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Help - cured salami gone bad

DGM1

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Joined Feb 4, 2021
Hi Everyone, Newbie here, so please bear with me.
I built a curing chamber, fitted with dehumidifier and humidifier controlled by inkbird controllers. The curing chamber is a one of those industrial fridges with a compressor on the top. I made salamis a while back and they seem to have case hardening, the middle is still raw and they have lost more than 40% weight (they do taste good). Temperature and humidity at recommended levels (humidity between 75-85 and temp between 51.8 - 59 F) although the fan on this fridge runs all the time. I did replace the fan to a less powerful computer fan and connected it to a fan controller, I had it at the lowest setting. I thought the problem was the fan running constantly so I put the fan on timer to run for 30 minutes every 4 hours. At that point I let the salamis cure for another two weeks which was the the wrong decision as they seem to have all gone bad. I also recently made some cured sausages after the installing fan on timer and the moisture retention was better but there was still case hardening. Does anyone know what the problem is?

I did not use mold 600 although(I can't find it anywhere to purchase in Canada)
I did not use any cultures
I don't have a fresh air intake/outake in chamber but I open it at least once a day..
I used 18 grams of readycure per kilo of meat.

See attached pictures
Thanks Danny
 

Attachments

Domie

Fire Starter
51
30
Joined Feb 26, 2021
Hi Everyone, Newbie here, so please bear with me.
I built a curing chamber, fitted with dehumidifier and humidifier controlled by inkbird controllers. The curing chamber is a one of those industrial fridges with a compressor on the top. I made salamis a while back and they seem to have case hardening, the middle is still raw and they have lost more than 40% weight (they do taste good). Temperature and humidity at recommended levels (humidity between 75-85 and temp between 51.8 - 59 F) although the fan on this fridge runs all the time. I did replace the fan to a less powerful computer fan and connected it to a fan controller, I had it at the lowest setting. I thought the problem was the fan running constantly so I put the fan on timer to run for 30 minutes every 4 hours. At that point I let the salamis cure for another two weeks which was the the wrong decision as they seem to have all gone bad. I also recently made some cured sausages after the installing fan on timer and the moisture retention was better but there was still case hardening. Does anyone know what the problem is?

I did not use mold 600 although(I can't find it anywhere to purchase in Canada)
I did not use any cultures
I don't have a fresh air intake/outake in chamber but I open it at least once a day..
I used 18 grams of readycure per kilo of meat.

See attached pictures
Thanks Danny
Welcome Danny. I'm also new to the charcuterie end of sausages but I'll weigh in here anyway.
Using no cultures would be new to me.
Did you do the fermenting stages?
What was your PH reading?
Sounds like a lot of air movement also. Cutting that down was a good idea.
If you can get on youtube and watch the "2 guys and a cooler" thread.... they have a ton of more detailed procedures to lear from.
Lot of great knowledge here also. They'll weigh in.....
 

DGM1

Newbie
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0
Joined Feb 4, 2021
Welcome Danny. I'm also new to the charcuterie end of sausages but I'll weigh in here anyway.
Using no cultures would be new to me.
Did you do the fermenting stages?
What was your PH reading?
Sounds like a lot of air movement also. Cutting that down was a good idea.
If you can get on youtube and watch the "2 guys and a cooler" thread.... they have a ton of more detailed procedures to lear from.
Lot of great knowledge here also. They'll weigh in.....
Thanks Domie.
I learned dry curing the old school way from my parents. Just add salt and spices and hang in cellar, but we never made salami just cured sausage and cured capicolo. And they always turned out good.
I did not ferment either and I did not check PH.
The cellar at my old house had the good temperature and humidity in the winter although the cellar in my new house is way to cold in the winter. This is why I built the curing chamber. I watched the 2 guys and a cooler videos they are great. I actually built my chamber to the same specs as the first one on “how to build a curing chamber.
I don’t know?! I am extremely disappointed and frustrated not only cause I lost meat but I spent a lot time and money building this chamber with all the proper Equipment.
 

Domie

Fire Starter
51
30
Joined Feb 26, 2021
Thanks Domie.
I learned dry curing the old school way from my parents. Just add salt and spices and hang in cellar, but we never made salami just cured sausage and cured capicolo. And they always turned out good.
I did not ferment either and I did not check PH.
The cellar at my old house had the good temperature and humidity in the winter although the cellar in my new house is way to cold in the winter. This is why I built the curing chamber. I watched the 2 guys and a cooler videos they are great. I actually built my chamber to the same specs as the first one on “how to build a curing chamber.
I don’t know?! I am extremely disappointed and frustrated not only cause I lost meat but I spent a lot time and money building this chamber with all the proper Equipment.
Don't get discouraged! We all crash a few,
I hate the waste. The chamber will work. I did mine just like you did. I am too inexperienced to try without the cultures. I get the feeling that maybe the old ways like your parents did and the new ways with the chamber don't mix?
You'll get it figured out.
 

SWFLsmkr1

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First let me ask you some things.

You industrial fridge.
Is it controlled my a temp controller?
Did you grind your own meat?
How long did you have your chubs hanging to ferment and how long to cure and dry?
How many fans if any?

Fermentation of any kind is the critical satge

For no fermentation agent (AKA Starter culture) and no sugar.
Try not to exceed a temp of 22*C (72*F) pH 5.2 if you drop lower you may not have a good taste.
Fermentation temps need to be.
12-16*C
54-61*F
Humidity 82-98 R/H for 3-8 days

DRYING
12*C (54*)
Humidity 72-80%
Dry time 2-3 months....pH should be 5.3....AW 0.88

Storage
12-18*C (54-56*F)
75-80% R/H
 

DGM1

Newbie
3
0
Joined Feb 4, 2021
First let me ask you some things.

You industrial fridge.
Is it controlled my a temp controller?
Did you grind your own meat?
How long did you have your chubs hanging to ferment and how long to cure and dry?
How many fans if any?

Fermentation of any kind is the critical satge

For no fermentation agent (AKA Starter culture) and no sugar.
Try not to exceed a temp of 22*C (72*F) pH 5.2 if you drop lower you may not have a good taste.
Fermentation temps need to be.
12-16*C
54-61*F
Humidity 82-98 R/H for 3-8 days

DRYING
12*C (54*)
Humidity 72-80%
Dry time 2-3 months....pH should be 5.3....AW 0.88

Storage
12-18*C (54-56*F)
75-80% R/H
Hi SWFLsmkr1, thanks for the reply.

Yes, I have a temp controller installed.
I did grind my own meat.
I did not hang to ferment. I grinded mixed all spices and salt and let sit for 12 hrs before I stuffed in casing. Not sure the temp as I just put tub in cellar. But not likely in the appropriate temp range.
for drying I had it between 11 and 13 Celsius with humidity 70 to 85.
4 weeks hanging at first check and 6 weeks at last check. 6 weeks pic posted above.
I have one fan programmed to run for 30 minutes every 4 hrs at the lowest speed.
 

indaswamp

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Joined Apr 27, 2017
although the fan on this fridge runs all the time.
That is your problem. Too much airflow. The salami in the picture has case hardening. The center has not lost enough moisture and the outer area is dry as a desert which sealed in the moisture,,,even though the salami has lost 40%, it did not dry properly.

See this video by member Cajuneric Cajuneric :
 

indaswamp

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I did not use any cultures
How long did you hold the meat with salt, cure, and seasoning in the refrigerator after mixing?

See this for Traditional slow fermented salami:

"

2. Curing. Adding salt, sugar and nitrate to meats has been practiced for centuries and the general consensus is that curing contributes positively to the color, flavor and shelf life of the product. The curing step has been employed in traditionally made fermented sausages (without cultures) to increase the number of lactic acid, color and flavor forming bacteria. When making fermented sausages the main purpose of curing was twofold:


  • increase the number of color and flavor forming bacteria (Staphylococcus, Kocuria)
  • increase the number of lactic acid producing bacteria (Lactobacillus, Pediococcus)

The curing step is simply adding extra time for beneficial bacteria to develop. Although the process will be slow due to cold temperatures, the bacteria count will somewhat increase. There is a little problem with this curing procedure as other bacteria such as spoilage and pathogenic (dangerous) will grow as well, and when subsequently introduced to the fermenting chamber they will also multiply. Fortunately, they are little salt tolerant and their growth is slowed down by salt and nitrite. Besides, those millions of bacteria (culture) introduced to meat will start competing for nutrients with beneficial, spoilage and pathogenic bacteria and their growth would be severely restricted. There is no need to perform this curing process when starter cultures are added to meat. We are assured of a huge number of lactic acid bacteria which will start the fermentation process as soon as the stuffed sausage is placed in a warm fermentation room. Placing the sausage mix that includes starter bacteria in a refrigerator makes little sense and will unnecessarily increase the number of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria."

https://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage-types/fermented-sausage/traditional

might want to read all the yellow tabs at the top header for a refresher...
 

indaswamp

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Joined Apr 27, 2017
Could also be failed fermentation....which is a contributing factor to the soft center.

Read this:
https://twoguysandacooler.com/the-importance-of-accurate-ph-in-salami-testing/

Cajuneric pulled his salami from fermenting prematurely @ 7 hours...because of a faulty pH probe. But as mentioned, in hindsight, he should have known something was wrong because flavor of italy is fairly consistent culture and ferments 18-24 hours @75*F....24-30 hours @ 68-70*F.
 
Last edited:

Mmmm Meat

Meat Mopper
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Joined Feb 6, 2021
DGM1 - did you ever get the kinks worked out in your dry curing?

I was reading through old threads and had a couple additional thoughts on possible sources of your problems.

As pointed out previously, you've got case hardening even with your fan mod. If possible, reducing that airflow down to just a minute or so every hour or 15 - 30 seconds every 15 minutes should reduce that problem even more. You obviously need to fine tune your settings as you go. Amazon has a device that allows variable interval switching that works pretty well for a situation like yours.
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Regarding the ferment without starter culture: That activity should really only be attempted by people very familiar with making consistently perfect dry cured products (IMHO). There are several reasons why the practice has been successful for generations of families: Often they live in an area that has perfect conditions for fermenting and drying sausages. Also, their abodes become the source of good bacteria needed to inoculate and ferment sausages they make. It is similar to old-school breweries and bakeries, that over the course of many years, develop strains of yeasts that become an individual to their products and regions. The meat you grind has a mix of bacteria, both good and bad. Without some reliable source of good lactic acid producting bacteria in your home, it's really a crapshoot what bugs you will grow during a ferment. Without a reliable ferment, meats treated with curing salt should be cooked prior to consumption.

Since you've spent all that time and effort creating a workable curing chamber, I strongly recommend that you purchase or borrow a copy of "The Art of Making Fermented Sausages" by the Marianski brothers. Give that a read and you will have a much better knowledge of the processes necessary to make fermented meats and why they are done in the manner they are. Also, you will understand the microbiological aspects of the sport, which takes guesswork out of the equation. Find a source of starter cultures where you can purchase cultures suitable for your needs and you're in business. Good luck!
 

SWFLsmkr1

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Not always true.
 

Mmmm Meat

Meat Mopper
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Perhaps. Which part are you referring to? I don't mind being corrected - I'm here to learn.
 

Mmmm Meat

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Joined Feb 6, 2021
For the sake of trying to be accurate, I did some more reading. Lactobacillus Sakei is commonly found virtually everywhere. It is found in the human GI system, genitourinary system, as well as meat production/processing facilities and is one of the key bacteria responsible for the fermentation of meats throughout the world. As with yeasts used in fermentation, they find their way into the meats passively from the local environment, by way of human hands (or presumably other bodily fluids), or by active inoculation as a starter culture. The statement below was a bit off-base since there is at least some level of L. Sakei being introduced into the grind by one or more methods.

"The meat you grind has a mix of bacteria, both good and bad. Without some reliable source of good lactic acid producting bacteria in your home, it's really a crapshoot what bugs you will grow during a ferment. Without a reliable ferment, meats treated with curing salt should be cooked prior to consumption.

The point was to emphasize the importance of ensuring that a meat intended for fermenting and dry curing receives an adequate inoculation of good lactobacilli that will outcompete any spoilage bacteria also present in the meat. That is a much easier task (if no starter is used) when the meat is processed in an environment already teeming with L. Sakei.

More inaccurate though, my last line of that discussion (and I removed the statement twice before deciding to leave it in) : meats such as Pancetta and Capicola are examples of dry cured meats that don't involve fermentation that can be eaten without cooking. I think that if I'd said "dry cured sausages" instead of "dry cured meats" it would have more accurately stated my intention. The important point of all this though (in my mind) is understanding that dry cured sausages are made safe for consumption by one or a combination of several methods: Lowering the pH via fermentation, reducing the water activity through drying, addition of salt and/or nitrate/nitrite, and smoking, and cooking amongst others. Knowing how to achieve and ensure a safe final product is well worth the time spent to study and understand the process.
 
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