The Great Fermentation Trials 2021

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

indaswamp

Epic Pitmaster
Original poster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
Apr 27, 2017
15,474
14,140
South Louisiana-Yes, it is HOT
After spending many hours researching online for type and amounts of sugars in the various ingredients I use to make salami- particularly Calabrian Sopressata- and not finding much; or finding conflicting information, I decided to just bite the bullet and do some R&D for a base line. For example, the Scalzo Hot Calabrian pepper powder has 0 sugars listed on the nutritional information on the package, yet Tutto Calabria Hot Calabrian Pepper powder has 41grams sugars per 100 grams of Hot Calabrian Pepper powder. I can't work off those numbers....so, I turned my kitchen into a food laboratory today.

The Trial:

The goal is to establish baselines for various sugar contents (and corresponding acid drop upon fermentation) of the ingredients for Calabrian Sopressata. I bought a double pack of pork butt and ground that through a 6mm plate. I weighed out 7kg. of meat then added 2.5% sea salt, 0.3% cure #2, and 0.2% cracked black pepper. Mixed in real good, then added 1.75grams of Flavor of Italy starter culture in 60mL distilled water (let sit on counter for 20 minutes)...mixed that in good for even distribution. Then I checked the starting pH of the mix in 4 different spots and did a weighted avg. for initial pH....5.88; which is normal for store bought commodity pork I buy.

With the added weights of the salt, cure, pepper, and culture liquid, I weighed out 520 gram (500 grams of meat, 20 grams salt, pepper and culture) lots of the base mix and mixed in various concentrations of ingredients for fermentation R&D.

Here is a run down of what I am testing, all 1/2Kg. lots:

Bell & hot Calabrian Pepper paste (homemade) 2.0%
Bell & hot Calabrian Pepper paste (homemade) 4.0%
Bell Pepper powder 1.0%
Bell Pepper powder 2.0%
Scalzo Sweet Calabrian Pepper powder 1.0%
Scalzo Sweet Calabrian Pepper powder 2.0%
Scalzo Hot Calabrian Pepper powder 1.0%
Sauvingnon Blanc White Wine 20mL/Kg.
Chianti Red Wine 20mL/Kg.

And for controls I did a run of dextrose powders; 1 gram/Kg. - 5 gram/Kg. in 1 gram increments.

Starter culture was added @11am this morning so I will check the pH tomorrow afternoon. All samples are fermenting in the same conditions @75*F wrapped in cling film.

The Pepper Paste:

1362 grams (3#) Red Bell Pepper
50 grams (10 peppers) Hot Calabrian Peppers packed in oil
15 grams oil from pepper jar
3 grams salt

simmered on stove for 1 hour, then pureed. final sauce weighed 513 grams so Bell pepper concentrated down to 445 grams; 32.67%.

I'll post a pic. later....and report back the results after fermentation is complete.
 
Last edited:
Nice research. I have been studying up on our Hatch Chile. We have red and green. Fresh and dry. But in the dry form our Chile has very high sugar. I’m waiting on some culture and beef middles to make a trial run.
By the way, I’m also wanting to make runs with two different cultures. Flavor of Italy for a faster fermentation and then B-LC-007 for a slower.
 
I've not used B-LC-007, but from my reading it is a touchy culture...very temp. dependent. if temps. rise just a little, acid production speeds rapidly....FYI....
 
I like your thinking and processes. Way beyond what I imagine any home gamer would consider. Hopefully you can come up with some constants that can be used your recipes in to calculate your use of those ingredients into your mixes in the future.

The only other variable that I can see is that from season to season, the peppers will vary in sugar content based on the that year's weather and also, the location where they were grown and harvested from. I assume there will minimal variation in those numbers from year-to-year and they have little impact on how you proportion your ingredients, but it might be worthwhile double checking your numbers in a year or two if you're looking for exact replication of your recipes, or tinkering with other ingredients while you assume your pepper numbers are a constant.

Have fun with that one. I'd be pulling my hair out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: daveomak and DanMcG
Mmmm Meat Mmmm Meat , what recipe did you use for your Calabrian Salami? I have used Cajuneric's recipe, but the punch of flavor from the calabrian peppers was nowhere near what my first run of Calabrian was...
I dunno if I will be able to recreate that flavor as it takes a massive amount of pepper powder and paste.
 
That's a good question - I got an ingredients list from some website like this: https://www.recipetips.com/glossary-term/t--35488/cacciatorini-salami.asp

I also morphed that one a bit with a similar recipe from Youtube that only uses salt, pepper, wine, and garlic (I love this guy. He uses no curing salt and no curing chamber, but he is the epitome of homemade Italian salame making) -
I of course add 3% salt and .25% #2 curing salt to all my recipes up to this point. His reaction when tasting his final products is "spectacular" - so reminiscent of my years in Sicily) " I'm sure there was one more similar recipe that I found that I used as a reference. I ended up using Calabrian pepper powder, garlic powder, ground pepper and whole peppercorns, dextrose, sucrose, and garlic infused red wine.

Being my first ferment, I was less worried about being regionally correct that I was I was being safe and making something that sounded yummy (for lack of a better word). I'll post the recipe once the salami is done and I've survived the tasting. After the fact, what I really made was a Cacciatore (not -Cacciator"ini" which is the noun (?) ending for "small" or similar in plural (eg: bambini - male baby boys). I stuffed my mix into beef middles - 50 - 55 mm I believe which changes the name from the smaller version that was intended to be a salami that hunters or others heading out for a day in the field could take with them easily for a quick snack. Same recipe, different size casing.

After thinking about my statement about variation in the sugar content in peppers during different years, I decided the annual variation in sugar concentration is probably inconsequential since the amount of sugar the pepper sauce and powders add is negligible compared to the dextrose and other added sugars.
 
Here are the test samples @ the 18 hour mark... Nice color formation already. No pH yet, I'll wait until the 30 hour mark for the first pH readings.
IMG_20210326_050309.jpg

IMG_20210326_050328.jpg

IMG_20210326_050350.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: kruizer and 73saint
Results are in...

Initial pH was 5.88.

The pH measurements were all taken between the 30-31 hour mark. In all samples 4 measurements were taken for an average. I'm posting to 3 decimal places the control samples with dextrose. You can see the log scale as with each additional gram of dextrose the pH drop is less..

Controls pH

1g. Dextrose = 5.548
2g. Dextrose = 5.390
3g. Dextrose = 5.275
4g. Dextrose = 5.163
5g. Dextrose = 5.015

Test Samples:
2% Bell Pepper Paste = 5.34
4% Bell Pepper Paste = 5.04
1% Bell Pepper Powder = 4.99
2% Bell Pepper Powder = 4.58
1% Scalzo Calabrian Sweet Pepper Powder = 5.46
2% Scalzo Calabrian Sweet Pepper Powder =5.09
1% Scalzo Calabrian Hot Pepper = 5.46
20mL Sauvignon White Wine = 5.65
20mL Chianti Red Wine = 5.67


It is interesting to note that the Scalzo Sweet and Hot Calabrian Pepper Powder give the same reading at the same concentration...and it is much higher (lower acid) than the bell pepper powder. The numbers I have for the bell pepper are correct; i.e. 8 grams of dried red bell pepper powder has 5.1 grams of sugars- mainly fructose and glucose. The Powder is more potent form as it is not diluted with water, but the paste has a more floral smell.
Also of note- the 2% wine gives a pH drop of roughly 2.3...both white and red had about the same acidity. I chose those wines because those grapes are two with the lowest pH. Also, the samples with the wine has the most complex aroma, which confirms the research done that wine additions to salami boost the flavor compound creation.

Conclusion:
I will treat Bell Pepper powder as a sugar additive and calculate accordingly. The sweet Calabrian Pepper powder is the closest to the aroma I am aiming for so I will work up a recipe using that as a main component. No Dextrose addition at all, I will be using bell pepper powder as a dextrose substitute for added flavor.

Also- will need to grind super fine and mix extremely well for good distribution.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: daveomak
I'm going to take follow up pH measurements tomorrow @ the 48 hour mark just to be sure all the sugars were converted for final pH drop.
 
Results are in...

Initial pH was 5.88.

The pH measurements were all taken between the 30-31 hour mark. In all samples 4 measurements were taken for an average. I'm posting to 3 decimal places the control samples with dextrose. You can see the log scale as with each additional gram of dextrose the pH drop is less..

Controls pH

1g. Dextrose = 5.548
2g. Dextrose = 5.390
3g. Dextrose = 5.275
4g. Dextrose = 5.163
5g. Dextrose = 5.015

Test Samples:
2% Bell Pepper Paste = 5.34
4% Bell Pepper Paste = 5.04
1% Bell Pepper Powder = 4.99
2% Bell Pepper Powder = 4.58
1% Scalzo Calabrian Sweet Pepper Powder = 5.46
2% Scalzo Calabrian Sweet Pepper Powder =5.09
1% Scalzo Calabrian Hot Pepper = 5.46
20mL Sauvignon White Wine = 5.65
20mL Chianti Red Wine = 5.67


It is interesting to note that the Scalzo Sweet and Hot Calabrian Pepper Powder give the same reading at the same concentration...and it is much lower than the bell pepper powder. The numbers I have for the bell pepper are correct; i.e. 8 grams of dried red bell pepper powder has 5.1 grams of sugars- mainly fructose and glucose. The Powder is more potent form as it is not diluted with water, but the paste has a more floral smell.
Also of note- the 2% wine gives a pH drop of roughly 2.3...both white and red had about the same acidity. I chose those wines because those grapes are two with the lowest pH. Also, the samples with the wine has the most complex aroma, which confirms the research done that wine additions to salami boost the flavor compound creation.

Conclusion:
I will treat Bell Pepper powder as a sugar additive and calculate accordingly. The sweet Calabrian Pepper powder is the closest to the aroma I am aiming for so I will work up a recipe using that as a main component. No Dextrose addition at all, I will be using bell pepper powder as a dextrose substitute for added flavor.

Also- will need to grind super fine and mix extremely well for good distribution.
That's an impressive piece of work. A great idea that yielded very usable results. Very nice!
 
Also, I used Flavor of Italy starter culture which is a fast acting culture @75*F. When using a fast acting culture you will get a farther pH drop, faster, with the same amount of sugars than if you use a slow culture like tspx. So I will probably use a slow culture like tspx or another slow culture when making Calabrian Sopressata....but I will need to up the salt to 3%.
 
Last edited:
Tentative Recipe formulation:

Calabrian Sopressata

700g. Lean Pork (shoulder, leg loin)
300g. Pork Fat (back, throat)

27.5g Sea salt
3.0g cure #2
2.0g Cracked Black Pepper
1.0g. Hot Calabrian Pepper flakes
15g. Sweet Calabrian Pepper powder
*2.0g. Sweet Red Bell Pepper Powder (~1.26 grams equivalent dextrose)

1 cloves garlic smashed steeped in 5mL Chianti red wine.

tspx starter culture in 60mL distilled water

Fat thru 8mm, Lean thru 10mm; stuffed into 60-65mm beef middles and pressed after 24 hours fermentation @65*F.

*depending on initial pork grind pH, could increase if pH of meat is on the high side close to 6...
 
Last edited:
Here are the pH readings for the 48 hour mark:

Controls pH

1g. Dextrose = 5.560
2g. Dextrose = 5.423
3g. Dextrose = 5.303
4g. Dextrose = 5.218
5g. Dextrose = 5.063

Test Samples:
2% Bell Pepper Paste = 5.33
4% Bell Pepper Paste = 4.945
1% Bell Pepper Powder = 5.09
2% Bell Pepper Powder = 4.613
1% Scalzo Calabrian Sweet Pepper Powder = 5.473
2% Scalzo Calabrian Sweet Pepper Powder =5.178
1% Scalzo Calabrian Hot Pepper = 5.550
20mL Sauvignon White Wine = 5.708
20mL Chianti Red Wine = 5.705

With most of the samples, the pH rose slightly from 30-48 hours. This would make sense as the acid diffuses throughout the meat to equalize. Some samples had a lower pH, namely the bell pepper pastes. Which makes sense because there were larger pieces of pepper in the mix and acid production continued beyond the 30 hour mark. The pH may have risen afterwards, but I did not check after 48 hours.

I kept all but the wine samples as they were still too high pH to be deemed safe. The rest, I reground through the 4.5mm plate and made a large 14# batch of Bolognese Sauce. I froze 3/4 of it, and made two lasagnas with the rest today. I figured with the acidic note in the sauce from the wine, the acid from the fermentation would not affect the flavor. It did not...though the meat does have a cured taste, it is still acceptable and better than throwing the samples away IMO....at least I could save them.

So this trial has been a resounding success! I have a much better understanding of the sugar levels in the various peppers now. And, I have a baseline for dextrose to work off of. Glad I could share the results open source for anyone that needs it....
 
  • Like
Reactions: daveomak
Edit #2
Tentative Recipe formulation:

Calabrian Sopressata

700g. Lean Pork (shoulder, leg loin)
300g. Pork Fat (back, throat)

27.5g Sea salt
3.0g cure #2
2.0g Cracked Black Pepper
2.0g. Hot Calabrian Pepper flakes
12g. Sweet Calabrian Pepper powder
*2.0g. Sweet Red Bell Pepper Powder (~1.26 grams equivalent dextrose)

2 cloves garlic smashed steeped in 10mL Chianti red wine.

tspx starter culture in 30mL distilled water

Fat thru 8mm, Lean thru 10mm; stuffed into 60-65mm beef middles and pressed after 24 hours fermentation @65*F.

*depending on initial pork grind pH, could increase if pH of meat is on the high side close to 6...
 
Edit #3
Tentative Recipe formulation:

Calabrian Sopressata

700g. Lean Pork (shoulder, leg loin)
300g. Pork Fat (back, throat)

20.0g Sea salt fine grain
7.15g KCl very fine grain (pure, food grade)
3.0g cure #2

note: I am replacing 20% of the NaCl (5.5g.) with an equivalent percentage of KCl (7.15g) on a mol. basis. This will lower the overall sodium level in the salami yet the potassium will offer the same ionic inhibiting effect as the sodium on gram negative bacteria (the bad ones).

2.0g Cracked Black Pepper
4.5g. Hot Calabrian Pepper powder
12g. Sweet Calabrian Pepper powder
2.0g Hot Calabrian Pepper flakes
*1.0g. Sweet Red Bell Pepper Powder (~1.26 grams equivalent dextrose)

3.0g. garlic cloves smashed steeped in 5mL Chianti red wine.

tspx starter culture in 30mL distilled water

Fat thru 8mm, Lean thru 12mm; stuffed into 60-65mm beef middles and pressed after 24 hours fermentation @~65*F.

*depending on initial pork grind pH, could increase if pH of meat is on the high side close to 6...
 
Last edited:
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads

Clicky