In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Recipes and techniques using brine.

In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby Dazzlin » Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:56 am

Hey Everyone,

OK, so this'll be my first time posting in a forum for DIY curing (never ventured into such an area before --- in fact, I didn't even realise that there was such a following).

I'll cut right to the chase, I don't know why, but I've got a big thing for 'heritage' foods at the moment and one of things I would most love to do would be to cure/brine/pickle (which ever word best describes what I am doing) my own, authentic, Wiltshire Cured Back Bacon.

Here's my dilemma:

First, I've never done this before (and so need to absorb as much information and advice that anyone is willing to pass on)

Secondly/Lastly and Most Importantly --- I'm looking for "THE" recipe for Wiltshire Cured Bacon (if such a recipe indeed exists).

Plenty of sites will either explain what they do and/or what the general process is, examples as at the bottom, but I cannot find anything which really get's to the 'meat and potatoes' of what, where, how much, long long, etc, etc of HOW to make it...

The very best of my efforts came from an article on 'celtnet' which allegedly is an authentic Wiltshire Cure recipe contained in a book from 1861 named "Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management" - though I am hasty to believe this article, as it's contents mention nothing about it being a brine of any sort.

So, anyways, there's my story in a nutshell. I'm looking for any and all information ANYONE can provide on this subject. To this end, and put bluntly, has anyone got a real authentic recipe referencing Wiltshire Cured Bacon that has any/all of the qualities of the four examples below?

Oh, and one last question: Just what IS "useful salt tolerant bacteria"/"a special live brine"??? How would one make or acquire such ingredients? Who, What, Why, When and Where?

Sincerely, thank you to everyone in advance for your help!


D

Examples:

(1) "Sides of pork are immersed in Brine (a salt and saltpetre solution containing useful salt tolerant bacteria) for 3 to 4 days, then stacked in a cool cellar for two weeks to mature. Following the Traditional Wiltshire method, we do not add any water to the bacon."

(2) "In the 21st century the process still involves the side of pork with its bone‐in and rind‐on being 
immersed into a special recipe brine for up to two days. But now the cold storage is rather more high 
tech! In accordance with the traditional Wiltshire method the bacon is given a fortnight to mature, and 
time – after salt – is the most important ingredient."

(3) "Our traditional Wiltshire Cure recipe dates back to the 1840s and is a "wet-cure" which means that the bacon is immersed in a liquid brine (a salt and saltpetre solution containing useful salt tolerant bacteria) for 3 to 4 days."

(4) "Traditional Wiltshire Cure bacon, dates back to the 1840s. The pork loins are immersed in a special live brine or ‘pickle’ which contains curing salts, and salt loving bacteria, for up to two days. The unique flavour developed depends upon the action of these bacteria.

The bacon is then given a fortnight to mature as next to salt, time is one of the most important ingredients."
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby captain wassname » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:31 pm

Hello and welcome.You know how to start and argument.
Ill start. I think the Wiltshire cue method is exactly that,a method rather than a recipe an immersion cure where the meat is immersed in a strong brine for a short time.
The old cures usually ran along the lines of"first take the coal out of the bath and fill just over half way with water then add a sack of salt and a shovelload of saltpetre, immerse the meat for a short time then leave to rest for a bit"
The point is you need to know exactly how much and how long and can you be sure of the salt levels and nitrate levels in the finished product.
You need a high level of salt to act as a bacteria suppressant short term and the nitrate for long term.
The reason for the longish period of rest is to allow the nitrate to break down. Hence nitrite is favoured rather than nitrate in modern cures.
Where are you located? I ask because the FDA frown upon nitrate in bacon

Jim
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby BriCan » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:29 pm

I will sit on the sidelines for a short time ~~~ I need to see what I have left after a computer crash

As far as I remember (collage days long ago)

1 dry rub
2 immersion cure ~~ 4 days
3 hung to dry/mature ~~ 2/3 weeks

the immersion cure was the secret as it was a bacteria type :?: (living brine) we used to make them at college in a bath tub

When the Harris (Wiltshire) bacon factory was demolished their was a chap who 'acquired' some of the living brine ~~ hence that is the 'only' known 'true' Wiltshire cure

please remember

I
V
But what do I know
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby Dazzlin » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:48 am

Thanks for the replies guys ---- At the moment, I think even a 'speculatively' authentic recipe sounds good... Clearly these fancy-pants companies (as in the examples I posted) have a recipe which 'probably' has the same or a similar process to the original cure... I just don't have a clue what it is and/or how to even get started... Anything that anyone can come up with as a means to try and create something semi-authentic would be appreciated.

Thanks so much :D
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby wheels » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:10 pm

Hi, and welcome.

You may find this website of interest:

http://sandridgefarmhousebacon.co.uk/frames.html

Phil
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby Dazzlin » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:35 pm

Thanks Phil ---

One of my explanations of the Wiltshire Cure came from that website (number 1 in my list funny-enough)... Trouble is I couldn't' find anything which told me a recipe for the brine --- like how much salt, water, salt-peter, sugar, anything else and/or what the 'useful salt tolerant bacteria' agent is/was...

Thanks for the input though Sir...
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby wheels » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:51 pm

The 'useful salt tolerant bacteria' are (I think) referring to the bacteria in the meat that, in a nitrate cure, convert the potassium or sodium nitrate into potassium or sodium nitrite. It's that change which allows the chemicals to cure the meat and produce the red colour in the bacon that we know and love.

If you want to follow in their footsteps, you need to create a 'brine tank' that will keep a 'continuous' process going.

Curing expert Maynard Davies advises to have this type of brine tested every month by the public analyst to ensure that you are complying with Food Regulations. (P52 of Manual of a Traditional Bacon Curer ISBN 978-1-906122-08-9).

I hope that this helps.

However, can I ask why you specifically want to produce a Wiltshire cure?

Phil
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby quietwatersfarm » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:07 pm

Phil, your general point is how I would see this. I am otherwise unclear what is meant by 'living brine' in the sense of something different from a brine tank where you create the right conditions for everything to do its work.

Please let me know if there is a pack of bacteria you can get to populate a brine in order to set to work on your meat!! sounds fascinating :)

are there flavours we are missing here?
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby wheels » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:19 pm

Just to add: I think that the point is, that by maintaining a tank where nitrates are already converted to nitrites, the cure process can start immediately, and is therefore quicker.

All this is somewhat superseded by the easy availability of nitrites nowadays.

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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby Dazzlin » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:32 pm

Thanks again for the input everyone... I guess I'm just a bit of a heritage guy at heart... I read all the lovely descriptions, like found in those examples/write ups, and I guess I just want to try and create something traditional and authentic... Though after the the last few posts, I actually am starting to see the quest for a Wiltshire Cure Recipe more of a personal challenge (for everyones sake perhaps) - just so there, perhaps, is an authentic - posted - recipe to make up a Wiltshire Cure...

Unfortunately despite the vastness of cyberspace, and to my own dismay, I'm still not finding anything out there :(
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby quietwatersfarm » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:47 pm

I fully appreciate what you mean and are seeking, I am just not sure if a 'wiltshire cure' if it is basically a salt/nitrate brine, is actually any different from many others.

I have a feeling its basically just that, except probably mighty fierce, like a lot of the old cure recipes were and thus needed a damn good 'cooling off' after its bath.

someone like maynard davies' books would be the most likely source.
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby Dazzlin » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:59 pm

Not sure if this will come up or not -- but here's some interesting information regarding the Wiltshire Cure --- it's from those Hairy Biker guys...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF1WCUvnoDg
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby BriCan » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:08 am

quietwatersfarm wrote:Please let me know if there is a pack of bacteria you can get to populate a brine in order to set to work on your meat!! sounds fascinating :)


If I remember I would say its like a 'sourdough starter' ~~~ use a bit of it and feed the rest (thats a simple way of saying it)

are there flavours we are missing here?


Mild, delicate a hint of sweet as well as yummy :)
But what do I know
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby BriCan » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:13 am

wheels wrote:Just to add: I think that the point is, that by maintaining a tank where nitrates are already converted to nitrites, the cure process can start immediately, and is therefore quicker.


Tank is not what is maintained ~~ it is the brine that is maintained ~~ hence the term 'living brine'
But what do I know
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Re: In Search Of An Authentic Recipe: Wiltshire Cured Bacon

Postby wheels » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:52 pm

You are, of course, correct! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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