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!
I’ve been looking for a good recipe for chicken sausage and back in October, I made one that was devised by a friend and was flavoured with thyme, lemon and garlic having been inspired by Chef Thomas Keller’s famous recipe for chicken brine. I was so confident that it would be great that I even posted a ‘coming soon’ photo. After all, what’s not to like? They’re a classic combination. Well, somewhat embarrassingly, the family didn’t like it. I’m sure others will though and the recipe’s here for people who want to try it… …and I encourage you to do so.
This cure calculator can be used for measured dry cures or equilibrium brine (wet) cures. Measured dry cures are also sometimes referred to as EQ Cures.
It is designed for the experienced curer – those who will know to adjust the meat weight for any bone. Those who realise that meat takes a very long time to reach equilibrium in an eq brine.
They will also be aware of curing safely and using a sufficiently strong brine to protect the meat whilst it is curing when using a brine cure.
The input to the form is in grams rather than lb and oz. This is for purely practical purposes; for example, 2.5% of 1000gm is far easier to calculate than 2.5% of 2lbs2oz. It also uses weight for all measurements; this is because the volumes of solids are variable.
I prefer to use a rough puff pastry rather than a shortcrust or shop-bought puff pastry but these could also be used. I make the pastry using this quick rough puff pastry recipe.
I’ve dropped a clanger by not taking a photo of the sheet of pastry after it’s rolled out but I roll it to approx 250mm (10″) by 400mm (16 “). Square the edge off that’s nearest you. I will make 2 long rolls from this that I’ll then divide each into 4 individual sausage rolls.
For approximately 100gm rolls use 170gm of sausage meat and roll pieces to form a long sausage to lay along the nearest edge. Then, lifting the pastry, roll it to just encase the meat. At this stage dampen the next inch or so of pastry with water (I think that water is better than egg wash for this) and roll the meat/pastry roll onto this. The roll can be cut away from the sheet at this stage.
I love a sausage roll but blimey, you kiss a few frogs before you find a prince! Too many are absolutely dire; the sausage meat is like meat paste and what is it with that pastry that’s neither short nor puff and is similar in texture to cardboard? I guess people tolerate it because they’re relatively cheap and they’re convenient.
As sausagemeat can be made without any fancy equipment they’re a great project for making at home. I would normally mince the pork myself to make these but to illustrate my point I’m using bought pork mince for these. You could get this from your butcher, or as in this case, the local supermarket. If it’s from your butcher ask for 80/20 visible lean. From the supermarket, buy the 20% fat pork mince, not the 5% fat one.
I assembled what I needed for the sausagemeat, most of the spices in the spice dabba won’t be used on this occasion but they do add a bit of colour to the photo!
The ingredients for each kilogram of pork mince are:
280gm Water 180gm Rusk 22gm Cornflour 18gm Salt 4gm Ground white pepper 2gm Ground black pepper 1.5gm Ground nutmeg 1.5gm Ground ginger 1.5gm Ground coriander 0.5gm Ground mace 3gm Rubbed sage
To make things easier, there is a calculator at the end of this post.