I can't wait...

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I can't wait...

Postby johngaltsmotor » Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:33 pm

So after nearly 2 years of waiting my curing chamber controller is almost done. Having family work on electronics puts you at the bottom of the list, but it's finally ready to test. I can't wait to start up a few batches of salami again. :drool:
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby NCPaul » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:21 pm

What salamis are you planning?

I'll be bottling the last two lagers for the year this weekend, then I can turn the fridge back into a curing chamber. :D I need some cooler weather for cold smoking.
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby johngaltsmotor » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:53 pm

Right now I'm planning to start with a repeat of my last endeavor. The dry cured hard salami (Great Sausage Recipes & Techniques) was great so I'm doing that as a confidence booster. The Genoa Salami and Salame Lucchese (Len Poli) were both a bit sour from fermenting too warm so I'll cool it down a bit and try again.

I'm just happy to actually have control of both temp and humidity so I don't have to worry about things going funky. It gets real old spraying with vinegar to knock down wild mold because you can't keep the humidity low enough. After such a long break I just need to refresh my memory about when to change the temp and humidity.
(I would say that I'll use that fridge for both dry curing and controlled beer fermentation but I haven't had time to brew in 3 months. Too many hobbies, not enough time...)
Pigs are magical creatures.... they turn vegetables into BACON!!
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby johngaltsmotor » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:38 am

And that would be the reason for a dry run. I decided since I'm waiting on new cultures to arrive I'd test the temperature control portion by making a few gallons of yogurt in the chamber. Turns out there was a typo in the software so the humidity circuit (which uses the fridge to dehumidify) was out of whack. Thankfully holding 115F only requires heat so I was able to unplug that and run with it.

My dad wrote the software so he emailed me that he made a mistake. But "Thankfully unlike doctors, engineers still make house calls. I'll bring over my laptop to reprogram the chip." HA HA
Pigs are magical creatures.... they turn vegetables into BACON!!
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby johngaltsmotor » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:47 am

Image

Well, 25pounds of salami hanging in the chamber. Unfortunately somehow the little piezo vibrating disc in my humidifier corroded so it doesn't vibrate right and barely puts out any cool mist. Thankfully they are exuding enough moisture that the humidity stays up at 90% so I've got a couple of days to find a replacement.

Now the hard part of waiting... :drool:
Pigs are magical creatures.... they turn vegetables into BACON!!
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby wheels » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:39 pm

I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

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Re: I can't wait...

Postby johngaltsmotor » Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:43 pm

Well hopefully things work out. After 11 days I had lost anywhere from 14-20% which seemed quick. (Anybody want to chime in on that initial weight loss being too rapid?) I went back and looked at the recipes and they called for 60-65%RH @ 65F. Then in looking through the Marianski books they all call for closer to 80%RH for drying... So I kicked the humidity back up and hopefully they haven't case hardened yet. I guess I'll weigh them this weekend and make sure they've continued to lose weight, just more slowly. :-p
I guess it is possible to have too many reference books once they start confusing you more than helping you...

(I have to wonder if the older books are referencing the ambient humidity in a large fruit room / root cellar while Marianski is basing it on a controlled environment where the conditions are more uniform?)
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby wheels » Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:28 pm

Many of us find it more successful when we use temps around 50°f, there's a thread about it somewhere.

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Re: I can't wait...

Postby NCPaul » Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:38 pm

Leave the humidity high (80-85 %) to start. I'll have mine going soon. :D
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby johngaltsmotor » Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:56 pm

Thanks guys.

I think I'm going to make a note on the controller for the future. In hindsight I remember reading somewhere that after fermenting around 90% to only drop 1-2% per day until you get to your target so your humidity doesn't get too far below your AW. Is that generally agreed on, or do you guys drop the humidity quicker?

I'll drop the temp down closer to 50F (which I'd feel better about just from a food safety standpoint), and leave the humidity at 80% for now so they at least equalize for a bit.
Pigs are magical creatures.... they turn vegetables into BACON!!
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby johngaltsmotor » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:41 pm

Well the hard salami are getting close. They are all about 25% loss now. So I cut into the smallest diameter one to see. Unfortunately there is some case hardening from the initial low humidity exposure. And it dried fast enough to create a void in the center (I considered taking a picture but didn't want evidence to prove I'd made a mistake ;-)). Thankfully the void was only a crescent 1/4" x 1" by 1" long so once I sliced far enough to get back to a clean surface I hung it again to keep equalizing. The taste is good, but a little weak (I'll chalk that up to too much moisture still so the salt ratio isn't high enough yet).
The rest are several weeks behind still.
Pigs are magical creatures.... they turn vegetables into BACON!!
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby vagreys » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:55 pm

I'm really enjoying following this. Thanks!
- tom

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Re: I can't wait...

Postby NCPaul » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:13 pm

Mine this morning had lost:
9.5 - 10.7 %, casing 60 mm, 10 days, two chorizo Asturiano, two finocchietta
6.7 - 8.4 %, casing 72 mm, 9 days, two chorizo Soria, two Tuscan salami

The temperature has been about 50 F and the humidity 90 - 80 % (high early now drifting down).
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby johngaltsmotor » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:42 pm

vagreys wrote:I'm really enjoying following this. Thanks!


I'm glad - I didn't want to feel like this was becoming a facebook post where I was posting simply to hear myself talk :wink:
I figure as a rookie I'd share a play by play so others considering giving it a try realize it's not rocket science and so that if I'm overlooking something some of the more experience folks might set me straight.
Pigs are magical creatures.... they turn vegetables into BACON!!
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Re: I can't wait...

Postby wheels » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:07 pm

We might not all post to tell you, but we're following with interest. :D

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