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Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 15:14
by atcNick
Great response! Thank you mr chuck!! I'll definitely be cutting one open soon. I'm out of town til Sunday or Monday, expect to see pictures after that.

Little man Evan is growing fast, 4 years old now. He tries to help but he's more of a bacteria culture at this point more than anything haha! He loves to eat everything I make though and is about as excited about it all like I am. Thanks again dude!

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 20:43
You did a great job there nick, your mold developed alot more than mine, My Salami is at about the same weight loss as yours, I am keeping mine in a little longer, i cut open my Pepperoni today at 40%, and i still think it needs another week, the taste is great, but would prefer it alittle firmer, i have followed yours progress, as mine went in the same time, and i think you had the same problem as me, too high of humidity, not extreme, but i was always in the 80's, and i think that is why i have a few small spots of black mold, which i will remove tonight, this only happened on the Salamis, not the pepperonis, I assume this is because the pepperonis were 1 1/2 inch casings and the salamis are 2 1/2 inch. None the less, yours look great, and am looking foward to the photos soon, here is a picture of the pepperonis at day 30,Tim


Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 18:33
by atcNick
Well I'm at 32% loss on one of my salamis and decided to cut into it today. A little disappointed. It's still pretty soft. Not as red as I was expecting and had a smell thats hard to describe. The only thing I can think of is a nutty ammonia smell. Of course it's hard to say if it's the meat or the casing I was smelling. Still had very much of a raw meat feel and appearance. Here's some pictures and a short video clip. What do y'all think? Is there something going wrong or just not dry enough?


Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 18:43
by atcNick

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 20:34
Hey nick, it looks like it just needs more time, I am experiencing the same thing, i have not cut the Salami yet, but the pepperoni is at 40%, and I deciced to leave it til 50%, It was definately harder than yours, but still alittle soft in the middle, My Salami is at 35%, and just by squeezing them, i can tell its not ready yet, I like my Salami hard through out, but yours look great, no case hardening, did you taste it? Tim

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 21:51
by redzed
I'm really surprised that at 32% loss the salami is still so soft. My finnochiona was is smaller diameter casings but the meat bonded together very well and there is elasticity in the slices. I will be trying my sopressatta in a few minutes and will post pics.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 22:14
by atcNick
Tim, I didn't taste it. Just wasn't too sure about it lol.

Redzed, I'm surprised too that it's not holding together better. I wonder if there is something I didn't do right.

I guess I'll just wait a week or two.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 23:03
One thing I did notice in the 5th picture nick, I looks alot like PACMAN, doesnt have anything to do with the sausage, just noting it,LOL

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 23:26
by Cabonaia
Nick - I agree with the others. Keep drying it.


Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 00:21
by redzed
While I'm certain that CW will be able to analyze your salami correctly, I've been thinking that it might have something to do with the binding process, the mixing, or if you used wine as the finnochiona recipe calls for, the acidity in the wine prevented the myosin proteins to do their job. So it might be the amount of the wine, or the type of the wine. I used 4 oz of home made wine in my 5lb batch and it did not seem to affect it the binding. (I was certainly affected as I drank the remaining 22 oz.) But then, I'm far from being an expert, just speculating.

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 09:55
by Chuckwagon
Hi Nick,
In order for anyone on this site to critique or make comments about your salami, we should have access to the exact recipe you used followed by an exact description of your methodology and technique in crafting it. Only you ... know what went into the mixture and only you... know how you went about grinding, mixing, stuffing and finally fermenting the sausage. Clearly, you`ve chosen a recipe that takes a very long drying period. I don`t know what culture you used, but I suspect it is T-SP or T-SPX. There doesn`t seem to be any case hardening going on, so I believe the egress of moisture is taking place properly although it may be a little slow. Let`s see what a little more time produces. In the mean time, how about posting the recipe and your handling schedule?
Nick, also check the sharpness of your blades in your grinder. Are you putting a little pressure on the plate from the knife by turning the ring down just slightly? The particles of meat show signs of being torn rather than being cleanly sliced. That indicates "smearing". There are about a dozen reasons for mushy centers, but right now, I believe the problem isn`t a problem. It just needs more time to complete the dehydration.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 14:15
by atcNick
Hi Chuck,

I used the salami finocchiona recipe from Marianski's book The Art of Fermented Sausages. Here's the exact amounts of each ingredient from my notes:

4734 grams of lean & fat pork
133 kosher salt
11.4 cure#2
9.5 dextrose
9.5 regular sugar
9.5 white pepper
23.7 black peppercorns
14.25 whole fennel seeds dry
9.5 garlic powder
114 ml chianti
0.57 g (about a 1/4 tsp) of TSPX

It's possible that the grinding knife may be dull, I've had it for a couple years and never have sharpened it. I mixed the meat with all the ingredients together for about 5 minutes. Except I added the wine and tspx at different stages of mixing. I'm pretty sure everything was as clean as can be. I spent an hour and a half cleaning an already clean kitchen and tools before I started using bleach/soap/water.

After stuffing I put them in my curing chamber at 65F & 70%RH for two hours to condition, then I raised the temp to 68F at 88-90%RH. The next day I poured the mold 600 culture solution over each salami. After 77 hours fermenting at 68F I lowered the temperature to 57F and humidity between 80-90%, gradually lowering it to upper 70's to mid 80s.

About the ring, I guess Im tightening as tight as I can, I guess that's too much. Didnt even realize that.

Thanks again Chuck for your expertise!

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 06:17
by Chuckwagon
I know a lot of folks who place their grinder blades on a flat surface such as a pane of glass covered with "wet or dry" auto body sanding paper and attempt to "sharpen" it by removing metal from the "flat" of the blade. Woodworkers like Ross and Sawhorseray are aware that a plane blade is NEVER sharpened on its flat side. Think of the two "flat contact sides" of a pair of scissors. These "flats" come together in contact and rub against one another in use. They must remain "factory flat", within only thousandths of an inch. A cutler never touches them. He does however, grind the beveled edges to sharpen them. Your rotating grinder blade`s contact surface must remain perfectly flat within a few thousandths of an inch. I never attempt to sharpen the flat side (platen side) of the blade. I do, however, use a stone occasionally to touch up the cutting edge surface of the beveled edge. I chuck the blade securely in a vice so it can`t "chatter" then I move the stone ONLY from the leading edge to the rear of the cutting edge - in one direction only. The stone is held precisely at the same angle as the edge. This prevents "high spots" or inconsistent metal removal. For the ultimate in precision, this is best done on a lathe or drill press vise with a slow moving stone

Quality grinding blades are made of hypereutectoid "cast" with a higher content of carbon than most utility knives. In other words, the edges of the "cast" iron blades are extremely hard and cannot be sharpened with a file. It generally requires a very tough "Hard Arkansas" stone to remove any metal at all, and a "Black Hard Arkansas" stone to polish the bevel. Because the cast is so tough, it requires a little experience and a little more time than usual. Many people would rather purchase a new blade than go through the painful process of sharpening their cast iron grinder blade.

This is just my "two-cents worth". Simply my suggestion. Years ago, as my son started getting older, I chose to spend more time with him, and so together we owned and operated "Bear Claw Benchmade Knives" over 25 years and sharpened everything but the I.Q. of our local congressional representative. Our customers would have lynched us if we had sharpened the "flats" on their scissors, plane blades, grinder blades, or any blade that contacts a "platen". I know that there are differing points of view out there and I`ve been through many "discussions" about this subject. This procedure works for me - perhaps it will be of value to you also.

Nick, when you assemble the grinder, turn it on for just a moment while you tighten the ring. You should use just enough pressure to place a very slight "load" on the motor. Listen for the tone of the motor to change. You`ll know it when the pressure "bears" down just ever so slightly. This friction causes lots of heat so be sure to put some softened ice chips or icewater through your machine with the meat.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 07:20
by Baconologist

How many times did you run the meat and fat through the grinder for this project?

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 14:50
by atcNick
Thanks for the info chuck. From your description and my lack of time and experience sharpening I will probably just buy a new blade since they're relatively inexpensive from what I've seen. I've seen different designs, not really sure if they have a specialized purpose. Anything in particular you would recommend?

Baconologist, the meat and fat were both ran through the grinder once. I put all the grinder parts in the freezer before I ground.