Could different acidity level slow down the drying speed?

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wasuky
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Could different acidity level slow down the drying speed?

Post by wasuky » Wed May 12, 2021 16:24

So, here's the thing. My last batch of salami turned out great in flavor but poor in texture as it was kinda crumbly and imposible to cut it in thin slides.

I basically cured the lean meat for 2 days with 28gr/kg sal and 2,5gr/kg cure#2,
ground it and mix it with the starter, 5gr/kg sugar and spices,
fermented at 30ºC (impossible to go below that temp) and 80-90% RH for 3 days and stuffed in 34mm hog casings.
I used P. Camemberti to spray the casings but seems they were all dead since nothing grew on.

It's impossible to find real starter where I live so I started reading studies in which P. Rhmanosus and P. Acidophilus were successfully used, so I decided to use the same. They come liquid in small containers of 10ml which contain 1x10^8 - 1x10^9 UFC/ml of each probiotic. I use 5ml of this liquid for 1kg of meat ( I still don't know if it's too much, since I haven't found info about it).

After the 2nd day the sausages started to get hairy (white hairy mold with black rounded tips) so I had to wipe them with vinegar water.

Anyway as I said they turned out nice in flavor but impossible to slide.

I started thinking about my last batch before that one. I used the same process, same recipe and the sausages were awesome (I was proud).... the difference was that I fermented that one for 2 days (I was aiming for 3 but my son broke the protector against insects I use on my fermentation chamber and some flies tried to go in so I moved everything into the drying chamber).

Was it possible that that 1 extra day of fermentation made the ph to go down, making the sausage too acidic and therefor breaking the bind?

After that thought I made 3 sausages of 100gr each, using the same recipe and same process but this time I fermented one for 1 day, another for 2 days and the other one for 3 days. They are now in the drying chamber hanging one next to the other and 10 days have past.

Last night I checked the weight of each one and I noticed different weight loss in each one.

The one fermented for 1 day have lost 27%.
The one fermented for 2 days have lost 20%.
The one fermented for 3 day have lost 11%.

Any explanation about this?
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Re: Could different acidity level slow down the drying speed?

Post by wasuky » Wed May 12, 2021 23:33

I was thinking.... during fermentation, sausages started feel kinda greasy as they were losing a little bit of liquid fat. Of course, the one fermentated for 2days was a bit more greasy than the one fermented for 1 day and less greasy than the one fermented for 3 days. I never wiped this grease off the casing.

Could it be that this greasy layer on the casing is preventing the humidity to leave the sausage?

When I say "the casings feel kinda a greasy" i don't mean like someone spreaded some fat on them... they just feel a bit greasy. Everytime I touch them, my fingers are left with a bit of oil on them.
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Re: Could different acidity level slow down the drying speed?

Post by Indaswamp » Thu May 13, 2021 05:40

To answer your question, yes...acidity affects drying time.

As the salami pH approaches 4.6-4.8, the isoelectroc point of the meat is reached and it becomes harder for the meat to hold onto water molecules so it becomes easier for water to leave the salami and diffuse out to the surface of the salami.
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Re: Could different acidity level slow down the drying speed?

Post by Mmmm Meat » Thu May 20, 2021 07:48

I like how you're testing your product to determine what exactly is going on. It all sounds pretty logical. I can't even imagine how you made three 100g sausages exactly the same weight - that would drive me nuts. The only thing I can remember (at midnight) is that low fat content (and possibly low moisture) cause crumbly sausages.

You didn't say what your fat content was. If it was above 20 percent or so, that is likely not the problem. I'm curious how you are measuring pH (or what your pH was) litmus test strips or by meter? I'm racking my brain for a possibly reason why pH might affect drying and I can't come up with anything at all. My brain (at midnight) says that pH around 5.0 +/- .3 or so doesn't affect drying. Idaswamp's input suggests that pH lower than that would enhance drying which doesn't seem to be your problem ( I believe). You're not drying it enough as I read it.

Two issues to explore for potential sources of your problems in my mind are 1) the starter used 2) other contributing factors related to fat smearing, melting, or similar that would restrict water loss from the chubs.

Did you ever consider asking someone who lives in the US to purchase and mail some quality starter to you? Is that even possible"? I didn't explore it but I see that there are a lot of starter cultures listed on eBay. I didn't see starters for meat fermentation but it might be worth investigating.
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Re: Could different acidity level slow down the drying speed?

Post by wasuky » Thu May 20, 2021 17:03

Mmmm Meat wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 07:48
I can't even imagine how you made three 100g sausages exactly the same weight - that would drive me nuts.
Just made 3 meat balls of 100gr each and stuffed them using a small horn I made.
Mmmm Meat wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 07:48
You didn't say what your fat content was.
I always use 30% of backfat and 70% of lean meat (as lean as I can make it without losing my mind).
Mmmm Meat wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 07:48
I'm curious how you are measuring pH (or what your pH was) litmus test strips or by meter? I'm racking my brain for a possibly reason why pH might affect drying and I can't come up with anything at all.
I am not measuring pH as meters are just way too expensive for my pocket right now and the test strips I can find go from 1-14 and I don't know if I can reliably use them under those ranges. In the studies I read where P. Acidophillus and P. Rhamnosus were used, the pH reached the safe zone in 24hrs-36hrs, so I am fermenting that long hoping (this word here just makes me wanna cry) the pH is there.
Mmmm Meat wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 07:48
2) other contributing factors related to fat smearing, melting, or similar that would restrict water loss from the chubs.
I don't this is the issue as I keep the meat and fat cubes a bit frozen and I always add the fat after I feel the meat is quite sticky. After I mix the fat I throw everything back to the freezer until the moment I stuff. Even thought I read this several times, I learnt it the hard way.

I came to the conclusion that the slow down was caused by the very thin greasy film on the casings. The sausage fermented for 3 days (the slower one) had this greasy film and even thought it was think, it was thicker than the ones on the other 2 sausages. I left it at 63-67% RH for 5 days and there was no sign of hard casing (it was not hard to the touch). I wiped it out and after 1 day in the same RH parameters, the casing went dry and the surface started feeling hard. After 4 more days, it had lost 13%.

So a new question comes up in my mind. Is this thin greasy film on the casings normal? I ferment in a melamine plywood box I made and front is opened with a fabric mesh (to keep insects out) and a transparent plastic that allows me to fully close it or open it as much as I need (depending on how high or low the RH is). The RH is usually 65% around the house (the same in the box) but when I throw in some sausages, it goes up like crazy. The transparent plastic allows me to fully close it if I want to keep humidity or to gradually open it if I need to release some of it.
wasuky wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 16:24
Was it possible that that 1 extra day of fermentation made the ph to go down, making the sausage too acidic and therefor breaking the bind?
The sausages fermented for 1 and 2 days were perfect in taste and texture with 32% weight lost. They could be slided with no problem. The sausage fermented for 3 days with 34% weight lost was impossible to slide. So I suppose the acidic does break somehow the bind.
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Re: Could different acidity level slow down the drying speed?

Post by wasuky » Thu May 20, 2021 17:10

wasuky wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 17:03
So a new question comes up in my mind. Is this thin greasy film on the casings normal? I ferment in a melamine plywood box I made and front is opened with a fabric mesh (to keep insects out) and a transparent plastic that allows me to fully close it or open it as much as I need (depending on how high or low the RH is). The RH is usually 65% around the house (the same in the box) but when I throw in some sausages, it goes up like crazy. The transparent plastic allows me to fully close it if I want to keep humidity or to gradually open it if I need to release some of it.
Now this got me thinking. I''ve got this box located in the kitchen and even thought it does not receive direct sunlight, it does get some of the light that comes through the window.

The 3 sausages I made, after a few days in the drying chamber, started to develop some mold but only in one side of the sausages (I use P. Camemberti). I thought it was some natural mold but now I remember that the same happened in my last batch in which only the sausages at the back of the fermenting chamber develop some mold (almost non noticeable).

- Sausages during fermentation need to be 100% isolated of any type of light, even thought in my case, there is no direct sunlight hitting the box?
- Could the sunlight inhibit the Penicillium growth? I tried to find some info about this but found nothing.
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Re: Could different acidity level slow down the drying speed?

Post by Indaswamp » Fri May 21, 2021 20:07

yes, sunlight will affect the growth of the Penicillium mold...
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Re: Could different acidity level slow down the drying speed?

Post by Mmmm Meat » Sat May 22, 2021 19:20

light on curing sausages also increases the rate that the fat goes rancid.

I've never had an issue of fat weeping out of a casing during a ferment but I believe it is not uncommon. Surely someone with more experience knows the answer to that question. The only other thing I would suggest is that you keep the RH at 90 - 100% during the ferment and then working your way down to around 80% for the drying. Good luck!
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