My Petard's Been Hoisted!

I was in 'two minds' whether to write my last post about the Genoa Salami, particularly as it was the 'trial run' for the new drying fridge set-up. However, given that things were going so well, I decided to.

The offending salamiIt seems that my optimism was premature, as when the sausage had lost about 37% of it's initial weight in only 18 days, I cut it and found that my worst fears had been realised - the outside of the meat had hardened leaving the inside somewhat soft.

Worse than that, and a cardinal sin for someone who advises others on curing and sausage making, I had 'smeared' the fat. Instead of it being in nice separate pieces it's all mixed up with the meat. This not only affects the looks of the finished product, but also interferes with the drying of the sausage; the fat fills the tiny gaps between the meat making the movement of moisture from the inside of the salami more difficult. Oh well, it'll do for pizza toppings - if the piece I've just eaten doesn't kill me first!

The smearing of the fat is totally my fault; it's an error that I just shouldn't have made. The case hardening though is just one of those things. For the 'enthusiastic amateur' without the resources of a commercial producer, setting up a new system is inevitably a case of trial and error. Next time, rather than use the large fan fitted in my fridge continuously during the fermentation stage, I will use the smaller one intermittently. In mitigation though, I believe that the humidity recommendations in the recipe are too low, not least at the start of the drying period.

Having said all this, am I being to hard on myself? Making allowances for the poor photograph above, the finished article looks not too dissimilar to the one on the original recipe.

Maybe I should have played safe and just written about the bacon, ham and sausage that I made at the same time as this salami - they were all superb!

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Genoa Salami

To try out my new drying fridge I wanted a simple salami recipe and chose one of Len Poli's (adobe .pdf file). It's a Genoa salami, but it's not of Italian origin; the famous Italian salami from the Genoa area is Salame Sant'Olcese, this recipe's wholly American.

I adapted the recipe slightly to use cure #1 and saltpetre instead of cure 2, also to replace the wine as my wife can't have alcohol and to increase the salt slightly. I also used acidophilus instead of the starter cure. Ridiculous though it may seem, the starter cultures used in the US aren't available in the UK even though the Danish manufacturer has UK offices. I normally use Bessastart or LS-25 instead, but in the absence of either, acidophilus is an acceptable substitute.

The meat was stuffed into 60mm casings as against the 100mm ones in the original recipe. They were fermented for 48 hours and have been drying for a further 4 days:

Genoa Salami

So far, I'm pleased with the way the new curing chamber/fridge is working. I guess that the final "proof of the pudding" will be in the tasting though. I am slightly worried that I have estimated the airflow incorrectly - this can result in the outside hardening before the inside of the salami is dry. For fear of this, I've set the fan to operate only when the fridge motor is running, rather than continuously.

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