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Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 20:35
by Cabonaia
Does anybody know how to test Bactoferm cultures to see if they are still good? I don't like to toss's difficult to find enough use for each type within the official shelf life.

I think this has been asked before...haven't found it. Maybe someone should just help me with search terms. :shock:

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 22:16
by grasshopper
I called butcher and packer today. He said they keep it at 30 below zero. They ship to us in a couple of days and to toss my bactoferm t-spx as it would be no good. Just a thought.

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 06:36
by redzed
grasshopper wrote:I called butcher and packer today. He said they keep it at 30 below zero. They ship to us in a couple of days and to toss my bactoferm t-spx as it would be no good. Just a thought.
Although it's possible, I doubt they keep their freezers running at 30 below or almost -35°C. In fact I would bet fifty bucks that it's not true.

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:47
by crustyo44
You are so correct. If anybody believes this cr-p, I am the Pope as well.

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 14:01
by ssorllih
Actually it probably is true. My new kitchen fridge keeps -10°F. At those low temperatures everything keeps much longer.

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 14:05
by ssorllih
Chuckwagon, We need to tap your microbiology knowledge and with petre dish and a gell develop a culture test for the viability of our bacteria additives. In the meantime I wll pull my books and see what I can find. Thanks

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 15:43
by grasshopper
Sorry! He did say 30 below. But below what -F or- C, I did not ask. Next time I will be more accurate. I got my bactoferm LHP this morning and it is going into the freezer.

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 18:24
by Cabonaia
As long as we are on the topic of Bactoferm cultures, I have a question that may be answerable by few but of interest to many....

In Marianski's "The Art of Marking Fermented Sausages" and his other books there are sometimes 2 recipes for the same product - one "traditional" and one with culture. The traditional approach involves curing the meat for up to 10 days at refrigerator temperatures, while the cultured approach involves adding culture directly followed by stuffing and incubating. I believe with both approaches the goal is to get to the desired acidification level prior to the next step, which may be cold smoking, drying, or just resting for a while.

I understand that using a Bactoferm product produces more reliable results, but my question is different.

What is the difference in flavor between the traditional and the culture approach? Is it supposed to be the same, it's just that the Bactoferm culture approach is more reliable and faster? Or does one approach actually give you better flavor than the other?

I'm asking because #1, I want to learn, #2, I'll save money on Bactoferm because I don't mind a longer process, #3 I am shooting for a less tangy flavor, and if one of the methods can help me do that, I'll pick that.


Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 18:40
by Gulyás
Hi Jeff.

I'd like to second that.
The main reason I'll be making my own sausage is, because I'd like to have/eat "old-style-good" sausage. The good-old-European style one.
I don't want any sour sausage, I can buy that in the store, and if I want sour, I eat pickles, or souerkrout. :mrgreen:

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 20:07
by Cabonaia
Yeah I understand some like a sourly note in their sausage, and there is plenty of advice on how to achieve that.

Last summer I bought some cheapo summer sausage and it was so sour I couldn't even eat it. I had to throw it out! The pain is still with me.

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 20:56
by redzed
CW I'm wondering if you will soon be posting further instructions for the next phase of the project. I'm leaning toward making the summer sausage and will have some time middle of next week. I am also planning to make a bit of Polish style sausage and would like to do everything at the same time since I will have everything out and set up.



Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 21:00
by Chuckwagon
Guys, those are terrific questions. Actually, Ross is correct...(again :roll: ). In order for the culture to remain dormant, the concentrated, specific, bacteria must be stored at 30 below zero F. Commercially, this does not present a problem and the practice is routine. At home, we have to settle for a gradual loss of quality and effectiveness as lower, cryogenic temperatures are not available to us in our home freezers. However, just like Crusty and Redzed, I too, question the application of these sub-zero temperatures by suppliers during shipping and storing.

As far as the "flavor and color" development of a sausage is concerned, the particular type of bacteria introduced for this purpose is of prime concern. Cultures often use pediococcus acidilactici to assure reliable acidification. The flavor-color development is accomplished by the addition of staphylococcus xylosus. As we are about to discover in Project B, the two days allowed for fermentation using pediococcus acidilactici, simply does not provide enough time for the development of staphylococcus xylosus bacteria to be of any noticeable effect.

There are two points that should be clarified at this point. Generally, the shorter the acidification - the more tangy the flavor will be. Thus, sausages made with "fast" cultures such as LHP (two days) will be much more tangy (American style) than those made with slow-acting T-SPX (30 days or more). The sausages made with T-SPX will have a much more mellowed, subtle, traditional, European flavor.

The second point is that the length of time is not the prime factor affecting the flavor. Consider the amount of carbohydrate present in the mixture available to the lactic acid-producing pediococci and lactobacilli. In other words, how much sugar is accessible to those specific bacteria?

As we use LHP in Project B, it should be understood that the sausage will be "tangy" as staphylococcus and micrococcus "flavor and color-forming" bacteria simply do not have time to develop. The recipe for this type of sausage will almost always contain some additional sugar for the lactic acid bacteria to work on quickly to more effectively raise the acidity.

As your LHP begins to arrive in your mail, I`ll post the information needed to help understand it and also some changes made by the FSIS regarding quickly-fermented meat sticks. Also, we should be pressing on to the third type "semi-dry cured" chorizo. I`ll post the recipe soon.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 23:39
by Cabonaia
Thanks CW this is so valuable.

So sausages are a lot like people. They get sour fast and stay that way, or mellow over time.

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 02:07
by Chuckwagon
Modern Rules For Commercially-Made Jerky and Restructured Meat Sticks.

In October 2003, in New Mexico, an outbreak of Salmonella was traced to jerky production in one of the small plants. In response to this incident, the Food Safety and Inspection Service initiated a series of policy changes and guidelines. The FSIS stated, "Jerky is usually made from beef and the cooking guidelines for beef products should be observed".

A commonly asked question is, "Why is drying meat, without first heating it to 160°; F. (72° C), a food safety concern?" The danger looms when an appliance will not heat the meat to 160° Fahrenheit ("a temperature at which bacteria are destroyed"), BEFORE it dries, according to the USDA . After drying, bacteria become much more heat resistant. Within a dehydrator or low-temperature oven, evaporating moisture absorbs most of the heat. Consequently, the meat itself does not begin to rise in temperature until most of the moisture has evaporated. Then, when the dried meat temperature finally begins to rise, the bacteria have become more heat resistant and are more likely to survive. If these bacteria are pathogenic, they may cause food borne illness.

So, what the FSIS has concluded is that it is not enough for commercial producers to follow the time-temperature guidelines, but now they must include the humidity factor in the cooking process as well. Therefore, in commercially produced jerky and restructured meat sticks, it is now necessary to maintain the relative humidity of the oven at 90% (or more) for at least 25% of the cooking time for no less than one hour. This ruling has started a heated and ongoing debate between the FSIS and small jerky manufacturers who claim that maintaining such high humidity in a smokehouse is difficult and may force them out of business. Another argument is that the humidity requirement changes the quality of jerky. Due to today`s microbiological concerns, particularly E.coli 0157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes, all commercially made jerky must now be exposed to thermal processing. A hobbyist is not bound by the rules but we believe it is beneficial to know about the latest safety requirements for making jerky products.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 02:20
by Chuckwagon
El DuckO`s "Azul Chorizo Chabacano"
Type 3 (Semi-Dry Cured)

What is "Semi-Dry Cured" Sausage?
Depending on the amount of moisture that they contain, sausages are grouped as:
moist - 10% weight loss
semi-dry - 20% weight loss
dry - 30% weight loss

Semi-dry cured sausage may be made with or without cultures and may or may not be pre-cooked. However, due to modern health concerns, it is recommended that all semi-dry cured sausages be par-cooked. Commercially, this application is now required. Semi-dry cured sausage is usually cured by fermenting the sausage at least 48 hours rendering an acidic content of pH 5.2 or lower, then by drying it to a point below Aw 0.89 or lower. This type of sausage is normally cured using Cure #1 (nitrite) as reservoirs of nitrate are not needed in short-term fermentation.

Refrigerated "fresh" sausages must be used up within three days or frozen for use later. If the same sausage however, contains a prescribed amount of sodium nitrite and is smoke-cooked, it becomes a delicious "cured-smoked-cooked" type sausage ready for the grill. Can this sausage be further preserved?

1. What if we "bumped up" the sausage a little, by quickly fermenting it - that is, by using a preliminary curing step in traditionally-made (no culture used) sausages, OR by using a culture to drop the pH level to 5.3 or less.

2. What if we "bumped up" the sausage a little, by drying it to a point below Aw 0.85, where most bacteria no longer had an effect upon it? We could then store it at around 45°; F. in 75% humidity and the sausage would be "ready to eat" for an extended period of time.

Unlike fully dry-cured sausages, the semi-dry variety is usually pre-cooked (par-cooked) to about 140°F after fermenting and smoking have taken place. By reaching and surpassing the temperature of 138° F., the threat of trichinella spiralis is eliminated. Often this cooking step is accomplished while the smoking is being done.

Great idea eh? The sausage we are talking about has been prep-cooked to destroy any possible trichinella spiralis, and it has been cured with nitrite to prevent the development of any possible clostridium botulinum. The drawback is a loss of 20% of its original weight. (In fully dry-cured the loss is nearly 35% of its original weight). On the other hand, we would have the ultimate snack stick to take along hunting or hiking for a quick, lightweight, high-protein bite to eat. It surely beats high-sugar or high-carbohydrate snacks or candy. Sure, it would probably develop a little "white" mold, but we could always safely wipe it off before eating it. Better yet, we could prolong its preservation by vacuum-packing it in plastic or glass and not have to even worry about mold.

Semi-dry cured sausages are usually ground a little more coarsely and are made safe by an acidification level reaching pH 5.3 (or less) as mentioned. If a "fast" culture such as LHP is used, this may be accomplished in as little as two days. A "medium" culture such as F-RM-52 requires about 4 days. If these quick-acting cultures are used, it should be understood that the sausage will be "tangy" as staphylococcus and micrococcus "flavor and color-forming" bacteria simply do not have time to develop. The recipe for this type of sausage will almost always contain some additional sugar for the lactic acid bacteria to work on quickly to more effectively raise the acidity.

Note: Applying smoke during the fermentation stage is not recommended as smoke contains substances which may impede reactions between meat and beneficial bacteria, especially in the surface area.

Also note: Some old recipes have no requirements for cooking semi-dry cured sausage. If no heat treatment is planned in making a semi-dry cured sausage, it is now recommended that home sausage makers use a culture. Commercial suppliers are now being required to cook semi-dry cured products until the internal meat temperature reaches 160°F. This cooking step provides additional safety in sausage production whether the meat is smoked or not.

Before starter cultures were widely available to hobbyist home sausage makers, it was not uncommon to see "semi-dry cured" sausages made without prep-cooking. Today, the cooking step is strongly recommended as an additional measure of safety.

In a "fully-air dried" sausage, depending upon the type of sausage being made, the temperature inside the curing chamber may be boosted as high as 115°F., the humidity elevated to 95%, with an air exchange speed of about two miles per hour (0.8 m per sec.) as fermentation begins. Inside a special variable "fermentation chamber" these requirements are easily met. Several hours later, these conditions have normally decreased substantially. We may say that fermentation is the controlled production of lactic acid under conditions of consistently monitored and frequently adjusted humidity, temperature, and air flow. Please understand that until the fermentation process begins, the only protection against pathogenic bacteria is the sausage`s salt content, the addition of nitrite, and the initially low bacteria count of the meat. Following 48 hours of fermentation, the sugar-fed lactobacilli and pediococci have usually metabolized enough sugar to produce a sufficient quantity of lactic acid to render the sausage safely acidic.

The taste and texture of a "semi-dry-cured" product differs from a fully-dry cured sausage because it has been cooked. On the other hand, it differs from a "prep-cooked, cured, and smoked sausage" because it is fermented. The keeping qualities of this type of sausage are excellent, although we must remember that the only sausage that may be stored outside the refrigerator is a fully-dry-cured (air-dried) fermented sausage.

Meat Starter Culture Bactoferm™ LHP (Fast: 5.0 pH in 2 days)
LHP is a freeze-dried culture well suited for all fermented sausages where a relatively pronounced acidification is desired. The culture is recommended for the production of traditional fermented, dry sausages with a sourly flavor note. Each 42-gram packet of LHP will treat 500 pounds (225 kilo) of meat. Freeze remaining culture. Note: Cultures may be stored in freezer 6 months. Un-refrigerated it has a shelf life of only 14 days.

Again, when using LHP it should be understood that the sausage will be "tangy" as staphylococcus and micrococcus "flavor and color-forming" bacteria simply do not have time to develop. The recipe for this type of sausage will almost always contain some additional sugar for the lactic acid bacteria to work on quickly to more effectively raise the acidity.

El DuckO`s "Azul Chorizo Chabacano" (Type 3 - "Semi-Dry Cured)

800 gm pork (fat trimmings removed)
200 gm pork trimmings
10.6 gm non-iodized salt (reduce if using cure)
2.7 gm cure #1
0.24 gm Bactoferm™ LHP culture
9.0 gm sugar
0.7 gm pepper (black)
17.6 gm garlic (6 medium cloves - fresh)
21.2 gm chile- ancho (remove stems & seeds, grind)
11.5 gm chile-pasillo (remove stems & seeds, grind)
0.2 gm cloves (ground)
0.6 gm coriander (ground)
0.4 gm cumin (ground)
0.4 gm oregano
6.9 gm paprika (sweet)

Crush the garlic slightly and soak it in hot water while you grind the meat through a large (1/2") plate. Dissolve the salt and the cure #1 in the vinegar, mince the garlic and chiles, and then combine them with all the remaining ingredients, mixing them thoroughly throughout the meat.
If you choose to lighten up on the vinegar, mix the cure into a half-cup of ice water instead. Season the mixture a day or two in the refrigerator, then stuff it into 32 - 36 mm hog casings, making traditional 8" links.

Place one pound of regular table salt onto a cookie sheet with a lip around it. Spread the salt out evenly and add just enough water to barely cover the salt. Place the cookie sheet and salt in the bottom of an old fridge or your home kitchen oven. Keep the oven warm by using the pilot light in a gas model, or a hundred-watt light bulb covered with a large coffee can with several holes drilled in it. This will produce a warm area for a 2-day fermentation period at about 70% humidity.

When you are ready to smoke-cook the sausages, hang them at room temperature until they warm just a bit while you pre-heat your smokehouse to 130°F. Wipe any condensation from the sausages, being sure they are dry to the touch before they go into the smoker. Place the sausages into the smokehouse for an hour then introduce hickory smoke with the dampers 1/4 open. Slowly, only a few degrees every twenty minutes, raise the smokehouse temperature until the internal meat temperature registers 148°F. At this point, I cannot stress enough, the importance of patience. Please do not try to rush the process by elevating the heat too much or too quickly. The success or failure of the product will be determined by how you prep-cook the meat at this point. Do not "break" the fat or you will have expensive sawdust. There may be a temperature "stall" somewhere during the mid-140`s and as the meat-temperature finally nears 148 degrees, it may do so quickly, so keep your eye on the thermometer and do not allow the temperature to go above this mark. Cool the sausages in a little ice water and then dry them. Store them in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, until you are ready to grill them.

It is important to remember that even though the sausage has been cured, it doesn`t mean that it will remain edible outside the refrigerator. Why? Re-introduction of bacteria. This remains a perishable product and must be refrigerated and used within a few days, or frozen until you are ready to grill in the near future. It`s your job at this point to make a couple of pounds of this delicious sausage with the proper amount of sodium nitrite in it. This will change the entire structure of the meat and quality of the sausage as you will see.

In his book, "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages", author Stan Marianski stated: "All sausages can be smoked or not. Semi-dry sausages are smoked with hot smoke. What was once an important preservation step has become a matter of personal preference. If you like the smoky flavor, smoke the sausage, it`s that simple."

Best Wishes,