Bresaola - Recipe and Calculator

Sliced Bresaola

For those that don't know, Bresaola is an air-dried beef that originates in the north of Italy. In the past, I've always made it using Jason Molinari's recipe from The recipe below, whilst very different from Jason's, owes its heritage to his. I've removed the cinnamon and clove, reduced the other spices and added a small amount of garlic.

The best of the Italian versions, Bresaola della Valtellina, uses meat from the leg: the cuts we know as topside, silverside and top rump (thick flank). In the US 'Eye of round' would be a good choice. It's best with a piece of meat from one muscle to avoid connective tissue - I used Silverside for mine.

Weigh the meat and use the following percentages of the meat's weight for the other ingredients:

Salt 2.8%
Sugar 0.5%
Cure #2 - 0.25%
Black Pepper 0.4%
Dried Garlic 0.2%
Dried Thyme 0.05%
Crushed Juniper Berries 0.05%
Dried Rosemary (I used home-dried) 0.025%
If you want to use cure #1 and saltpetre instead of cure #2, use the same amount of cure #1 as you would have used cure #2 and add 0.015% saltpetre

It's easier to work out the amounts using this calculator:

Weight of Meat in grams gm
Salt gm
Sugar gm
Cure #2 gm
Seasoning Weights:
Ground Black Pepper gm
Garlic Powder gm
Dried Thyme gm
Crushed Juniper Berries gm
Dried Rosemary gm
Total Weight of Cure gm
Instead of Cure #2 you can use Cure #1 plus Saltpetre. The amounts are:
Cure #1 gm
Saltpetre gm
If using US Cure #2 reduce the amount to:
US Cure #2 gm

To make the bresaola, start by trimming the meat of all fat and 'silverskin', the white and silvery colored connective tissue found on some meat.

Silverside of beef
Trimming the meat

When it has been trimmed, weigh it, make a note of the weight, and use the calculator to work out the weights of the other ingredients. Then measure them out and mix them together thoroughly.

The bresaola ingredients

Rub the ingredients into the meat well, then either put it into 'cling film' and wrap it up well, or put it into a food grade plastic bag and wrap it tightly, or seal it in a vac-bag, removing the air so that the bag's in full contact with the meat, but not under vacuum. Put it into the fridge for 30 days, rubbing it occasionally through the bag.

Image from a previous project

Cure it in a bag

After 30 days, rinse the meat in cold water, then dry it with a paper towel, weigh it and make a note of the weight, and put it into the fridge for a day for the surface to dry.

At the same time as you do this, if you're in the UK or other place where commercial mould culture is not readily available, you may want to make your own culture for the mould on the outside of the meat. Either, scrape some white mould from a commercial salami, or from one of your own, and add a pinch of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of bottled water, or any other drinkable water without chlorine or preservatives. Cover it, and leave it at room temperature.

The bresaola will be dried in a casing. I used a Collagen one, but you may prefer to use an ox bung or beef cap casing as collagens are quite difficult to get in small quantities. If so, you could put a piece of it that's enough to cover the bresaola in to soak in cold water at this stage.

The following day, if you are using a collagen casing, prepare it according to the suppliers instructions - in this case, 1 hour in a 10% brine. Then dry any surplus water off the casing using a paper towel and put the meat into the casing and tie it with string tightly.

Images from a previous project

Tie the casing tightly
Tie it to exclude air

If there are any air bubbles, prick them with a needle that's been sterilised by holding it briefly in a flame. Weigh the meat and make a note of the weight. Then brush/rub it all over with the 'mould liquid' that we made earlier, or with a commercial mould culture, such as Mold 600 (US website) prepared according to the manufacturers instructions. Hang the bresaola in your drying fridge or other place where a temperature between 10°C (50°f) and 15.6°C (approx 60°f) with a relative humidity (RH) between 75% and 85% can be maintained. I put mine in my Curing Chamber - a fridge that has been converted to maintain the temperature and humidity that I want. I find that I have less problems when I run the chamber around 12°C with a RH around 75% - 80%. In the early stages, the RH may be in the 90's; this is perfectly normal when using a small curing chamber and somewhat desirable; we want the RH in the curing chamber to lower gradually as the meat dries.

The meat will develop a coat of dry white mould, don't be alarmed if initially a slightly fuzzy mould forms as this often precedes the dry one we want. However, fuzzy mould that lingers, or any mould that isn't white isn't wanted - but you shouldn't have that problem if you've used the mould culture above. Here's the bresaola 3½ weeks into drying, it's covered with a good white mould that's keeping all the nasty ones at bay. It's lost about 28% of its post-cure weight:

Bresaola Drying

I continued to dry it for 48 days when it had lost just over 40% of its post-cure weight. It doesn't look much after de-casing:


But sliced is another matter altogether:

Sliced Bresaola

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There are 24 comments


Wow this looks amazing! Never tried it before and looks like fun and simple enough to try. Thanks for sharing!

Annie, - 07-10-’14 20:25

That looks awesome Phil. Nice work!

DanMcG, - 20-10-’14 04:31

Thanks Dan.

Phil, - 20-10-’14 21:33

Do the days of the curing depend on the weight of the meat in generally ?

Mark, - 05-03-’15 04:36

In general terms, and in curing methods that use large quantities of cure/salt, yes it does.

However, the method above only uses enough salt/cure to give the desired level, so within reason, it can’t over-cure.

I hope this helps.


Phil, - 11-03-’15 15:30
Graham Langdon-Down

Phil, I think the white mould is just Penicillium Candidum, and can be obtained from cheese making supplers.

Graham Langdon-Down, - 16-06-’15 05:59

Hi Graham

The salami mould is Penicillium nalgiovense which is very similar to the cheese mould.

I’ve used the cheese mould, but in my opinion, it definitely gives a sweaty cheese smell and taste.

I prefer the mould cultivated from a commercial salami.

That said, either will help protect against undesirable mould.

Hope this helps.

Phil, - 17-06-’15 00:33
julian farquhar

Hi Phil
I am now 5 days into your Braesola recipe. Doing it exactly in quantities but customised a smidgeon with Hungarian heritage. First timer. I worried a little at the tiny amount of covering the cure made. But having to trust the process. It’s in the Fridge. Question: I would like a natural not collagen casing and have tried to find Hog casings. Here in New Zealand they just are not available or very difficult to find. Do you have a reliable source and recommendation?

julian farquhar, - 01-06-’17 10:49

My apologies for the delay in replying. Please let me know how you got on.

Phil, - 09-07-’17 13:21

thanks for the recipe .looked good enough for me to try it ..ive done the 30days in the fridge and now im 5days in the curing chamber (fridge as in your photo but not as fancy)what im wondering is when should the mold develop ? i dont see any yet ..i used a mondostart surface starter culture but it was about at its shelf life so wondering if it didnt take or it takes a bit? no other molds temp just over 12*c and hu*80ish .thanks for any info

bruce, - 26-12-’17 23:16
Phil Young

Mould would normally develop in the early stages of drying: particularly with a mould culture. However, no mould isn’t a cause for concern, particularly as this product doesn’t have the fermentation period at higher temperatures that (say) a salami would. You’ll also find that over time your fridge/chamber will produce mould more easily as it becomes almost inoculated by the moulds developing on products. Your temperature is fine at 12°C and so is your humidity. Try to reduce the humidity gradually as the bresaola dries. I look forward to hearing about your resulting bresaola. It’s one of my favourite salumi and one where you can let your imagination run riot with flavours. Enjoy!

Phil Young, - 27-12-’17 17:29

thanks Phil ill stay in touch with some finished product

bruce, - 29-12-’17 15:49

ive just finished my bresaola and it turned out perfect i think taste is good .not sure how to post pics of it

bruce, - 13-02-’18 22:59

Hi Bruce,

Glad you liked it. Unfortunately there’s no facility here to post pictures in comment.

Phil, - 20-02-’18 16:28

Hi Phil,
thank you for the recipe and the calculator, one question – the fridge curing dime seems to be a little long, is there a reason? I would think 2 weeks should be enough considering this cut thickness.
Thank you!

Den, - 28-05-’18 18:37

You’re correct 15-21 days would be fine. However, whether it’s just me, but I find that beef doesn’t cure as easily as pork. I tend to leave it a little longer given that with a measured cure it’s not an issue as it can’t ‘over-cure’.

Phil, - 28-05-’18 19:05

Thanks so much for the information! I really appreciate the calculator. Cheers from Tennessee, USA.

ET, - 20-07-’18 05:31
Phil Young

Many thanks

Phil Young, - 31-07-’18 19:45

Hi, I’ve been looking into converting a wine fridge/cooler into a chamber but before I take that step have you or know someone who’s tried these umai dry ageing bags, seems you just put your joint in one and put it in your own fridge for a few weeks? Not sure whether they work well or not, thanks

Adam, - 09-08-’18 16:58
Phil Young

Hi Adam,

I was offered some for review a while ago, but declined as I wasn’t able to make anything at the time, so don’t know much about them. From what I’ve read on Facebook groups they seem like Marmite – people either love ‘em or hate them.

The images I’ve seen certainly look they work. Maybe try one with a pancetta or chorizo, something quick, and see.

Please let me know how you get on.

Phil Young, - 09-08-’18 18:59

foo Bresaola recipe. Hi. query you will have the formula of the calculator in excel to save it on my pc .thanks.
greetings from Chile

carlo, - 20-02-’20 21:52
Phil Young

Sorry, I don’t have a spreadsheet of this. Please feel free to download the web-page to use offline.

Phil Young, - 02-03-’20 15:31

Thanks for this recipe! I just cut a few slices of my first attempt, and the wife is eating it as fast as I can cut it! I borrowed some mold from a salami, and the eventual covering was perfect.
Some small variations that I tried:
First step, let it soak in red wine for a day. Will do for a shorter time, or not at all, next time.
Added 0.4% finely ground roasted coriander seeds to the mix (biltong style, which I make often). This worked really well.
Didn’t have juniper berries.
Wrapped it in cheesecloth with butcher’s twine instead of a casing.
As a new hobby during lockdown, I’m now also making French style dried pork filet mignon (success), French style dried beouf (bit too salty), biltong, and traditional South African boerewors (farmer sausage).

Ben, - 23-05-’20 10:53

Thanks Ben. It sounds as if you’ve got the bug!

Phil, - 16-06-’20 15:27

I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the forum.

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