An attempt to demystify the salami making process.
To overseas readers, I apologise that the links to suppliers are all UK based, however, the information is relevant regardless of that.
The basic process
Making the sausagemeat
Adding a salami culture
Stuffing the sausagemeat into casings
Fermenting them in a warm environment for a controlled time period
Hanging them at a controlled temperature and relative humidity to dry
Many governments have rules about the production of commercial salami products even if it’s only the level of curing salts that are allowed in them. The USA and Canadian authorities also have rules governing the time drying and time allowed for fermentation – it’s to those rules I’ve looked for good practice in those areas. It makes sense for home producers to follow those rules or at least make informed decisions about choosing not to.
The US and Canadian governments have rules limiting the amount of time that a salami can be held above 15.6°C (60°f) for fermentation of cultures. They are very similar other than one uses Fahrenheit and the other centigrade. It’s the Canadian rules (centigrade) that I’ll use for this explanation.
The rules use a calculation based on what is termed degree hours. The salami must reach a pH of 5.3 within a set number of degree hours. This is the number of hours that the salami is above 15.6°C multiplied by the amount that the temperature exceeds 15.6°C:
Degree hours = hours x temperature in excess of 15.6° C (60° F)
This number of degree hours is limited depending on the temperature being used:
Back in 2016 my good friend Paul started a thread on the sausagemaking.org forum about making snack stick salami. Nothing new in itself, other than it allowed people to try curing a salami product in a domestic fridge; as such it was pretty ground-breaking.
Over the years the thread has grown as Paul has added further recipes to it. I encourage you to read it as it shows quality products made using best practices.
It’s not until now that I’ve got around to making any myself – it’s something quick and fairly easy in salami terms that I’ll be making regularly.
The ones on the left are fuet from the recipe by Jeffrey Weiss in his book Charcuteria – The soul of Spain and the others are an adaption of Paul’s cheese and Worcestershire sauce recipe using local Red Leicester cheese and Henderson’s relish – a sauce from Sheffield similar (and superior) to Worcestershire sauce. As I’m about equidistant between Sheffield and Worcester I could claim either as being moderately local!
Forgive the long title; I was going to title this ‘Fennel Lonzino’ and had actually typed that when I thought that it’s a bit of a liberty to do so when I’ve not got a clue as to whether the Italians use fennel in their lonzino.
I’d got in mind to make a more classic product with the simple flavours of pepper and garlic, which I understand to be a traditional lonzino. However, given that this is a piece of industrially produced meat and is likely to have less flavour than the meat I would usually use, I decided to go with the stronger flavour of fennel.
I started two last month; I’ll smoke one and leave one unsmoked as my wife, Pauline, is not too keen on smoked food.
We’ll use it sliced in place of ham and it may even find its way into the odd bacon butty as it’s a loin version of US bacon! I’ll not be stopping making real British bacon any time soon though – have no fears about that!