redzed
Hi King,

Pics of my chamber can be found here. ... sc&start=0

Since those pics I added a ventilation fan on the top of the unit that runs 2 or 3 times a day. And because it is an all fridge unit it also has a fan that runs when the compressor kicks in. Air movement is very important, but you don't want to have any fans blowing directly on the sausages, or you will get case hardening.

I don't think a chest freezer is the best way to go, but I'm sure you can make it work with some experimentation and tinkering. For the air intake, open up the drain plug on the bottom side of your freezer. I think they all have that. As to the humidity, different sausages require different levels. Since I have a mixture in my chamber I try to keep the humidity somewhere between 75 and 80%.

And if you are going to make kabanosy and myśliwska you don't need a curing chamber. Both are semi dried fully cooked products. I'm actually thinking of making myśliwska, hot smoking initially, letting cool for 1 day at room temp, cold smoking the next day and the drying for several days in a cool place. <14°

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 00:24
by king kabanos
i know that i dont have to cure kabanos or mysliwskabut i do have to either cold or hot smoke and then dry it out and in my frdge from 50-60 deg and 75-80 percent humidity becuase outside in california it is just cold enoughh to cold smoke kielbasa but the humidity is not so i have to dry it out in my fridge to get the right humidity. Also why dont you think my 7 cu ft chest freezer will work? i have the drain plug on the bottom and your saying to leave that open and put a fan on to dehumidfy it or something i am confused with that part. thank you red zed for all your help

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 04:31
by redzed
Hi KK,

Please re-read my earlier reply. I did not state that your chest freezer will not work. I simply stated that it is not the best way to go. No home system that converts an old freezer or fridge is perfect. Professional curing chambers, costing tens of thousands, operate differently with sophisticated sensors and controls. Old country cellar conditions are also difficult to create in a different climate, so hobbyists have to be creative. And the reason, in my opinion, that it's more challenging with working with a chest freezer, is that there is no air movement at all in it, so you will have to solve that problem.
Take a look at some of the chambers constructed and described on this site such as
Also take a look at the plans on the Sausagemaker site. There are also numerous discussions here under Hardware where most of your questions have been answered.

Review the available info and you will, after tinkering and experimenting, create the environment you need. And if you havent yet purchased Marianski's guide to fermented sausages, do it soon.

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 16:14
by alhunter63
Hello Chris, C.W. & all the other experts out there. This is my first fermenting chamber (converted wine cooler) that I used for the first time. It worked well in keeping proper temp. & humidity, except there was no air exchange leaving the salamis slimey & the bottom of the cooler soaked. I need to install a small fan & before I cut into this beautiful cooler, I wanted to get some input from you guys.

I was thinking that when the door is closed there is a small gap at the bottom near the floor, where the wires come out of the cooler (heat & humidifier) and plug in to the controller. This would act as my air in. I could then install a little computer fan at the top back, oppisite side sucking air out of the cooler. I'm thinking that this would be the best way to get the moisture out while moving some air in the cooler as well. What do you guys think?? Also if the fan is small enough it should be able to run constantly with out any worries of case hardening right??


Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 23:40
by redzed
Al, I am leagues away from being an expert, but I would not install any fans in the wine cooler. If it in fact is doing a good job in achieving the temp and humidity that you want, then just leave it at that. Most products need between 24 and 72 hours, and the "slimy" casings are a natural result from being in a moist and humid environment. It's part of the process. If you istall a fan then it might throw off your controls and possibly dry the casings (and they need to be moist during this stage). The sausages drip a bit during the fermentation, so place something on the bottom to catch the moisture. If you inoculate them with mould during the fermentation stage, then just transfer them into the curing chamber once they are ready. I usually inoculate mine after fermenting, so I wash them in a salt solution to get rid of the slime and possibly any wild moulds, then spray them with the mould starter and transfer to the curing chamber.

Maybe CW and others have different opinion, and I also would like to hear it.

Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 15:13
by alhunter63
Yeah Chris, that's what I did, I took them out after fermenting about 3 days, then washed them in a salt solution, sprayed them with the mold 600 & put them in the curring room. I just thought a little air movement might help. I don't think it would effect my temp. or humidity because the room is at around 68 degrees (same as the cooler) & the humidifier hardly ran at all. I think I went through maybe 2 glasses of water, so that might run a little longer. Just wanted to see what you guys thought?