Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Air dried cured Meat Techniques

Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby Steven_B » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:08 am

Now completing my second run, my salami, bresaola and coppa have all been turning out well: good flavour; good, even drying; nice mould on the casing.

One problem is evident, however... the products are picking up a slight but noticable smell from the chamber.

I suspect it's simply a case of rather too many things being in a confined space for an extended time.

Salami, bresaola and coppa plus pancetta and guanciale (the latter two of which are smoked) all share the same space for several weeks.

I've re-hung some of the (drying completed) salami in a separate cupboard for 6 days or so and the odours seem to have receded somewhat, but I thought a fan in the chamber to occassionaly introduce some fresh air might help.

I've been reading older posts about fans and see that Wheels had problems with case hardening while others found that the introduced air produced issues with maintaining the correct humidity.

I'm thinking that I will install a fan and run it occassionally to refresh the air in the chamber. Any thoughts on how occassional I should aim for?

NB - The humidity issue isn't really relevant for me since the RH in the garage where the chamber sits is usually not too far from to the desired RH for curing anyway (RH is typically somewhere between 75 and 88 per cent here). Currently, the on/off cycling of the cooling plate in the fridge does a good job of maintaining the desired humidity in the chamber.

Thanks
Steven
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Re: Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby wheels » Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:20 pm

I found problems in a fridge sized chamber. Even a 1" fan caused case hardening. I guess that the ideal would be a very slow moving fan just to 'stir' the air up a bit.

My experiences so far tell me that this is something that you'll need to try to see what works.

Sorry not to be of more help.

Phil
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Re: Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby Steven_B » Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:44 pm

Thanks for that Phil.

Has anyone else had this issue of slightly smelly products?

I think that the smell comes from the natural casings that I am using. In particular the casings on the whole muscle products; I think because they are not going through a warm-temperature fermentation stage, it therefore takes a bit longer for the cultured mould to take effect - and in the meantime some smell-producing bacteria get a chance to breed.

That's just a theory... I'd like to hear other experiences and opinions.


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Re: Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby wheels » Mon Jul 04, 2016 6:00 pm

Yes, a cheesy sweaty feet smell is common.

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Re: Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby Steven_B » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:02 pm

I'll rub my feet with cheese, go for a run, sleep on it and compare smells tomorrow :O)
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Re: Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby wheels » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:28 pm

:lol: :lol:
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Re: Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby Steven_B » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:01 am

Had another sniff of my sausage... "cheesey sweaty feet" is the normal "nice" salami / charcuterie smell that I like; the smell you get when you walk into a salami shop in Italy.

The problem smell is more rank than that.

Anyway, after several days hanging in a cupboard the rank smell has abated.
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Re: Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby Swing Swang » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:09 am

Ammonia smell perhaps? I've had that if the temp got too high. A wipe down, reduction in temp, increased ventilation and after two weeks all had dissipated. I'm sure others will give a better answer.
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Re: Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby Steven_B » Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:31 am

Returning to this issue, I am now of the opinion that the smell is being generated by the beef casings that I have been using.

At least, that's the current theory.

To test this theory I will make the next batch of salami (plus coppa) using different casings. Choices are:

(i) hog casings (I've found some on ebay that are affordable and free delivery) (contrasting with most of the more established butchers' supplies shops that add around £5 delivery even for small packages); and

(ii) synthetic casings.

-----

The questions that I therefore have are:

(A) are there synthetic casings that both take a mould and shrink along with the shrinking product as it dries (well, I know there are such casings, I'm really asking for recommendations for good ones that can be bought in the UK/EU);

(B) my favourite salami size is a ~55mm casing that ends up giving me a salami about 40mm once dried... are there any natural casings other than beef middles of around this size?; and

(C) I have been using beef bungs for coppa and bresaola... can anyone recommend alternative casings for larger, whole-muscle jobs like these? I seem to remember that Wheels has been successfully using synthetic casings for bresaola.... which ones are those?
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Re: Extractor fan for curing chamber?

Postby Steven_B » Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:41 am

And the other question(s) is... has anyone made salami using hog casings and how did it turn out?
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