Humidity Help

LOUSANTELLO
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Humidity Help

Post by LOUSANTELLO » Sat Dec 19, 2015 16:06

I am making soppressata and went through all the procedures for adding Insta Cure #2, salt, Bactoferm and dextrose to the recipe. I laid them out in 65 degree temperature for 72 hours and now I have them hanging in a dedicated refrigerator at roughly 35-37 degrees. I weighed each one before I put them in the refrigerator and they are continuing to lose weight. The color is fantastic. My only concern is the amount of humidity the refrigerator creeped up since I put them in. The humidity is 82-84%. I don't know whether this is normal and OK. If it is not, what is the recommendation to eliminate humidity and what level should it be? Thanks Lou
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Post by Bob K » Sat Dec 19, 2015 16:26

Lou-
Welcome to the forum!

A few more details would help. Are you using a traditional method with the fridge set up as a curing/drying chamber or the UMai bags?
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Sat Dec 19, 2015 16:31

Umai Bags. Standard refrigerator
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Sat Dec 19, 2015 16:32

Although for next time, If there is a setup to modify a refrigerator for doing this, info would be nice. Thanks
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Sat Dec 19, 2015 16:34

Also, can this same procedure be done with natural casings?
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Post by Bob K » Sat Dec 19, 2015 17:04

Lou-
UMAi recommends that you use a frost free type fridge with the bags. They eliminate the humidity and the air circulation promote faster drying at the lower refrigerator temps.

And yes you can certainly modify a fridge or freezer to make a dedicated curing chamber using traditional methods and natural casings.
To get an idea of a curing chamber set up : http://www.wedlinydomowe.pl/en/viewtopic.php?t=6107

Its a lot more involved than the UMAi method....but a great hobby!
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Sat Dec 19, 2015 19:30

Hello Bob, Thanks for the info. So other than a frost free refrigerator, which this is, are there any other ways to reduce the humidity level? I guess the question is do I want the humidity lower? I have another refrigerator with 2 21 pound bone in prime ribs in Umais right now. I am going on the 14th day and that unit is registering 67% humidity. I would imagine the level was higher when the meat was newer? I have had great success with primal meats, however I have never hung soppressata and I'm not sure what humidity levels I am trying to get this to. In the olden days, we made them in a cellar with a small vent window and always made them between xmas and new years because the temp was the most predictable. I would really like to dial this type of system in so I am not confined to making them 1 week a year. Thanks
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Sat Dec 19, 2015 19:42

Just looking at the air-2, I assume you plug the refrigerator into the temperature outlet and the air-2 supplies the voltage for the refrigerator? Humidifier plugs into the humidity outlet? I understand this however, I still don't understand if you can dehumidify and whether you have to. Thanks again,
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Post by Bob K » Sun Dec 20, 2015 13:57

In your situation you could just open the door several times a day to reduce the Humidity. The UMAi bags seem to work best in low humidity with plenty of air circulation as the bags control the release of moisture.

What you need to do in a chamber is control the humidity. You may have to either humidify or dehumidify.

You can dehumidify with either a small dehumidifier or a fan to move air out of the chamber.
You can add humidity with a misting vaporiser.

I use an Auburn Inst. controller. You plug the fridge or heater into the temp. side to control temperature, and a humidifier or dehumidifier into the humidity side.

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Post by redzed » Sun Dec 20, 2015 17:52

If you are going to use a frost free refrigerator, as you should, you will almost always need to add humidity. The fridge has a fan when it turns on and dries the air. Using a small dorm or bar fridge is not a good idea. When you first load your chamber with product, there will be a spike in the humidity and you will need to open the door a couple of times a day to refresh the air. But higher humidity during the initial period in the chamber is not a bad thing. It helps in preventing case hardening and getting the mould started if you used Bactoferm 600. If you introduce some regular air flow into the chamber with a vent on the bottom and an exhaust on the top, it will also work well and you need a very low velocity air movement in the chamber. You can also go further if you can't bring the humidity down by installing a de-humidity controller and a dehumidifier, or a heater which will cause the fridge to cycle more often.

Check out eBay for all kinds of heating and humidity controllers from China that are cheap. But you need to be able to wire them and I have also read that that the humidity sensors on some of them are not very good. As Bob suggested, go with the Auberins controller. http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_ ... cts_id=377 It was developed especially for a curing fridge. The Air 2 which I first installed in my fridge has a de-humidity control and iis not that precise. There is a way to rewire it so that it works to dehumidify but in operating it you need to adjust the temp and humidity by using a separate thermometer and hygrometer, so it's really not that automatic.

You can make a decent tasting salami or solid muscle product using umai bags, but you will not be able to create a product with the complexities that long term curing and moulds contribute. But the umai method is just so darned easy!
Last edited by redzed on Sun Dec 20, 2015 18:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Sun Dec 20, 2015 21:57

OK, thank you. So let's assume I'm not here to save money on cheap product. I looked at the Auberins controllers. I am in the automation business. Wiring and other sorts it not an issue. I will have a way to use Auberins and monitor them thru my own controller which will email me notifications. That's not an issue. Let's start with the soprressata for now. Let's assume I use natural casings and not Umai. What is the recommended temp and humidity during fermentation? What is the recommended temp and humidity after that for drying and curing? If I vent out excess humidity,that is also removing the temperature. How long does it take for the refrigerator to come back to the set temp? Other than that, I think this is easily possible, although I do not know the recommended temps and humidity. Would you use these same temps and humidity if it was an Umai bag? If not, what is the recommendation for that? Thanks
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Post by redzed » Sun Dec 20, 2015 22:50

During the fermentation you want the humidity to be as high as possible, 90% and higher. (Some even ferment in water). Temp. will depend on the type of starter. For the fast fermenting cultures that result in higher acidity and a tang in taste, you will ferment at 80-85F. When using slower fermenting cultures where you want the pH to finish at 5 - 5.2, you will ferment at 70-73.

Temp in chamber can be between 50-59F I would recommend 52-53. You will get best results with around 80F in the chamber. 85 is OK during the first week or so, 75 will also work during the latter stages of the drying. I would not take it lower than 75. And remember some air movement is important in the drying chamber.
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Sun Dec 20, 2015 23:39

I assume the temps and humidity you gave me is based on casings and not dry bags? I never realized the temp to be so high. That's great to know, which give me more reason to put an outboard temp sensor on the refrigerator. I don't think a conventional thermostat in a refrigerator will even go that high. I really appreciate your help. I did find out that my refrigerator is in fast a frost free. There is a drip tray on the bottom. Week one, my humidity was about 82-84. I was getting concerned and apparently, I shouldn't. I am at day 8 and my humidity is finally dropping into 78-79 and the meats are lost about 5-6% in weight. Based on that, it sounds like 5-6 weeks? I will keep an eye on the humidity. As long as everyone is so helpful, can someone explain the process to test the ph for next time? Umai just told me fermentation of 72 hours. I did not test PH. When is PH actually tested? Are there electronic devices to test PH and what is the procedure? Thank you very much.
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Post by Bob K » Mon Dec 21, 2015 13:38

To test Ph you would keep a test sample in a baggie or bowl, ferment along with your chubs and test periodically, say every 12 hrs or so, until you reach the desired Ph.
You can test with Ph papers or a Ph meter. Some are specifically designed for meats and cheese.
Here is one way: http://www.milwaukeeinstruments.com/phinmeat/

You would be well served to get the Marianski book on fermented sausages : http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Making-Fe ... KWAKIZOORM
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Post by crustyo44 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 22:37

Hi Lou,
If you are using UMAi bags, Dry them in your kitchen refrigerator. Just make sure you record the starting weight so you know when to stop. some meat will take a lot longer to reach the target weight due to fluid content.
I have done plenty of Coppa and Bresaola in UMAi bags and never had a dud yet.
Just make sure that when you vacuum the UMAi bag, you drop it in some stretch netting for a permanent good contact. Just don't double up the bagging material, I roll it up as tight as possible.
Cheers,
Jan.
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