Culatello Cover 2.0

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indaswamp

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Apr 27, 2017
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South Louisiana-Yes, it is HOT
Spent A LOT of time thinking on this problem on how to slow the airflow down to create a micro-climate around the Culatello for optimal drying. I really dialed in on exactly how it is done in Italy and that took a monumental effort surfing the Internet. They don't give these secrets away...I had to figure it out the Sherlock Holmes way...
So, during first mold fermentation, the ambient air is cold...30-40*F with 85-90%RH from the fog off the Po River. They open windows and allow the cold humid air in, but warm the fermentation room with heaters/candles to 53-56*F and 73-85%RH for 5 weeks. Then the heat is shut off and the cold damp air fills the room for first winter fog (32-42*F; 80-85%RH) for 4 months.

My Culatello cover 1.0 worked, but the humidity would spike too high. It was not ideal. This is how I improved the cover...I went all natural instead of using a plastic bucket. I saved all the casings off the most recent runs of salami I made. Then I stapled the pieces together so that I had roughly 6-7" wide X 14-16" long blankets made from the old mold covered casings. I made 8 of these, then punched a hole at the end of each one....then tied two together (as pictured below) ran the hanging rope for the culatello through the string loop. This gave me coverage on two sides. I hung one on each open side to cover the culatello completely with my casing blankets...also took one square and punched a hole in the center then ran the culatello hang rope through the hole for coverage on top. I put the mold side towards the surface of the Culatello. This did a number of things....1-mold in close contact with the fresh casing caused a mold growth explosion on the Culatello. 2- the micro-climate near the surface of the piece is optimum for mold growth with the humidity running +3-4% above the chamber humidity (set at 80-81.5%). I am now relying on the moisture evaporating off the surface to keep the RH high near the surface instead of using the chamber humidifier to fill the inverted bucket. 3- the blankets are permeable and thus breathable unlike the plastic bucket. This slows moisture evaporation and keeps the surface of the casing supple from the high RH% but never allowing the RH% to spike like my old cover would. 4. Air flow from a frost free unit is never allowed to come into direct contact with the surface of the Culatello...this replicates the stale air environment the Culatello are dried in...which is around 3/4" per second movement. 5. During the cooling cycle, when the evaporator coil is condensing moisture from the chamber, the RH% close to the Culatello surface is kept high preventing case hardening. 6. Since I don't have mold covered terra cotta walls of a cellar, the mold covered casing replicates this nicely....mold growth is stupid crazy! It even starts growing on what was the salami side of the casing and white spores cover everything in the chamber..the walls, the humidifier, the racks...everywhere!
IMG_20221216_201648.jpg


So far so good. Much better than my original idea with the buckets. The mold is going absolutely CRAZY and the pieces are drying nicely. I like it!
 
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I’ll be honest, you are way over my head, but I’m sure you know that🤣 it’s cool to read about though and very fascinating! Looking forward to seeing how it turns out!
 
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