My Journey with UMAi Bags

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My Journey with UMAi Bags

Post by Shuswap » Fri Jul 04, 2014 18:53

In this thread I will tell about my experience using the UMAi bags. I`m hoping to produce dried products that are reasonably cost effective without having to use a curing chamber - we`ll see.

I started reading everything I could about using the Tub-Ex bags supplied in North America by UMAi who has effectively used YouTube as its knowledge tool.

After 14 days from mailing, my UMAi Charcuterie and Salumi kits arrived after a stall in Cda Customs. As directed, I immediately put the T-SPX Culture in the freezer.

I then called my butcher, 27 miles distant, and he had available a fresh pork leg and a coppa. Off we went oblivious of the cost. It was 97F outside but no worries. We have an Engel fridge/freezer in the SUV and it was set at just above freezing. Living in a small rural community as we do this hobby would not be possible without the Engel - our nearest Costco is 1-1/2 hrs return travel plus the time for a Polish and Pepsi and making numerous other stops for general supplies.

The ham was $2.55/lb and weighed in at 20.6 lbs. The coppa was $4.27/lb and weighed in at 3.2 lbs. Putting these prices in perspective the cost of gas to make the trip was 1.39/litre ($5.25 US gal) - ouch.

Up at 4am today to study how to butcher the fresh ham. Next to the WD forum, my favorite source of learning about this hobby is YouTube where I watched 2 videos on skinning and de-boning the ham. Done. The meat was trimmed out with silver skin and unwanted fat removed. Three larger pieces were rolled and tied for Proscuitti and the balance cut up for Soppresata.

Meanwhile I have the coppa waiting for my first UMAi dried Spanish Chorizo.
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Re: My Journey with UMAi Bags

Post by el Ducko » Fri Jul 04, 2014 19:42

Shuswap wrote:In this thread I will tell about my experience using the UMAi bags. I`m hoping to produce dried products that are reasonably cost effective without having to use a curing chamber - we`ll see.
---< (perhaps) insert miracle here?>---
Meanwhile I have the coppa waiting for my first UMAi dried Spanish Chorizo.
Thanks a bazillion for heading down the UMAi trail, leading the way, headed toward a Spanish chorizo. I hope to follow you soon. Please keep us all informed. (Ancient Chinese proverb: "Second mouse gets cheese.")

One question- - does it matter that you'll be drying at refrigerator temperature rather than 50°F/10°C ? As long as you ferment at the traditional temperature, 2 to 4 days, in order to hit pH target, it shouldn't matter (much) at what temperature the drying is done... I hope.

Well, we'll find out in a couple of months. Good luck, a hug for Marilyn, and congrats on the 50th.

Duk
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Post by Shuswap » Fri Jul 04, 2014 20:09

Duk, the appeal of these bags, which is not the cost, is that after 72 hours of drying in a cool room with high humidity, the sausage goes in the fridge for the duration with no maintenance. Indeed the experts say it is best to forget it until 30 - 40 % weight loss.

Marilyn says "Hi" back to you and Betsy. BTW your reply about testing a starter culture had us in the pantry reading best before labels :wink:
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UMAi Forum

Post by crustyo44 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:55

Most members probably don't realise that UMAi also has a Forum where members post pictures, ask questions etc etc.
It's great to see what other enthusiasts are actually doing with these bags.
I've got a couple of Coppa's on the go, so far so good.
Nepas is now one of their moderators. Rick finally surfaced again, curing, smoking and also using UMAi bags all in his 40'motorhome.
Just goes to show you all, that once you have the bug, no medicines can cure you ever again.
Cheers,
Jan.
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Re: UMAi Forum

Post by Hogswhiskers » Sun Jul 06, 2014 09:10

crustyo44 wrote:Most members probably don't realise that UMAi also has a Forum where members post pictures, ask questions etc etc.
It's great to see what other enthusiasts are actually doing with these bags.
I've got a couple of Coppa's on the go, so far so good.
Nepas is now one of their moderators. Rick finally surfaced again, curing, smoking and also using UMAi bags all in his 40'motorhome.
Just goes to show you all, that once you have the bug, no medicines can cure you ever again.
Cheers,
Jan.
Definitely has an addictive quality. Capicola and pancetta are staples in my kitchen thanks to Umai. BTW, did you know umai is Japanese for delicious?
OMG! WTF? BBQ!
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Post by el Ducko » Mon Jul 07, 2014 01:48

...nice looking forum website, with very instructive videos. I was surprised to find a video for sujuk there, among the other "goodies."

Two questions:
(1) What do you do about measuring pH? Can you maybe clip a corner of the bag, measure, then re-vacuum-seal?
(2) What about smoking? Can you smoke it while it's in the UMAi bag, which is used as a casing? (If the bag is oxygen- and water-permeable, maybe smoke can get in as well).

I didn't linger on the website long enough to see anything about smoking. There's probably something. ...anyone know? Thanks.
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Post by el Ducko » Mon Jul 07, 2014 02:33

...did some more searching on their site. At http://www.drybagsteak.com/forum/13-gen ... ulder#5279 it says in part:
As for smoking, we don't encourage this, due to a couple of factors: the UMAi Dry casings do not let smoke through very easily (hence their special properties from regular collagen or natural casings) and if you smoke them and dry them in the fridge, the fridge will acquire a special odor that may be quite hard to get rid of.
From this, I'm guessing that in order to smoke a sausage, you stuff in regular casing, (optionally) ferment, smoke, then seal in UMAI to dry. I'm wondering if stripping the casing from the sausage after smoking/cooling, then sealing in UMAi, would be the best route. ...or maybe, just sealing in UMAi as-is, after smoking/cooling, would work okay.

I considered not bothering with UMAi at all, just hanging the smoked sausage in the refrigerator to dry. The objection to doing this is that the humidity-controlling properties of the UMAI would be absent, and the sausage would probably dehydrate too fast.

...thoughts?
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Post by el Ducko » Mon Jul 07, 2014 02:48

One last tidbit from their site:
Basically what UMAi Dry provides is optimal moisture transmission to get the job done without a special chamber.
...guess that sums it up.
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Alternative to UMAi's Vacmouse

Post by Shuswap » Tue Jul 08, 2014 17:02

Asking if any one has found a substitute for the vacmouse supplied by UMAi for vacuum sealing their bags. Trying to avoid the 12 business day delivery time to British Columbia.
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Post by Bob K » Tue Jul 08, 2014 17:43

Shuswap

I would try using a section or two of a regular vac bag (the channel side with the lines) as a substitute for the Vacmouse strip.

Probably worth a try on a test bag.
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Post by Shuswap » Tue Jul 08, 2014 22:20

Bob K wrote:I would try using a section or two of a regular vac bag (the channel side with the lines) as a substitute for the Vacmouse strip.
Bob K, great idea buuuuuut it didn't work on my V2244 foodsaver. The seal (double sealed) wouldn't hold but the vacuum worked. :cry:
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Post by Shuswap » Wed Jul 09, 2014 15:51

Here is an update of my journey with UMAi bags - sorry about the length.

The final tally for the fresh ham was a loss of 3.3 lbs to skin and unuseable (for me) trim for a net of 17.3 lbs at $3.04/lb.

Capicola

After checking recipes on the WD list, I opted to stick with UMAi`s recipe for Capicola simply because this is my first use of their bag and I didn`t want to confuse things more than I already am.


July 6, 2014 - Capricola

My coppa was 1.458 kgs so I had to convert the measurements to that weight from their recipe for a 2kg cut. To my dismay UMAi`s recipes are in volume not weight and they don`t follow the convention of using capital "T" for tbsp and small "t" for tsp(I thought they were of the modern school). That meant weighing the ingredients to their recipe and taking 73% of each result for my coppa - get with the program UMAi and use weights.

UMAi Capricola - 2 kg coppa 1.458 kg coppa

3 tbsp kosher salt 28 g
2 tbsp sugar 25 g
1 tsp Insta Cure #2 6.5 g
2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper 5 g
1 tbsp juniper berries, crushed 3/4 Tbsp
2 bay leaves, crumbled 2
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme 2
2 cloves of garlic, minced 1/4 tsp granulated garlic

As instructed, I ground, crushed and crumbled seasonings where required and combined all into the thoroughly mixed salt and cure then rubbed over the entire surface of the coppa.

I placed the rubbed coppa into a zip lock bag and have it in the fridge for 7 -14 days until the meat is firm. I`m to turn it every couple of days to maintain even coverage.

As a side note, UMAi has two videos on making Capricola. In one, they rub only the salt and cure for the first stage then add the seasoning when placing in the bag for aging. I am following the second, which is to apply the salt, cure and seasoning from the get go. I don`t start checking weight loss until the second stage but turn the bag daily until firm (7 - 14 days).

July 6, 2014 - Soppresetta

I went through the process of preparing and stuffing the meat mixture into UMAi bags. As I was doing this I had the feeling there was more than I should have in a 1 kg batch. Sure enough when we weighed each bag and totaled the output I was at 1.8 kgs. Oh crap! I stripped the meat out of the casings and refrigerated the bulk overnight. While my DW calculated the additional contents needed for the batch I had a scotch.

Meanwhile we had purchased a Foodsaver V2040 for vacuum sealing the UMAi bags since our vertical Foodsaver would not do that. DW wasn`t happy about needing another unit but I found it at Canadian Tire on sale for $70. It didn`t pull the air out of the UMAi bags (yes, I repeatedly followed the UMAi instructions). I took the morning to travel back to town to upgrade to the V2244 at $150 - now DW is really unhappy. These units only have one vacuum function requiring the UMAi bag to be sealed twice in the same place plus a safety seal above. I had five casings to seal and with the double sealing on the V2244 it heated up before the batch was finished. You have to wait about 20 minutes before the unit can be used again - not too convenient. The better model has a moist and dry vacuum requiring sealing once plus the safety seal. This adventure better work out.

The UMAi salumi bag is 3" wide. You can cut casings any length you want but keep in mind the amount of bag required for sealing at both ends. When the bag is stuffed you must be sure the open end is clean of debris for a proper seal. You have to remember to use the supplied vacmouse strip to enable the air to be evacuated as these bags are different material than the Foodsaver type of bag.

The supply of vacmouse in the salumi kit is not generous so I started enquiring about a possible substitute. Bob K suggested using a strip of the Foodsaver bag material. I tried various ways of doing this but the seal will not hold. I think the material used in both bags is non-compatible.

It helps to use a rubber glove when trying to separate the two faces of the casing so you can mount it on the stuffer horn. We`ve all cursed the folded produce bags when trying to get them to open - the UMAi bag is more troublesome. I also fold back the amount of bag required for sealing which helps to keep it free of debris when removing the casing from the stuffer horn.

Here is the Marianski recipe for Soppresetta which has volume and weights. It is the recipe used by UMAi - but why did they drop the weight measures?

http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage ... oppressata

The salami is hanging in our wine room for 72 hours at 69F and 74 - 78 RH.
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Post by Bob K » Wed Jul 09, 2014 18:28

Shuswap

Did you use a culture with the soppresetta? The Marianski recipe does not.

I think a lot of people may be intimidated by weight measures that entail grams or fractions of them. Most folks do not have an accurate scale...but almost all have measuring spoons. Having to get extra equipment would curb sales of the product (UMAI bags).
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Post by Shuswap » Wed Jul 09, 2014 19:50

Bob K wrote:Shuswap

Did you use a culture with the soppresetta? The Marianski recipe does not.

I think a lot of people may be intimidated by weight measures that entail grams or fractions of them. Most folks do not have an accurate scale...but almost all have measuring spoons. Having to get extra equipment would curb sales of the product (UMAI bags).
Bob, I did not use a culture. UMAi uses the Marianski recipe. I find it hard to convert 1 tsp per kg of meat to the required amount for 1.35 kgs so I find volume easier.
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Post by cogboy » Wed Jul 09, 2014 23:26

Thanks, please keep us informed about your UMAi "journey".
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