First time making fermented sausage

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Post by atcNick » Wed Nov 14, 2012 14:59

After this batch of salami is done I'm going to have to modify my curing chamber. Since the recent cold front passed through and my chamber sits in the garage, the freezer hasn't had to come on often. By not coming on its not dehumidifying. I'm having to open the freezer several times a day now to bring th humidity down. It's been shooting to 90% the last couple days. I guess I will have to mount a fan with some holes drilled so exchange some air.
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Post by TSMODIE » Wed Nov 14, 2012 18:19

Thats what i did Nick, the humidity would not come down, especially in the first month of drying, i ripped apart an old computer for the fan and power source, but it was too old to work. I found a website, www.coolerguys.com , and got a power adaptor for 10 bucks, a fan for 6 dollars and a reostat for speed control for 4.95, very resonable and its all plug and play. for a timer I got one off AMAZON for 14 dollars, this really helped my humidity, it now stays between 72% and 77%. and the smell in the cabinet is almost gone. I dont know if you are having strong odors in yours, but mine has had it for awhile,Tim
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Post by Cabonaia » Wed Nov 14, 2012 23:53

Now that the weather is cooler I'm having the same problem, but I did not connect it with the fact that the fridge comes on less often - thus less dehumidfying effect. With just 2 coppas hanging in there, and the humidifier off, I will still get RH spikes if I don't pay attention.

Here is another way of installing a fan. Get a cheap computer fan at Fry's or some store like it. ~$5. Two wires come out of it. Get an old cell phone charger and snip off the phone-side plug, strip the two wires, and connect them to the computer fan. Now control on-off any way you want. If you have a control unit that will turn on a dehumidifier, just plug the fan into that. Did this with a home-made egg incubator, and it worked well. You need ventilation holes, and you can adjust those by putting tape over some of them if there is too much air exchange.

I don't have a fan in my curing chamber because I am worried about too much air movement. I have a light bulb on a dimmer switch. Turning on the light takes care of high RH. If it drops the RH too low, the humidifier comes on. If it warms the cabinet too much, the fridge comes on (because it's run through a controller). It doesn't take too much adjustment to keep the fridge and humidifer from working too hard due to the fact that the bulb is on. I just keep dimming it more until a decent balance is achieved. The right balance seems to come from a very dim bulb.

Not exactly elegant, but it works, and is cheap and easy.

BTW, I tilt a foil pan over the bulb so it does not shine on the sausage, as fat is sensitive to light.

Hope this info is useful to someone.

Cheers,
Jeff
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Post by Baconologist » Thu Nov 15, 2012 18:32

atcNick wrote:Baconologist, the meat and fat were both ran through the grinder once. I put all the grinder parts in the freezer before I ground.
The following comment is no a criticism!

I think you'll have better luck if you run the meat and fat through at least a couple progressively smaller grinder plate bores.

Less damage to the meat and less of a chance of fat smearing.

Better yet, dice the fat rather than run it through the grinder.
Godspeed!

Bob
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Post by atcNick » Fri Nov 16, 2012 01:07

Thanks Bob, I've read that before. Guess I will try that next time.
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Post by atcNick » Wed Nov 21, 2012 14:55

Day 43. 30-34% loss 2 days ago. Texture has much improved. Not quite ready yet though, I will check in a week or so again. Here's a picture from today.

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Post by TSMODIE » Wed Nov 21, 2012 16:55

THATlooks fantastic Nick, I still havent cut into mine yet, i think my Salami will be at least another 4 weeks, it is at 42 days now, and still soft, it is twice the diameter of the pepperoni I made, so i figure its going to go at leat 80 days, the drying has slowed alot, the fastest drying was in the first 4 weeks, now slowed down alot, this patience thing is hard, Tim
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Post by redzed » Wed Nov 21, 2012 19:18

Nice colour Nick. And even though it's drying slowly compared to mine, it's drying evenly, absolutely no sign of case hardening at all. Should be a hit when it's time for those Christmas season parties! But, are you using a dull knife to slice it?

Chris
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Post by atcNick » Mon Nov 26, 2012 07:45

Chris, the knife I used was sharp. The grinding knife may have been dull, I bought a replacement.

Here's what I have at 48 days and 34-37% loss. Still too soft in my opinion. Haven't tried it yet, gave the dog a slice, he's still alive so that's good! There's still a funny smell to it. Not bad or rotting, just different.

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Post by TSMODIE » Mon Nov 26, 2012 18:02

Nick, that smell will dissapate, on my pepperoni, when it was at about 45%, the smell and taste was drastically decreased, but it still remains aliitle bit, which give it a great flavor, after w while I start to crave it, i just wheighed my Salamis this morning, and they are at about 36% at 45 days, They still feel a lttle soft, but are firming up nicely, I suspect another 4 weeks. the drying have decreased alot in the last 2 weeks, If you send me you address, i will send you one of my pepperonis to try, they are fantastic, and I cant wait for the Salamis,Tim
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Post by uwanna61 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 03:06

Nick
First question, how did you come up with a total meat weight of 4734 grams? I reviewed the recipe and all the ingredients are for a batch of 1000 grams (1 kg) or 2.2lbs of meat. If we multiply by 5 that would give us 5000 grams at 5kgs or 11lbs total.
The second question I have, how did you mix the batch, by hand or a meat mixer? The one thing I have learned over the years of making salami is, mix the product well, this holds true with semi or full fermented salami`s.
At the start of the mix, the salt & curing salts need to go in the "cold meat" first, and I emphasis on keeping the meat cold as possible! I will mix the salts with the meat for a minimum of 2 minutes, if you watch closely you can actually see the muscle tissue break down in the meat and it will become tacky.
Below is a write up from the Wedliney Domowe web site on mixing, I would encourage all sausage makers to read this!
http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/sausage-making/mixing-meat
If the meat/fat mixture is not mixed adequately (then the salt/myosin reaction will be minimal and the water holding capacity and the meat binding capacities will be reduced. Apply some force when mixing, kneading might be a good word for it. This will help to extract proteins which will combine with salt and water and will create a sticky meat mass. This will hold meat particles together and will result in a good texture.
My concerns when I hear that your product is beyond the 30% drying range and with an ammonia odor, my 1st thoughts, this is not a good thing. But maybe with a little drying time it can be saved.
I would recommend on your next batch, try a smaller batch until you become accustomed to this art. Don`t give up, it can be a little tricky at times, but like any other craft, time and experience will prevail! Soon you will make a salami you will be proud of I`m sure of this!
Wally
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Post by Chuckwagon » Wed Nov 28, 2012 03:37

Ah ha! I was wondering if the ol' master would lend some critique'! Thanks Wally.
Hey Nick, I've known Wally (Uwanna) for the best part of three centuries! Why... he and I went to different schools together! :shock: Uwanna is our "resident expert" when it comes to fermented sausage. He makes the best lookin' dry-cured products I've ever seen. So... when he speaks, make sure you've got your ears cleaned out. :wink: He really knows what he is talking about. I didn't even pick up on the weight difference in your sausage.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
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Post by atcNick » Thu Nov 29, 2012 01:23

uwanna61 wrote:Nick
First question, how did you come up with a total meat weight of 4734 grams? I reviewed the recipe and all the ingredients are for a batch of 1000 grams (1 kg) or 2.2lbs of meat. If we multiply by 5 that would give us 5000 grams at 5kgs or 11lbs total.
That's how much meat I had and I just adjusted the other ingredients accordingly, keeping the same ratios.

uwanna61 wrote: The second question I have, how did you mix the batch, by hand or a meat mixer? The one thing I have learned over the years of making salami is, mix the product well, this holds true with semi or full fermented salami`s.
At the start of the mix, the salt & curing salts need to go in the "cold meat" first, and I emphasis on keeping the meat cold as possible! I will mix the salts with the meat for a minimum of 2 minutes, if you watch closely you can actually see the muscle tissue break down in the meat and it will become tacky.
I mixed it by hand. It was for atleast two minutes for sure. Meat was very cold, so cold it actually hurt while mixing.
uwanna61 wrote: Below is a write up from the Wedliney Domowe web site on mixing, I would encourage all sausage makers to read this!
http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/sausage-making/mixing-meat
If the meat/fat mixture is not mixed adequately (then the salt/myosin reaction will be minimal and the water holding capacity and the meat binding capacities will be reduced. Apply some force when mixing, kneading might be a good word for it. This will help to extract proteins which will combine with salt and water and will create a sticky meat mass. This will hold meat particles together and will result in a good texture.


My concerns when I hear that your product is beyond the 30% drying range and with an ammonia odor, my 1st thoughts, this is not a good thing. But maybe with a little drying time it can be saved.
I would recommend on your next batch, try a smaller batch until you become accustomed to this art. Don`t give up, it can be a little tricky at times, but like any other craft, time and experience will prevail! Soon you will make a salami you will be proud of I`m sure of this!
Wally
Thanks Wally, I appreciate it. I guess only thing to do know is just wait and see what happens.
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Post by atcNick » Thu Nov 29, 2012 01:26

TSMODIE wrote:Nick, that smell will dissapate, on my pepperoni, when it was at about 45%, the smell and taste was drastically decreased, but it still remains aliitle bit, which give it a great flavor, after w while I start to crave it, i just wheighed my Salamis this morning, and they are at about 36% at 45 days, They still feel a lttle soft, but are firming up nicely, I suspect another 4 weeks. the drying have decreased alot in the last 2 weeks, If you send me you address, i will send you one of my pepperonis to try, they are fantastic, and I cant wait for the Salamis,Tim
Thanks Tim. I appreciate it.
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Post by atcNick » Tue Dec 04, 2012 02:08

Well....Im at day 55 and I weighed the salamis. I cut open a different one this time, one that was at 40% loss. Still not where I think it's suppose to be. I have not built up the courage to try it since Im not positive that I havent screwed something up in the process. The dog likes it, and he's still alive, so thats a good sign.

Im attaching a few pictures and a video clip. Let me know what you guys think. Im not really sure where Im at at this point.

Short video clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8s2Ykt6gPc

Image
The little yellow spots are the fennel seeds

EDIT: I just realized the picture I posted is of the salami that I've been cutting on before. This piece was close to the end so thats why I think it looks like it has some case hardening.
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