Fermentation Question

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BenCarlson

Smoke Blower
Original poster
Jan 27, 2019
78
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I'm looking to get into fermenting sausages. I've read Marianski and have been watching Eric from 2GC as he seems like a very knowledgeable individual and everything he says as far as I can tell jives with Marianski.

My question is in regards to fermenting the sausage with starter culture, particularly by Eric. At times, he will ferment his product in an area with dedicated controllers of temperature and humidity(Marianski approves) yet other times, he will simply wrap it in cling film and let it sit out on his counter as the ambient temperature of the room is close enough to his target temperature for fermentation.

Here's my confusion. Both methods make perfect sense to me, however, they're also basically complete opposite ends of the spectrum(equipment, price, space, etc), with the exception being, both should allow the culture to do it's job.

Surely there's more nuance to it that I'm missing from lack of experience. I'm going to download Marianski's dedicated book on fermented sausage today as my prior readings have been from his more general writings.

Is one method better than the other? In my mind, meeting conditions is meeting conditions, irrespective of how you arrive at them.

Any clarification would be helpful. It would be cruel irony to waste meat because my preservation knowledge is incomplete. Thanks.
 
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The short answer is that when he leaves them on his counter in the cling film, that is the fermenting stage to allow the culture to start forming lactic acid bacteria to drop the pH. Once in the controlled environment of temp and humidity you're now in the maturation / drying stage. You don't go to that stage until the ph has hit your target. I'm on my phone or I would write more... but believe me, others will be along to discuss this.
 
As I understand the process, the temperature and humidity(less so), as well as the overall duration of "stay" are quite different for fermenting vs drying.

I could ferment in a drying chamber so long as the environmental conditions were met. However, i would need a second chamber for fermentation if I wanted to start new projects.

That is, if the method fermenting on the counter top with it wrapped in cling film is NOT a safe way to ferment sausage.
 
I would imagine he is using different temps/hotter in the chamber. My take on it comes from homebrewing. Like yeast, each culture has a preferred temp range. In brewing, the cooler the temps the more refined the flavor. I think this is similar to sausage cultures. The cultures that like cooler/ambient temps (SPX) are mildly sour and good for italian type stuff but not strong enough IMO for say summer sausage. I LOVE FMR52 for that and run it at 90F/24hrs. Spot on for me. Sausage in my "chamber" AKA fridge (unplugged) with 40W light bulb in it for heat and chubs in cling wrap. Now this is really generalizing things as there are other factors such as the amount of fermentable sugar being used and fermentation duration.
 
I would imagine he is using different temps/hotter in the chamber. My take on it comes from homebrewing. Like yeast, each culture has a preferred temp range. In brewing, the cooler the temps the more refined the flavor. I think this is similar to sausage cultures. The cultures that like cooler/ambient temps (SPX) are mildly sour and good for italian type stuff but not strong enough IMO for say summer sausage. I LOVE FMR52 for that and run it at 90F/24hrs. Spot on for me. Sausage in my "chamber" AKA fridge (unplugged) with 40W light bulb in it for heat and chubs in cling wrap. Now this is really generalizing things as there are other factors such as the amount of fermentable sugar being used and fermentation duration.

I guess the genesis of my post is, when I see someone fermenting in a chamber where they are actively managing the environment with other equipment, it seems "more correct" than wrapping it in cling film and placing it somewhere with the appropriate temperature.

But if that is perfectly okay, then fantastic. Id rather not build a dedicated fermentation area as I have the capability of controlling temps in a defined area already.

I apologize if this is a silly thread. I just don't want to make an avoidable mistake that could've been avoided had I just asked.
 
I guess the genesis of my post is, when I see someone fermenting in a chamber where they are actively managing the environment with other equipment, it seems "more correct" than wrapping it in cling film and placing it somewhere with the appropriate temperature.

But if that is perfectly okay, then fantastic. Id rather not build a dedicated fermentation area as I have the capability of controlling temps in a defined area already.

I apologize if this is a silly thread. I just don't want to make an avoidable mistake that could've been avoided had I just asked.
Not silly at all. I wondered about it myself. Ferment however. Ferment in oven light on/top of the fridge/coffee warmer in 5G bucket/christmas lights in cardboard box. That said agree a chamber seems more proper but I only ferment a few times a year.
 
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I'm looking to get into fermenting sausages. I've read Marianski and have been watching Eric from 2GC as he seems like a very knowledgeable individual and everything he says as far as I can tell jives with Marianski.

My question is in regards to fermenting the sausage with starter culture, particularly by Eric. At times, he will ferment his product in an area with dedicated controllers of temperature and humidity(Marianski approves) yet other times, he will simply wrap it in cling film and let it sit out on his counter as the ambient temperature of the room is close enough to his target temperature for fermentation.

Here's my confusion. Both methods make perfect sense to me, however, they're also basically complete opposite ends of the spectrum(equipment, price, space, etc), with the exception being, both should allow the culture to do it's job.

Surely there's more nuance to it that I'm missing from lack of experience. I'm going to download Marianski's dedicated book on fermented sausage today as my prior readings have been from his more general writings.

Is one method better than the other? In my mind, meeting conditions is meeting conditions, irrespective of how you arrive at them.

Any clarification would be helpful. It would be cruel irony to waste meat because my preservation knowledge is incomplete. Thanks.
I believe his intent is also to show viewers that don’t have a dedicated chamber or fermentation area that it’s relatively simple and can be easily done in the home kitchen so long as you hit your targets pH before further processing… multiple ways to skin a cat varying levels of skills in his audience
 
Either method will work to support fermentation, i.e. lactic acid production via the bacteria culture. You want the humidity high so the surface of the sausage stays moist. If it dries too much before fermentation is complete it may stop lactic acid production near the surface and the result will be a grey ring upon drying. Ideally, you want 4-8"/second airflow for the first 8-10 hours of fermentation because the salami will lose a lot of water during this time....i.e. the dripping phase. It is not detrimental if you don't do this when using a culture and enough sugars to achieve a pH at or below 5... this offers a strong safety hurdle.
The main issue with no airflow is the potential for yeast growth on the surface of the salami which if it grows thick enough will produce a biofilm on the surface. This could harbor bad anaerobic bacteria under the film in the oxygen depleted environment. But, mold 600 if used will take hold and kill any unwanted bad bacteria eventually.....
 
Either method will work to support fermentation, i.e. lactic acid production via the bacteria culture. You want the humidity high so the surface of the sausage stays moist. If it dries too much before fermentation is complete it may stop lactic acid production near the surface and the result will be a grey ring upon drying. Ideally, you want 4-8"/second airflow for the first 8-10 hours of fermentation because the salami will lose a lot of water during this time....i.e. the dripping phase. It is not detrimental if you don't do this when using a culture and enough sugars to achieve a pH at or below 5... this offers a strong safety hurdle.
The main issue with no airflow is the potential for yeast growth on the surface of the salami which if it grows thick enough will produce a biofilm on the surface. This could harbor bad anaerobic bacteria under the film in the oxygen depleted environment. But, mold 600 if used will take hold and kill any unwanted bad bacteria eventually.....
What would you say that potential for yeast growth is if you had to put a percentage on it? I guess putting mold 600 on every sausage is easy insurance but it sounds like you're skeptical of whether or not you'd trust it.

And just to be clear. If fermenting this way, you're saying that a pH of 5.1 to 5.3 is taking a risk as it's not acidic enough. Well that kinda sucks. I was hoping to do some longer projects but that seems pointless with the pH rendering half the culture useless.

Well, at least my expectations were brought back down to reality.
 
Yeast growth in a +95%RH environment with no air flow??? 100%. Most of this will be good yeast. The question is how thick will the biofilm be? Mold 600 is a waring mold and will kill anaerobic bacteria. It takes 5-7 days for the mold to get established so this is the time frame of concern.

The pH range of concern fermenting without airflow would be 5.3-5.0...as for slow fermented Italian Salami. I strongly recommend airflow during the dripping stage after 10 hours of fermentation. See Creminelli's book Meat, Salt, Time......chapter on fermentation.
 
I finished Marianski's fermented sausage book last night. He doesn't seem to make as much of a deal about the Yeast developing on the outside and never mentions anything about bio film.

With that being said, I think I'll just make a dedicated fermenting chamber so that I don't have any issues with fermentation. I already have half the components and I plan on doing it right.

I'm going to send a message to Eric on YouTube. Hopefully he can post a clarifying video so people aren't getting food poisoning or worse. Kinda irresponsible since people watch his videos and the majority of viewers probably aren't also reading a 300 page book on sausage fermentation.
 
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There are beneficial yeasts. One yeast is added to one of the starter cultures; SM-194 by Bactoferm. It contains Debaryomyces hansenii yeast which has bioprotective properties against Staphylococcus Aureus which is one of the more difficult bad bacteria to control. The main issue with most all other yeasts is degree of growth, which determines the thickness of the biofilm, and degree of oxygen depletion at the surface.
 
Airflow during the dripping stage of fermentation is more critical for traditional Italian salami with very little pH drop where drying is the main safety hurdle instead of pH drop. The Salami need to have a very controlled drying to achieve Aw of 0.95 relatively quickly...this works in conjunction with the higher salt percentage of 3%.....
Once the mold has a strong coverage and Aw is 0.95, water loss will slow which leads to exponential flavor creation.....

Temperature below 60*F is the main hurdle against Staph. Aureus along with bioprotective starter cultures.
 
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