UMAI drybag questions

LOUSANTELLO
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UMAI drybag questions

Post by LOUSANTELLO » Tue Dec 29, 2015 02:39

I sent an email to Umai today with no response, so I figure I would try here.


I made 46 pounds total using the correct dosage of instacure #2 along with the correct dosage of T-SPX and dextrose.

I was the goof that did not calculate the salt correctly. The salt dosage is sitting at about 1% salt.

I placed them in an unused oven for 72 hours and proceeded to hang them in a frost free refrigerator.

Before placing them in the refrigerator, I weighed each one individually.

the refrigerator is at 36-37 degrees F and my humidity is now at 65%, now that it's starting to dry out.

The color is a nice red and no signs of grey at all.

After 14 days, I took each one out and created a spreadsheet on weight loss.

Within the 14 days, the soppressata's have a weight loss of anywhere from 9-13%.

I have no idea whether this is about correct for weight loss/timing.

My only concern is how mushy they still are. They are firming up, but I expected them to be firmer after 2 weeks.

I also tied them a week ago as the meat was obviously getting smaller and I wanted the bags to stay adhered to the meat.

What has been your experience with dry bags as to the timing and texture consistencies it normally takes to maintain 30-35% weight loss
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Tue Dec 29, 2015 08:19

Before I try to answer your question, please tell me a bit more about the sausage you made.
1. Confirm that you added only 1% salt. In other words, 7.4oz or 208g?
2. What amounts of #2, T-SPX and dextrose did you add?
3. What was the temp in the "unused oven" during the fermentation stage?
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Post by crustyo44 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:08

Hi lou,
I have never dried any sausage yet in Umai bags but I do have made plenty of Coppa, Bresaola and an experimental piece of shoulder pork that was supposed to become Tiroler Speck.
Depending on the size and the fat content, I can safely say that the drying time could stretch out to around 12 weeks. If they are feeling real hard on the outside but still have some mushy feeling, just vacuum them for 2-3 week to even out.
I would also try some stretch netting as a trial for bag adherence, it is not critical for the bag to stay glued to the meat, the drying will continue.
Kitchen refrigerators are the best for drying due to them being opened often every day.
I hope this helps.
Good Luck,
Jan.
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Tue Dec 29, 2015 14:42

Here's the answers to the questions. I made them in 15 pound batches. In a 15 pound batch, I added 3 teaspoons of instacure #2 and 3 teaspoons of dextrose. I also added 3/4 teaspoon of T-SPX (1/4 teaspoon per 5 pounds diluted in distilled water. When I calculated the salt, I calculated 3% of 5 pounds (2.4 oz.). This is when I forgot to triple the salt to 7.2 oz. So, in each 15 pound batch, I only have 2.4 oz of salt. I do not have case hardening, the meat is pretty consistent throughout for now. The oven was at room temperature (65 degrees F) and I laid them in a rack for 48 hours. I did notice some sweat on the bags after 48 hours, so i took them out and laid them on racks at 65 degrees for the remaining 24 hours. This was the time they started turning a blush red. Real nice color. The first week in the refrigerator was 36 degrees at 80-81% humidity. My concern was the humidity was not going down probably due to the amount of wet meat. After 1 week, I moved them into a different refrigerator that I've used for subprimals that I know for sure has a fan when the compressor kicks on. Once I moved them, the humidity is now 67-70%. On some of the smaller pieces, I am losing anywhere from .1-.2 oz per day now. The I did tie them. One small piece was at 8.2oz. In 14 days, it's 7.2 oz. The spreadsheet shows anywhere from 9-13% loss at this point.
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Post by Shuswap » Tue Dec 29, 2015 16:11

http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg69 ... eyulvf.jpg

Image

Jan is right that the Umai bag does not remain tight to the meat when drying. To lose weight the meat is shrinking in volume but the Umai material does not shrink. Here is a Longaniza with 34% weight loss after 5 weeks in the fridge. As an aside, I don`t use volume to measure my culture. Using the T-SPX spec of 25 g/100 kg meat, your 15 pound batch would require only 1.7g of culture.
Last edited by Shuswap on Tue Dec 29, 2015 19:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by redzed » Tue Dec 29, 2015 21:03

Hi Lou,
I am not totally sure how your salami will turn out, but we have two major issues here.

The first is the low amount of salt. 2% is the lowest amount that you should use in dry cured sausages and 2.5% is better. So the 1% in you added is half the minimum recommended. We use salt not only for taste, but salt is a very important curing agent. Salt penetrates the meat cells releasing proteins which bind the meat and fat particles. It also lowers the water activity by forcing it to the surface. Lack of salt in salami (and in whole muscle products) usually results in a soft product. Salt also protects the meat from spoilage bacteria and curing with it is one of the very important "hurdles" in creating a product that is safe to eat.

The second issue here is the fermentation step. While your amounts of starter culture and sugar are probably OK, in your circumstances 65F was too low of a temperature to be fermenting. The T-SPX spec sheet does state that the starter will work in temps of 64-75, but without a pH meter I would not try fermenting at the bottom of the scale. And the 72 hours recommended in the recipe has little relevance other than if the pH of the meat does not drop to a safe level within that time, your fermentation failed. I have often used T-SPX and ferment at 70-72, and reach a pH of 5-5.2 within a different period of time each session.

As to how long it takes to dry the sausage, it will vary. For starters it depends on how much moisture there was in the meat to begin with. That varies with the different cuts and types animals and if you used meat that was frozen, it will dry faster. If there is a high fat content the weight loss will be lower. When using the 50mm umai tubes my salami was always ready (35-40% weight loss) in 3-4 weeks, usually about half the time it took the same salami (cased in natural or collagen casings) to reach that level in my curing chamber. The RH in my fridge is running at around 35% and the temp at 37F. I ferment the umai salami together with the naturally cased ones in a high humidity environment, that is, 90% and higher. If it sweats during that time, then so much the better.

To lower your risks and make a better product, measure all your ingredients accurately and in metric. Pounds and ounces are an archaic holdover from the Middle Ages and volume measurements will not work and can cause you grief. I read recently about a consumer test where measuring spoons were purchased in different stores and there was a considerable variance in them. Metric is easy and you can work out the percentages often without the use of a calculator. You can buy a nice jewellers scale on eBay for less than 10 bucks.

I have different results with making the umai salami when comes to adherence of the material to the sausage. Some came out with a wrinkled look adhering to the sausage while others looked like the one in Phil's post above. Both turned out OK. I had one batch where I had fat smearing and had to toss both the chamber cured and umai fridge cured salami. Both failed to harden and dry and tasted equally rancid.

Hope this helps. Forget about your salami for a couple of weeks, then check it and give us an update.
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Tue Dec 29, 2015 23:00

OK, so now after this venture, I consider an experiment and lesson. I have an accurate scale and from now on, I will measure in grams and Kg. What kind of ticks me off is I clearly called Umai and they told me to make sure I watch the video, which is what I did. The recipe on the video shows 1/8 teaspoon of T-SPX per 1 kg (2.2 pounds). This was how I got to the 1/4 teaspoon per 5 pounds (3/4 teaspoon per 15 pounds. Granted I screwed up on the salt. Then, the dextrose dosage was completely different on the video than the other recipes within their own starter kit. When I called them, that's when they recommended a Marianski book, which is fine, which I now own. So here's the questions I would prefer to ask you all. #1 recommended salt = 2.5%-3.0% of total weight of meat? This percentage is Salt only and NOT instacure ,Correct? #2 I need recommended Instacure #2 dosage by weight/meat weight. #3 T-SPX dosage by weight? #4 Dextrose by weight? And then one more question. I just ordered a milwaukee MW-102 and MA920 probe. I know it's a little late now, but should the meat in the refrigerator be reading in the 5's PH? Thanks for all your help.
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Post by Butterbean » Wed Dec 30, 2015 00:25

Answering #1 I found life is much simpler is you just think of the salt in % ranges based on what you are doing and worry about the rest later. On page 73 of your book it talks about this.
When making fermented sausage use between 2.5-3% salt as this combined with the nitrite


(Note - this is for a fermented sausage where you are adding a starter - for one without the starter your range is 3-3.5% and fresh sausages you want 1.5-2% salt)

So since you are using a starter your range needs to be 2.5-3% salt to which you are going to add 0.25% Cure 2 so this will bump your salt amount up by this much.

So how do you want it to taste? Keep in mind the salt will be concentrated when the sausage shrinks as it dries but the more salt you use the easier it is to be successful but the tradeoff is flavor - unless you just like salt.

Personally, I would split the difference and use 2.75% salt with the 0.25% cure which will land you right at 3% total salt. Should cure easy enough and if you find its not to your liking you can tweak it on the next round because in your mind you will now have a gauge to judge other projects by. When you find the percentage you like - stick with it and don't worry about what the recipe might tell you. Everything else if just perfume.

BTW - a few months ago I made some stuff using 3.5% salt just to see what it tasted like. I found it too salty for me but other people loved it but most of these people liked to drink beer and the sausages would surely make you crave a beer.

Its all based on total meat weight.

Hope this helps.
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Post by Butterbean » Wed Dec 30, 2015 00:48

For your starter culture.

After seasonings and spices have been effectively mixed into minced meat the culture is introduced and also thoroughly mixed. For every 10 lbs. of meat: dilute 1/2 tsp. of culture in 1/2 cup distilled water (or chlorine free tap water). Let sit for 15-20 minutes for bacteria to "wake-up" then pour over mixed meat and re-mix thoroughly. Make sure meat stays cold throughout mixing process. Use InstaCure™ #2 (Nitrate) with this culture.

I may be wrong by doing this but I also add a pinch of dextrose to the water before adding the starter culture just as I do when I'm making wine. Don't know if it helps but I haven't seen where it hurts and it sure does make wine yeasts frisky before they go in the bucket.

As for your dextrose, since you are using TSPX you generally will not want the amount of dextrose to exceed 0.3% (page 78) and the amount of pH drop will be proportional to the amount of sugar added. However, to really get an idea of where you are going you need to know where you are so you need to know the initial pH of the meat you are starting with and as Redzed pointed out the other day for every gram of dextrose you add to a kg of meat you can expect the pH to drop 0.3 points so its again in your interest to know where you are so the next time you make the sausage you can actually tweak the recipe based on the pH of the meat instead of just some random amount of sugar. If you think of things this way you can achieve consistency.

Hope this helps.
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Wed Dec 30, 2015 01:07

Which book are you referring to. The book I have is Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages
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Post by Butterbean » Wed Dec 30, 2015 01:15

Marianski's book on The Art of Fermented Sausages. If you don't have this you really need to get it. Its very thorough and goes over all this stuff in a very easy to understand manner.

That is the book I thought they had suggested you purchase as it would be the one I would have suggested.
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Wed Dec 30, 2015 01:22

OK, I have his other one and based on reviews, they said it was pretty redundant. I will acquire the other one. In the meantime, "where am I supposed to go with PH?" When should it get there? And does it stay there once it's there?
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Post by Bob K » Wed Dec 30, 2015 01:40

Here you go Lou, scroll down to lowering Ph

http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage ... ty-hurdles
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Post by LOUSANTELLO » Thu Dec 31, 2015 18:55

Ok. I really don't know what this is telling me now being I did not test the PH when I filled the bags, but let's try this. My book is on the way, in the meantime, I received my Milwaukee MW102 with the meat probe today. I performed a full calibration. I cut one of the one pound soppressata's in half and tied the ends off of each one making 2 halves. I had about 4 oz of meat between the two that I used for my PH test. Yesterday was day 14 in the refrigerator after the 72 hour fermentation. The weight loss is anywhere from 13-17% weight loss per unit. The meat has no signs of odor and the PH is reading 5.53. Opinions? Thanks
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Post by Bob K » Thu Dec 31, 2015 19:25

My Opinion-

You fermented at too low of a temp to get a Ph drop below 5.3.

You added only 1% salt.

The sausage is drying slowly (for the UMAI process) and is not firming up, as a result of the above.

Even at the refrigerator temps with the Umai process you can still have spoilage.

Not great odds for a safe product :cry:

P.S. How did you check the Ph...details
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