Worried about PH in my Sopressata...help?

Discussion in 'Curing' started by harleykids, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter

    I made some sopressata de Calabria yesterday, used the B-LC-007 culture at 0.022% (meat weight x 0.00022)

    It has been fermenting for 24 hours now at 71 degF and 80% RH

    Used 1.3% dextrose and 0.15% demerara for sugars, and used both hot and sweet Coluccio pepper paste, as well as hot and sweet Calabrian pepper powders.

    I saved a small amount of the meat in a small cup, to use to test the PH, and put it in the fermenting chamber with the sopressata.

    24 hours later and my general purpose PH test strip is showing a PH of 6.0

    I was hoping it would be closer to 5.3 or 5.0, etc. after 24 hours.

    Any ideas? Should I let it ferment another day or more?

    And what if the PH doesn’t drop after another day?

    Or should I go ahead and put it in my 12 deg C @ 75% RH drying chamber?

    Thanks for the advice!

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What do the instructions say that you are following.... Link the method here so we can look at it.....
  3. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter

    Here is a link to the culture I used.  No real instructions, except what % to add to meat weight.....


    Bactoferm™ B-LC-007


    Bactoferm™ B-LC-007 is a patented culture blend capable of acidification as well as preventing growth of Listeria. The culture produces pediocin and bavaricin (think of them like a kind of "antibiotics") that keeps Listeria monocytogenes  at safe levels by the additional hurdle thrown at it.

    It is recommended to use this culture at low fermentation temperatures between 64-75ºF for the production of European style products with very low acid profiles.

    This culture makes T-SPX obsolete due to all the additional beneficial strains that come with it. You want the added yeast and both cocci strains for flavor development predominantly, and this blend has it all. Because the fermentation temperature is low as well we suggest this culture is a game changer by offering so much more than T-SPX. This blend offers added Listeria protection, where T-SPX does not. Both forms of cocci bacteria work together in developing the characteristic flavors of fermented sausages, while also reducing the residual amount of nitrite in your product due to their secretion of enzymes that cause the reduction of the residual nitrite in the sausage. So you end up consuming less in the final product than using a culture blend with these beneficial bacteria. B-LC-007 is truly a superior culture to use for low temperature fermentation. 

    This blend contains:
    • Debaryomyces hansenii - a yeast which inhibits rancidity, is lipolytic, suppresses acidity (tang), and for flavor development
    • Lactobacillus sakei - produces lactic acid, produce bacterocins, and aids in the prevention of Listeria
    • Pediococcus Acidilactici - produces lactic acid, produce bacterocins, and aids in the prevention of Listeria
    • Pediococcus pentosaceus - is lactic acid producing, and proteolytic
    • Staphylococcus carnosus - develops flavor, improves color stability, proteolytic, lipolytic, tests positive for nitrate reductase activity
    • Staphylococcus xylosus - develops flavor, improves color stability, proteolytic, lipolytic, tests positive for nitrate reductase activity
    Sold in a 50g bag which is enough to ferment 495# of meat.

    Use 0.022% the weight of the meat. Meaning, measure your meat in grams, then multiply the weight of your meat by 0.00022. This number is the proper amount of culture to add to you meat.

    To disperse evenly we recommend hydrating the culture for 25 minutes in 60 mL of distilled water. For every 5# of meat use 30mL of distilled water to hydrate and disperse the culture. It is best to add the culture when spiced meat is in chunks, mix around, then grind to desired particle size. Mix evenly after grinding.


    Always store your cultures below 1ºF for a shelf life of 18 months. If stored above 41ºF the shelf life is 6 weeks.
  4. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter

    Just talked to Evan at Craft Butcher's Pantry, he says the PH strips won't work with curing meats, they are not made to take PH readings from meat, etc.

    He says he is 100% sure my PH is much lower than the 6.0 that my test strips show.

    He says when you first kill a pig is 6.0-6.3, so my sausage must be much lower than that.

    So I am much less worried now.

    I used the B-LC-007 culture and the suggested 1.3% dextrose so I should be good to go.

    Sprayed them with Mold-600 just now, and will let them ferment one more day (48 hrs total) at 22 deg C @ 85% RH.

    Then will drop my chamber to 12 deg C @ 70% RH for the drying phase.


  5. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looking forward to some final product pictures.

    Care to share the recipe?
  6. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do you smell fermentation odours? When I did mine (used tsp-x) I sensed this particular fermentation smell after a day. Not strong, but it was there.
  7. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter

    Hey Atomic, sure!

    I created the recipe based on reading all the recipes I could find, then taking what I thought would be good from each of them and making a starting recipe for my version of Sopressata di Calabria.

    I used the SafePro B-LC-007 culture so I could ferment at lower temps and use my main curing chamber as a fermenter also, so I wouldnt have to make a high temp ferment chamber.  This culture ferments at 64-75 deg F, so easier to get this temp versus the high 80's deg F.  It has more beneficial strains than T-SPX.

    I made an 8 lb batch, and used 12" x 2.25" cut and tied beef middles for the casing.  8 lbs meat filled 4 casings, with about 6 oz of meat left over.  When done, the four weighed 827g, 829g, 692g (this casing was a bit smaller than the other three), and 812g.

    I am not going to press these, so they may not be able to be called "sopressata", since that means pressed.  Round is just as good as oval in my book and I am concentrating on the flavor profile, so not concerned about the traditional shape.  But you could press these easily, I just choose not to until I am sure my recipe is the way I like it!

    Here is my recipe:

    80% pork shoulder (grind course 3/8" plate, then regrind 3/16" plate)

    20% pork back fat (grind course 3/8" plate)

    2.50% sea salt or kosher salt

    0.25% cure #2

    1.30% dextrose

    0.15% demerara sugar

    0.25% smoked paprika

    0.30% fresh garlic puree

    0.50% Calabria fennel seeds (cracked/ground)

    3.0% Coluccio sweet peppers sauce

    1.0% Coluccio hot peppers sauce

    1.0% Calabria sweet pepper powder

    0.50% Calabria hot pepper powder

    5.0% Italian red wine (I used white Italian since I had it left over from Thanksgiving!)

    0.022% SafePro B-LC-007 starter culture (incubated for an hour in 60ml of room temp distilled water)

    Bactoferm Mold M-600

    12" x 2.25" cut and tied beef middles

    The beef middles were rinsed clean of their salt, inside and outside with tap water, then soaked in a bowl of tap water with 2 oranges quartered and squeezed floating in water. 

    I preped my casings about 2 hours before I stuffed them.  I used four 12" x 2.25" casings for 8 lbs of meat and it was the perfect amount to fill 4 casings and have about 6 oz left over to put in the fridge to fry up in a skillet the next day for lunch.

    Grind meat.

    Grind fat.

    Mix meat and fat together.

    Add salt, cure, dextrose, demerara, and culture and mix well. 

    Add garlic, paprika, and pepper sauces and mix well again.

    Add wine, fennel, and pepper powders, mix well again.

    Stuff casings, tie off, prick all over with sausage pricker, and record weight of each.

    Set aside a small amount of meat if you want to measure PH after fermentation.

    Ferment for 48 hours at 64-75 deg F at 85% RH

    I misted them at the 24 hour mark with Mold 600 in a plastic spray bottle (prepare M-600 12 hours in advance per instructions)

    After 48 hour fermentation then dry at 12 deg. C @ 80% RH until 30-40% weight loss, your preference.

    I think that's about it!

    I will post some pics of my chamber and the guys hanging in there soon.
  8. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter

    Yes, I smell fermenting odors in the chamber.  Started smelling them about 4-6 hours after they were stuffed and put into the fermenting chamber.  No bad smells, just normal fermenting smell.
  9. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter

    Here is my chamber. 

    Has airflow fan built in to exhaust air in chamber each time the humidifier comes on.

    Has HEPA type filter material to keep out unwanted spores, bacteria, etc.

    Temp controller is STC-1000

    Humidity controller is WH8040

    Also have a wireless temp and humidy gauge to double check temp and humidity and it stores min/max for

    both temp and humidity over time in memory (silver LCD on top left side)

    I made it from a frost free GE freezer that I bought of CL for $100, freezer setting is on the warmest setting.

    All electronics are built into the door, so I didn't have to cut any holes into the inside of the freezer.

    Power is run thru a shielded cable on top of the right side hinge, so no dangling wires anywhere.

    Discoloration on the bottom right side of the freezer floor is a surface rust stain from the metal

    freezer drawer that used to sit there. Chamber is CLEAN!

    Works GREAT and has plenty of room!

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  11. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter

    Thanks Dave! Evan says he dries/ages at 55 deg F and a min of 80% RH

    I will be aging around the same, 13 deg C at 80% humidity.

    Hopefully all will turn out!
  12. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great detailed recipe. Thank you.
    That's a lot of wet ingredients (almost 10%). Never seen so much wine in sopressatta. That will increase your drying time. Can't wait for results and test notes. Must be really good.
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    There I go.... showing my old age again.... I corrected my post to read 80 % RH... The humidity is soooooo important to prevent case hardening.... I've never seen meats that look as good as Evan's products.....
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Harley...... question....... Did you speak with Evan about weight loss ???

    I'm under the "assumption" that if you add 20 grams of a liquid that WILL evaporate, that amount can not be included in the weight loss of the meat.... Sooooooo, when calculating weight loss to achieve the finished product, the first 20 grams are not included in that weight loss calculation..... Anyway, that's how I interpret the weight loss calculation.... I'm just guessing as I haven't seen it in print anywhere...
  15. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter


    It's really not that much wine actually.  5% equates to about 1/2-3/4 cup (around 181g or thereabouts) for the 8 lb (3,629g) batch. (3,629 x .05 = 181g)

    Ruhlman's Sopressata recipe in Salumi calls for 1/2 cup for a 5 lb batch, which is about the same percentage.

    His Charcuterie book calls for 1/4 cup for a 5 lb batch, about 2.5% or thereabouts.  A bit too little if you ask me.

    Conversion from volume to weight is subject, but fairly close.

    And the pepper pastes are kind of like the consistency of a good spaghetti sauce. 

    When you mix all the wet into 8 lbs of meat, it pretty much vanishes.  Great red color though! From all the pepper pastes and powders.

    I did follow Evan's website suggestion of a max addition of 4% pastes (I used 3% sweet, 1% hot) and 1.5% max addition of pepper powders (I used 1% sweet, 0.5% hot)  Max on pepper powders is 2%, but Evan's site says to try to stick to around 1.5% total pepper powders, so I did that. I attached the quote from his website below, it can be found under "pepper pastes"

    Either way it turns out a great consistency. Not too wet, not to dry, holds its form on its own, and stuffed perfectly into the casings for me.


    I have not talked with Evan about liquid that will evaporate.  All liquid will evaporate over time. Liquids with alcohol as a percentage of their volume, the alcohol should evaporate faster than the water.  But there is not much alcohol in wine (12% or so) so I don't think it matters much.  There is liquid in the meat itself, plus the wine, plus the distilled water that the culture was hydrated in, plus the liquid in the pepper pastes.  My final wet mix didn't seem any more "wet" than any other mix I have done from other recipes.

    I will start checking these, feeling for firmness to my taste, at around 30%.  They may need to get closer to 40% to come out like I prefer sopressata, but I won't know unitl they are done as this is my first time with my created recipe.



    From website

    "Generally 4% is the maximum addition added, so if you wanted to play with the percentages you could do so by adding half hot paste and half sweet to equal 4%. You could also cut these percentages down as well to the 2% range for a higher yield with no compromise to flavor. 

    When using in collaboration with pepper powders it is important to remember that if you go above 2% of powder the texture of the Soppressata will suffer greatly, as the particles will interfere with the bind of the meat as it dries. This causes the salami to be crumbly, and when you slice will fall apart. It is our recommendation that you keep pepper powder products to a max of 1.5% in any mix or combination of hot and sweet to avoid this textural issue."
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  16. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds good Harley.
  17. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter

    Just wanted to give a quick update on the sopressata. 

    Inoculated with Bactorferm Mold 600 on 12/9 (1st pic below)

    Mold visible on 12/13 (2nd pic below)

    Full coverage on 12/15 (last pic below).

    Will take weights soon to see what loss is over 1 week. 

    Curing at 13 deg C @ 80% RH. 

    Min/Max over time is 10.9 deg C @ 80% and 13.9 deg C @ 84%

    chef lynso likes this.
  18. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks awesome.
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    80% RH should give you a perfect product... From what I have seen, there will be no case hardening and the entire log (s) will be works of art..... They sure look good now....
    I'm bettin' 6 mos. until achieved weight loss at that humidity.... but soooooooo worth the wait.....
  20. harleykids

    harleykids Fire Starter

    Thx guys!

    I also flipped them end for end, hoping that it would keep the moisture distribute evenly, since they have been hanging the same direction for 5 days now.

    Anyone flip hanging ends during curing/drying?
    Or is it not necessary, and I should just let them hang the same way the whole curing time?


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