Salami Drying Temperatures

Air dried cured Meat Techniques

Salami Drying Temperatures

Postby wheels » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:46 pm

What sort of schedule do people use for their air-dried salami?

I ask because there seems to be so much conflicting info out there that I thought it may be useful for us to know what each other does.

I'm trying to work out the correlation between RH and temp. I know that the actual amount of water in the air at (say) 75% will be different at 12°C and 18°, and that drying will be quicker at the higher temp. I'm also aware that the ideal is for the drying chamber RH to be 5% lower than the Aw of the salami. However, I notice major differences between authorities on the subject; Marianski doesn't have temp dropping below 18°C until day 12, or RH below 85% until day 10, whereas Len Poli tends towards much lower figures. My understanding's always been that temp is best kept below 15.6°C (60F) to avoid Staph Aureus.

Among members I notice that Jason's a 55 F (13C)/ 75% RH man and that Matt and Scott are similar. All three make superb salami without case-hardening. If I recall correctly we also have at least one member who dries at fridge temperatures.

So what do you do, and why?

...and is there a conversion ratio e.g. 18C at 80% = 12C at 70% sort of thing!

Phil
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Postby Ryan C » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:53 pm

Hi phil,
Not sure if this will help but for me it depends on the diameter of the salami. For snack sticks (sheep casings) I use quite a high temperature and low humidity as case hardening and pathogenic bacteria growth don't really come into play, say around 18C and 70RH.
For hog casings I prefer to use a lower temperature (12-14C) and up the humidity to around 75-85. This is because I prefer to hang the salami for quite a while before eating so the high humidity aids slow drying while the lower temperature provides a bit more safety (although it may be only in my imagination) as well as playing it's part in slowing down drying.
When using beef middles I try to keep RH around 85 and drop the temperature to 8C. The reason for this drop in the temp is because in my experience the high humidity can cause the mould on the outside to go crazy so the lower temps keep it in check to a degree. and I prefer the taste of a light covering of mould to a thick layer.
These parameters seem to work quite well for my small fridge with a slow computer fan however, it means I can only really make batches that are all in the same type of casing at any one time. This can be a nightmare if I have beef middle salami in there as they take around four months. That being said, I tend to find that in the final month or so I am able to get away with a bit of variation.
Please bear in mind that I am no expert though and would gladly accept any advice.
:D :D
All the best

Ryan
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Postby quietwatersfarm » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:21 pm

We tend to run at around 60-65f and generally 75% Rh unless there is a specific reason to vary the settings. This is the natural ambient curing room conditions.

The only thing that get hard is the Lonzino whenever I forget them for a few days!!! :D
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Postby jasonmolinari » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:45 pm

I think because we don't have "multistage" environments that are available in real production facilities which allow ramps of temp and humidity we have to choose a happy medium. One that will allow new stuff to be put in while older stuff is reaching the end of its cure time.
For me, that's 55/75..... No real scientific reason as to how i reached that point...basically reading and experimenting.

I am of the opinion though that a longer cure will give better flavors...so running at a higher humidity (80 ish) should be OK....maybe even preferable...but haven't run a head to head to prove that.
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Postby wheels » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:02 am

Thanks guys. I'm not ignoring posts, I just don't want to stop the flow.
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Postby Scotty2 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:05 am

I echo Jason's thoughts, Phil. With the lack of several different chambers, this method is a nice compromise and works quite effectively. I think the highest risk for case hardening occurs during fermentation. If the rh goes below 80%, I think you could have some problems. In the marianki book, there is even a scenario where I believe the sausages are submersed in water.
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Postby grisell » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:36 am

For me, I don't force it. Putting in some new salami raises the RH and I just let it be. As you know, I use a fridge with a small gap in the door; no forced ventilation. I found that an RH in the high eighties avoids the case hardening and still allows for weight loss.

I think that that's the important thing. I'm making sure that the stuff loses weight at a constant rate, and I've noticed this happening at RH's well above 80%. Well, anyway, I don't force it nowadays, I just let it be. And it works.
André

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Postby Scotty2 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:48 am

Andre, my issue with higher RH(mid to upper 80's) is you invite bad mold growth. When I add stuff, yes, the RH climbs. In that case I turn the light up in the chamber to keep it under control.
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Postby quietwatersfarm » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:07 am

we have a seperate fermentation room that runs hotter and wetter and so this avoids too much fluctuation in the drying room.

Like scott I find that too high a rh in the curing room meant a constant battle with the wrong moulds, whereas as its now effectively a live atmosphere meaning spraying is not required, as soon as the salami goes in its colonised :D
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Postby saucisson » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:20 pm

Whenever I try and make a big salami it seems to end up crumbly, could this be a drying issue? My thinner chorizo's turn out fine in the same environment.

Hope this is On topic enough...
Curing is not an exact science... So it's not a sin to bin.

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Postby mattwright » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:48 pm

I tend to run my drying chamber around 75 - 80% RH at a temp of 55F (12-13C).

But honestly, I don't sweat the humidity that much, unless I go and forget about the humidifier for a few days, and it dries out. Then I kick myself for being a slack bugger, and shape up a bit.

I don't worry too much about RH going up when I add stuff to the chamber. Unless the RH goes over 85% I don't mind too much.

I should add however that I have reasonable airflow in my drying chamber. It cools via a small air-con unit (its an old large wine fridge), which blows cold air in to the chamber. In addition to this my humidifer is hooked up to a fan, to help push the humid air around and to make sure my humidifier controller gives an accurate reading (without positive airflow it is a really lax, and doesn't control the humidity well at all).

One thing I have done is got another fridge as a "storage" fridge. I keep that at around 50F and 75% humidity with low airflow (a CPU fan over a hole in the fridge, turning on low for 30 minutes every 3 hours).

Personally I don't try and work out actual moisture in the air, based on ambient temperatures. That would seriously drive my OCD side over the edge..

I get some case hardening. Sometimes. Larger cuts are more prone to it with me - I am sure this is down to the airflow in my chamber. This is really something I cannot do much about.. it cools via airflow, and I need the fan with the humidifier otherwise the humidity control is wonky. I am thinking about building a baffle in one area of the chamber to keep newer stuff in.. but that is another story.
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Postby wheels » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:58 pm

It's interesting to see that in the main we have all reached similar conclusions.

However, what I can't understand is the massive weight losses in my latest batch of salami given that they were only made about a week ago.

On 3 Feb I put 3 different types of salami (in beef middles) into the curing fridge at 24°C (75F) and 90 - 95 RH for 2½ days fermentation. I then reduced the temp/RH (over a couple of days) to 13°C (55.4F) and 75% RH and now, at 8 days in, they've lost between 22% and 32% of their initial weight. The biggest weight losses are in the smaller salamis - their initial weights were: 569g, 617g and 650g and their % losses 26%, 32% and 27%. The larger ones at 826g and 886g have lost 23%. As far as I can tell, none of them have case hardening.

Two questions arise:

1. Are these results consistent with what you achieve/would expect?
2. Would you try and slow the drying process to allow better flavour development, and if so, how?

Phil
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Postby Scotty2 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:59 am

Phil, I think they'll slow down by themselves. I would leave them be.
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Postby Jogeephus » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:39 am

If you do not have case hardening then I wouldn't change a thing.

This thread reminds me of something I learned a long time ago. Doesn't have to do with sausages but maybe in a way it does in principle. Did you know that a small dead limb on a tree will stay on the tree much longer than a dead large limb. The large limb will lose more water than the smaller one but in relation to its size the percentage is less and pathogens are able to take hold and prune the limb. If you don't see any correlation forgive me - its friday night.
Patience please, I'm just trying to get on the learning curve.
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Postby wheels » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:55 pm

Thanks both.

It's only the second run with my revised curing set-up - I guess I'm a bit 'on edge' about it.

Phil
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