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March 31, 2015 at 11:42 pm #2236
I have been doing smoked sausage and BBQ for many years now and have not tried charcuterie because of a lack of space and the expense of a curing chamber. On other forums I came across NEPAS and others posts and testimonials about the UMAI bags, Had to try them and ordered some yesterday. Where I am from, we won’t be BBQing until the middle of May, so I should be able to dry age a nice piece of meat for BBQ and get some charcuterie projects underway. Anyone have any suggestions for a first time charcuterer? Must try first projects.April 1, 2015 at 1:16 am #9085
I am not much ahead of you in the use of the UMAi products. Given that you have done smoked sausages, I would speculate that you have the equipment that I did not have when husband and I first started out. We were using our kitchenaid mixer with grinder and stuffing attachments. After our first batch that was over processed by the kitchenmaid stuffer, we splurged on an LEM 5lb stuffer (last summer). This week I splurged on an LEM .35 Stainless steel grinder. We are going to give it a spin this week.
To date, we have been repeating the same sausage recipe and that is the Salami Finocchiona from the website and the UMAi videos. After this next batch, we will be looking to broaden out.
For charcuterie, I tried a capicola this past week and if you look at my other posts you can see that I had some issues to sort out. But all good, this is something I want to learn. I have heard (and should have done myself if I were not so hooked on capicola) is that the faster drying projects are more gratifying for first projects BUT I do not know that from any experience. The two I have heard are quicker are the duck proscuitto and the logo/lonzino, again from the wesbite. I also thought the cold smoke salmon looked interesting.
Link to their recipes and videos:
Note, big pointer for a first timer. Do your research on the salt in the recipe. There is a lot of discussion on the site, but salt is supposed to be done by weight apparently and salt volumes weigh differently so the teaspoon/tablespoon amounts in a given recipe could be off for the salt you are using. This has been a stumbling block for me.April 1, 2015 at 6:36 pm #9087
Thank you for the reply. I am well versed on weighing salts vs. using volumes. This cost me some batches of kielbasa and Andouille in the past. I do have all the equipment necessary, I just never made the leap into charcuterie because of a lack of a drying chamber and a healthy but not obsessive fear of botulism. lol.
After seeing so many projects posted on the various forums using the dry bags, it’s just something I have to try.
Thanks for the advice. I will try the salami finocchiona as part of my first project. The chorizo has peaked my interest as well. Have you ever tried it?April 1, 2015 at 9:53 pm #9088
I have not tried making the chorizo. Only working on perfecting the finocchiona to date. We had a 4 month lull and we are back at it now. Making another batch of finocchiona this week. Then, we will venture into other types. While figuring things out, I don’t want to alter too many variables at one time (scientist at heart). But, I have been enjoying looking into different options.
The latest variable I have come across and I am trying to figure out how it applies to the UMAi process is the humidity in the refrigerator or lack there of. I am contemplating putting a plastic tray of salted water in the refrigerator to add in some moisture. I believe I am understanding that adding that moisture will slow the drying only to the point of avoiding “case hardening” and making a more evenly dried salami or salumi. Thoughts?April 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm #9089
I know that is the purpose of using the water pan in traditional drying chambers. I really couldn’t say if it will work with UMAI or not. It is my understanding that the UMAI material lets moisture out but won’t allow any in so I am unsure what effect it might have with case hardening. Perhaps, in the later stages when the bags become looser it may have some beneficial effect?
Have you had trouble with case hardening using UMAI bags? If so, can anyone out there offer any advice on how to overcome this problem?
I have seen some excellent stuff on here from some members that look like they had zero case hardening on their salumi and others that have had some. Not sure what was done differently but I sure would be interested to know.April 1, 2015 at 10:15 pm #9090
My thought is that even though the UMAi material does not let moisture in, a lesser differential in humidities inside and outside the UMAi membranes I would assume impacts the drying rate. I have no idea if I have experienced case hardening in part because I have little to compare my results to and we have had other variables changing as I go along as well (first time kitchen stuffer over processed meats, second one complaint about salt w/ cause unknown, third was the best but could it be better?, forth is drying currently)
I know I have seen discussion in these boards about case hardening and I have seen discussion of water added to the chamber. As for the water discussion, I could search on them again but I am supposed to be doing spring cleaning right now. Fortunately, I did do the following cut and paste into my notes:
“humidity comment: So what I do to bring in a little more humidity is go to the garden shop and get a Package of Soil moist. These little pellets when hydrated with water swell up into little pea shaped marbles that hold water and release slowly. take a 1/4 cup or so put in a small bowl and hydrate with water and put in the fridge. This will help if you need higher humidity.
I have found a way to mitigate case hardening by placing a small bowl of water with Salt ( salt will keep bacteria at bay) in the refrigerator with a little fan blowing over the bowl to increase Humidity. This works like a charm!!!!!”
What also made this issue come to mind is yesterday my finocciona had gone from 9.1 oz to 6.1 oz in just 10 days. They are expected to take 3 – 4 weeks for 35 – 40% dry and I am already down 33% in less than half that time. That is just getting my mind going.
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