Taking Salumi Drying to the Next Level....

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Epic Pitmaster
Original poster
Staff member
OTBS Member
Apr 27, 2017
South Louisiana-Yes, it is HOT
Been studying and doing a lot of deep dives into various salumi products. They don't just hang them in an area 55*F; 80%RH. There are multiple stages with various temp. and humidity. Basically you start with higher temps. and lower humidity and gradually lower the temp. while raising the RH%.I have been reading a lot of Victor's stuff at Taste of Artisan:

And learned that Auber has upgraded their controllers. You can now have 8 programmable cycles for up to 31 days. Victor is using this feature for the drying phase after salt curing whole cuts prior to maturing in the chamber. His results are fantastic! He uses a non-frost free 4cu.ft. fridge for the drying cycles. I am taking the plunge.... Hope to have the drying chamber set up sometime next week for when my wild hog coppa and lonzino are finished salt curing and are ready to dry.
I just ordered components.....
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Bought a fridge this morning. Pickings were slim with the shortages. I don't really care what color it is...this is the only color they had.
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You are like a dozen levels above pretty much all of us, so what's another level? :emoji_laughing:

That fridge screams ITALY! WIN!

Thanks for those TOA links. Nice site. Best of luck on your build!
I wasn't even aware that they made non-frost free refrigerators anymore. I like the retro look...
Most all of the small 3-5cubic foot refrigerators are all like this. They use a frost plate instead of an evaporator coil with a fan.

You are like a dozen levels above pretty much all of us, so what's another level? :emoji_laughing:

That fridge screams ITALY! WIN!

Thanks for those TOA links. Nice site. Best of luck on your build!
I can't help it zwiller... I have been wanting to learn this advanced craft for so long, once i saw the big picture, I then began inspecting the pieces. I have learned so much, and there is still more to learn! Drying whole cuts is different than salami. More prone to case hardening and must be dried slower so that means slower air flow, higher RH%, and lower temps.

And the drying cycle prior to maturing makes a better product.....so here I go.....
New drying chamber is set up.


I received the last component in the mail tonight, an inkbird seedling heating mat 10"x20"x about 1/8" thick or less...

Take the heat mat and roll it into a tube then secure with zipties or electrical tape. Hang in drying chamber and it will create a passive airflow as it warms up, pulling cool air thru the bottom and warm air out the top. The mat only heats up to 85*F. You can see it hanging in my drying chamber in the pic. above.

I also built a 3ft. high stand for the refrigerator to sit on so I don't have to bend over all the time. I built it out of spare 2x4's I had on hand. Functional, not pretty....being a bachelor has it's perks.
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Once again, I feel like I'm at a elementary math level and you are into astrophysics! I love watching your plans coming together!
Here is the drying schedule I will be following (from Victor's site):
The software is not showing the top row, but it is: Duration / Temp. / RH

Fermentation10 hours75F (24C)< 99 %
Drying15 hours72F (22C)75-85 %
Drying24 hours66F (19C)68-78 %
Drying24 hours64F (18C)65-75 %
Drying24 hours62F (17C)68-78 %
Drying24 hours60F (16C)72-82 %
Drying24 hours59F (15C)76-86 %

Since I am using the B-LC-78 whole muscle surface culture on these salumi, the high temp. to 75*F will give the Pediococcus Acidilactici in the culture optimum conditions to create the bacteriacide giving the bio-protective properties against Listeria and Salmonella.
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I made some adjustments to the placement of my controls in the drying chamber. First, I added a 14 3/4" tall x 9" wide piece of HDPE flexible cutting board as an air baffle above the dehumidifier exhaust to channel the airflow directly up. I used a hole punch and made 3 holes at the top, then zip tied it to top shelf. The two salumi pieces hanging closest to the dehumidifier were drying out a tad on the side exposed to the airflow. This will help. I then moved the heat mat tube forward next to the dehumidifier and behind the baffle to shield the salumi casing from direct heat. next, I moved the humidifier in the corner where the heat mat tube was positioned. This frees up a lot of room for hanging salumi in such a small space.

I only really needed the heat mat tube for the first stage of the drying schedule posted above. I have it unplugged now. When the RH% rises and reaches the high set point on the RH controller, the dehumidifier turns on. This provides enough gentle heat to keep the temp. fairly even...a slow rise with dehumidification. Then the refrigerator kicks on and pulls the remaining high moisture out of the air condensing it on the cooling plate.

You can see the casings have cleared up having dried out a lot. They are still tacky...about like a pelicle when smoking meat, which is were they need to be at this stage of intense drying. Coppa di Parma back right, Lonzino Piacentina left middle, Lonzino di Calabria front right....
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What a difference a day makes... Mold 600 is taking off like wild fire! 2 days after inoculation....

The elevated temps. really gave the mold an accelerated start.
Coppa di Parma middle left, Lonzino Piacentina front right, Lonzino di Calabria back right.
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Oh- so I added up the degree hours with the drying schedule. Adds up to 830dH. Well under the 1200dH maximum for control of Staph. Aureus.
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So, the drying in the new drying chamber is going well. I weighed the Piacentina and it has lost 10.89% in 4 days. And the casing is moist and supple, not hard at all...mold going crazy!!! The pieces will finish up the last stage of accelerated drying tomorrow, then I will transfer to my maturing chamber.

I was trying to remember where I had first heard mention of an accelerated drying-then it hit me...

I saw it in the Book, Meat Salt Time which is a biography of Cristiano Creminelli and his Salumaria in Utah. He talks about this exact drying schedule in the fermentation chapter in the book.
Well, the 6 day intensive drying is completed. First impression- well, I am impressed. The pieces lost a substantial percentage of weight in a short amount of time, yet the casings remained moist. The mold went absolutely crazy...so good in fact that I have moved my berkshire culatello to the drying chamber; 58-61*F 84-92%RH in order to accelerate the mold growth on it over the next few days.

Here is a picture just before I transferred them to the maturing chamber...

No wild RH% swings when I moved them to the maturing chamber. Just a slight increase in the steady RH% up 2% from 81% to 83% and holding steady.

Over the 6 Day Intensive drying period:
The Coppa di Parma lost 11.26%
The Lonzino Piacentina lost 11.82%
The Lonzino di Calabria lost 15.85%; likely due to more acid production from the surface starter culture utilizing the sugars in the pepper powders and flakes. The lower pH supports faster water diffusion to the surface for evaporation.

I like it. Now for the pieces to mature....
Made 5kg. Finocchiona today, 5 sticks (20" long) a little over 1kg. each. I replaced .5g of the NaCl with a mol. equivalent amount of KCl to try that out. I am also using the new SM-194 culture that I ordered from TSM. This culture contains D. Hansenii yeast which has many benefits. Hoping for a more pronounced flavor profile. This culture 'should' ferment like t-spx. We will see how it goes. I have them hanging in the drying chamber with paper towels under them as they go through the dripping stage. I am using the same drying schedule posted above...
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