Okay, this is another question that I've had that has yet to be resolved since starting on making jerky a couple-few weeks ago. This one should be the easiest to answer.
Before I begin, I've learned very frustratingly that most of the information out there on jerky making is FAR from scientific. I've never seen so much "ehh, about as much as feels right" or other undefined things in my life. I am a Molecular and Cellular Biologist so all this wishy-washy stuff has had me pulling at my hair (figuratively of course)!
The topic of this thread:
*I use Ground Turkey (93% Lean/7% Fat) for all of my jerky. I will continue to use this until a consistently cheaper alternative comes along, which is unlikely to happen (besides Chicken).
In reading around the internet I noticed a consensus for testing when jerky is done/good to go (i.e. stop the dehydration). I just refer to it as a "Bend Test" now, as the method that everybody seems to recommend for checking if your meat is dehydrated perfectly well entails bending one of the sticks that you have dehydrating.
HOW much do you bend it when doing a "bend test?" I actually performed searches for just this because you know, I like to do things right, and surprise surprise, out of all the results I only found two where the person actually described how much to bend it - but they both said essentially opposite things. One said to bend it ALL the way (i.e. bend it until the meat has folded back on to itself; i.e. almost a 180º bend), whereas the second source said to only bend it slightly. Slightly to me is around a 20º degree bend. These two conflicting opinions on the matter are obviously vastly different in terms of how much fluid retention would keep the packed meat pliable enough to bend to these points. And since I would like to make jerky the RIGHT way, I would like to know what is the actual correct way to perform this bend test for doneness? If somebody has pictures, that would be awesome. Otherwise, please just describe what I should be seeing.
Do I only barely bend the ground turkey piece (i.e. bend only approximately 20º)? Or do I really want to be able to fold the meat all the way back onto itself (i.e. approximately 180º bend)? Or should I be able to only bend it to about a 90º bend until it starts forming small tears? What exactly am I looking for too, when doing this? Am I looking for only small tears in the ground turkey stick, or should I continue to dehydrate until there is complete breakage when bending to the 'bend point'?
Please keep in mind that I'm not using steak meat, I'm using ground turkey and as such the meat is already less cohesively held together as it is. If I should be using some other "test for doneness" when using ground turkey, please let me know.
Any help with this would be much appreciated. It seems like such a small thing, but getting this right literally determines whether I'm making jerky sticks.. or jerky chips
Thanks for any input, I appreciate ALL of it!