Try Your Hand At Making Fermented Sausages

User avatar
Chuckwagon
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 4494
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 04:51
Location: Rocky Mountains

Try Your Hand At Making Fermented Sausages

Post by Chuckwagon » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:23

Why Not Try Your Hand At Making Fermented "Dry-Cured" Sausage!

Stan Marianski has taken the mystery out of the subject in a couple of his books available at Bookmagic.com. He has also placed much technical information on this site at this link: http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/sausage-ty ... ed-sausage

OK, all you salami slicers! You have no more excuses. Have you been hesitating to make "dry-cured" sausages because you`ve heard that it is difficult or not safe unless you have "special knowledge"? Well, procrastinate and postpone no more! It just isn`t that tough IF... you just realize what you are doing when you are doing it! Stan has spelled it out for us.

First, you`ve got to know a little about microorganisms, especially "pathogenic" and "spoilage" bacteria. It is a good idea to read and understand the material at the above link. Stan has placed a wealth of knowledge here for your use.

When I first started to study pathogenic bacteria, it didn't take me long to realize that perhaps nature may be just a bit forgiving as it is truly a miracle that man has not completely wiped himself out somehow in his carelessness with food-born bactera. Just one look into a microscope and some of this stuff will have you shaking in your boots!

Incredibly, only a small number of pathogenic bacterial strains cause the millions of cases of food-borne illness each year and ironically, proper cooking or processing could prevent nearly all of them. The most dreadful is the notorious clostridium botulinum - the killer. Then there are campylobacter jejuni - the bacteria whose infection just makes us wish we were laid to rest. Clostridium perfringens is called the "cafeteria bug" because so many cases have been reported from foods left on steam tables or at room temperature for long periods. Did you know that there are over 1600 types of salmonella although we hear about salmonella enteritidis most of the time because it`s the bug found in some raw and undercooked eggs. Then there are staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus A, (found in the ears, throat, nose, blood etc. of humans), and shigella of 30 types, transferred to food mostly through human contact. Listeria monocytogenes and escherichia coli 0157:H7 are two more nasty critters we could do without. There are also two non-bacterial, parasitic types of organisms causing us great concern, and knowing how to destroy cryptosporidium paryum and tricinella spiralis is imperative. Read about sub-zero temperatures for treating meat for these "nematode worms".

"Battling Bugs By Restricting Their Available Water"

I`ve chuckled and snickered at Kjuncatman`s `signature` on our forum since the first day I read it. It says, "Cure the meat? Is it sick?" If the world were depending upon you to eliminate pathogenic bacterial microorganisms, just how would you go about it? Can you think of the cheapest effective means to snuff `em out? You could starve `em out couldn`t you? If you dried up their food, they would expire... right? You know that bacteria cannot survive in an environment without moisture, so might it be possible to limit the amount of water available to bacteria in order to destroy them? And, what about salt? What does it do and how much would you use? All good questions! However, contrary to popular certainty, salt does not destroy bacteria. It doesn`t even force water to evaporate. It does, however, immediately immobilize or bind a specific, large amount of free water, preventing it from interacting with bacteria (or anything else). The measurement of "bound" water (not available to bacteria) is called "water activity", and is abbreviated Aw. Water Activity is measured on a scale from 0.00 (called "bone dry") to 1.00 - the measurement of pure water. So, how about serving a bacterium a dose of salt at first, while we deprive it of moisture? It works. For thousands of years it has worked! Bacon, hams, sausages, and all sorts of meat have been cured with salt, smoked, and dried safely for centuries. Your grandparents certainly knew that salting, drying, and par-cooking meats were positive steps adverse to microorganism survival! They were also aware that if they smoked meat, it not only tasted better but it was not likely to develop mold on its surface.

pH - The Measure Of Acidity

Another effective means of reducing numbers of bacteria is to introduce them to an acidic environment. Have you ever thought about just how many foods we preserve in vinegar? In preserving sausage, we simply introduce a lactic acid - producing bacteria such as lactobacillus or pediococcus. Of course, acidity affects flavor and the addition of an acid is not just a simple solution for every type of meat. Yet, without lactic acid - producing bacteria, we wouldn`t have wonderful, tangy, fermented type sausage.

In chemistry, potentiometric hydrogen ion concentration is abbreviated pH. :shock: What's this? Shucks pards, I "aced" college chemistry... mostly because I intimidated the teacher with my garlic jerky breath! Uhhh... Roughly, pH is the measurement of acidity or alkalinity in any substance using a scale from zero to fourteen. Pure water is said to be very close to neutral, having a pH measurement of nearly 7.0 at 77° F. Foods with pH less than 7 are said to be acidic, while foods having a pH greater than 7 are said to be alkaline or "base". Note that as we lower the pH factor, we increase acidity. Are microorganisms able to survive inside acidic foods? Not when the acidity is increased in a sausage by a drop below about 4 pH., depending upon the specific microorganism we are referring to. Some are more resilient than others.

Lets investigate a most effective way of preserving non-cooked, fermented sausages such as salami and pepperoni, using lactobacillus or pediococcus - the bacteria that produces lactic acid when nourished with a sugar (powdered dextrose). For centuries, man has been able to make dry-cured sausage safely only because the meat he used was subjected to a long drying process (including large amounts of salt), as well as naturally occurring lactobacilli or pediococci bacteria found in the atmosphere and on the premises of the slaughterhouse or sausage maker. Of course, he did not realize why safe fermentation occurred, only that it did occur. Few families were privy to the processing information someone had previously, accidentally discovered, and had passed down for generations. Certainly, these families marketed their product as being crafted using "secret" information and recipes. Often a technique called "back slopping" was used, in which a small amount of a previous batch (containing lactobacilli) was introduced into a fresh batch of sausage. Civilizations throughout Europe employed this inoculating procedure, again not understanding the reason it worked - only that it did work. For the first time, sausages did not have to be cooked to be safely stored for any amount of time at room temperature.

Just what was taking place without the knowledge of the sausage maker? What mysterious force was rendering the sausage safe rather than being spoiled during the long process? Incredibly, the scientific secrets would not be entirely understood until the middle of the Twentieth Century! In short, man began to realize that as sausage "cures", a competition ensues between the good bacteria and the bad, both struggling for the same nutrition source. Time, (allowing lactobacilli or pediococci to accomplish their pH drop by increasing the acidity), becomes vitally important as the only initial protection of an air-dried sausage is the addition of salt, which immediately lowers the amount of "available water" accessible to any bacteria. Again, salt does not destroy bacteria, nor does it cause water to evaporate. It does, however, limit the amount of water available to bacteria - with much the same effect that freezing accomplishes. (As ice crystals develop inside meat cells, they simply limit the water available to bacteria - prohibiting bacteria from becoming nourished.)

So, to sum it up, as sausages become slowly dehydrated in a controlled, humid, atmosphere or chamber, they become safe for consumption as pathogenic and spoilage bacteria are not able to survive, once limited available water restricts their nutrition. While this is going on, lactobacilli or pediococci bacteria are slowly producing lactic acid to also limit pathogenic and spoilage bacteria. Given the proper amount of time, both these procedures work very well in making that great tangy sausage we call "dry cured" or fermented sausage. Now, where does Bactoferm™ fit in? The product is simply a high-quality, freeze-dried culture of controlled and measured bacteria in various strengths for slow, medium, or fast production. With Bactoferm™, the pH drop (increase in acidity) may occur in as little as 2 days to as much as several months. Other cultures are formulated to produce various, specifically desired qualities such as desired flaky-white mold formation (penicillium nagliovense) or even protection against listeria.


Why We Use Cure #2?

In time, man`s discovery of nitrates in any number of the earth`s salt reserves, were found to assist in the curing process as micrococcus bacteria (usually staphylococcus) cause nitrates to break down into nitrites. Cure #2 (containing a "reservoir" of sodium nitrate) is used in dry-cured (fermented) sausages whenever curing time allows its sodium nitrate to gradually break down into sodium nitrite. Cure #2 in the United States, contains 6.25% sodium nitrite (NaNO2), 4% sodium nitrate (NaNO3), and 89.75 sodium chloride (salt). Why so much sodium nitrate as compared to that in Cure #1? As micrococcus bacteria (also called Kokuria) reduce nitrate to nitrite, nitric oxide is produced. It is actually this element that "cures" meat. Following two weeks dry-curing, only about a quarter of the 6.25 % sodium nitrite remains in meat. Nitrite simply breaks down too quickly to be of value over an extended period. In other words, in salamis requiring three or more months to cure, a certain amount of sodium nitrate must be added to break down into yet more nitrite over time.

Good luck with your first "dry-cured" sausage all you smoke lovers! If you have questions, please don`t hesitate to send me a PM. I surely don`t know it all, but I can tell you how to bake a great biscuit! Be sure to pick up a copy of Stan and Adam Marianski`s book, "The Art Of Making Fermented Sausages" published by Bookmagic LLC (www.book-magic.com)

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Thu Dec 11, 2014 21:38, edited 1 time in total.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
User avatar
Baconologist
Passionate
Passionate
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 00:37
Location: Oxford, New Jersey

Post by Baconologist » Sat Sep 15, 2012 17:43

I've been reading through some older posts on the forum today and I'm looking for a clarification on a statement above...

"The measurement of "bound" water (not available to bacteria) is called "water activity", and is abbreviated Aw."

It's always been my understanding that water activity (aw) is the measure of "free' or "unbound" (i.e., active water) water in a food and it's that "unbound" water that's available to micro-organisms....although some explanations are not the clearest....???

"Water in food which is not bound to food molecules can support the growth of bacteria, yeasts and molds (fungi). The term water activity (aw) refers to this unbound water."

http://drinc.ucdavis.edu/dairychem4_new.htm

"In practice, "water activity" is a measure of the. "free" or "unbound" water in a food sample."

https://www.npal.com/docs/npal_document_72.pdf

"Water activity (Aw) is a measure of the free or "unbound" water present in food products."

http://www.ncsu.edu/foodscience/seafood ... ng2008.pdf
Godspeed!

Bob
HamnCheese
Frequent User
Frequent User
Posts: 123
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 03:24
Location: PA

Post by HamnCheese » Wed Jan 02, 2013 23:54

Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
Stanislaw Lec
ssorllih
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 4331
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 19:32
Location: maryland

Post by ssorllih » Thu Jan 03, 2013 03:12

Baconologist wrote:I've been reading through some older posts on the forum today and I'm looking for a clarification on a statement above...

"The measurement of "bound" water (not available to bacteria) is called "water activity", and is abbreviated Aw."

It's always been my understanding that water activity (aw) is the measure of "free' or "unbound" (i.e., active water) water in a food and it's that "unbound" water that's available to micro-organisms....although some explanations are not the clearest....???

"Water in food which is not bound to food molecules can support the growth of bacteria, yeasts and molds (fungi). The term water activity (aw) refers to this unbound water."

http://drinc.ucdavis.edu/dairychem4_new.htm



"In practice, "water activity" is a measure of the. "free" or "unbound" water in a food sample."

https://www.npal.com/docs/npal_document_72.pdf

"Water activity (Aw) is a measure of the free or "unbound" water present in food products."

http://www.ncsu.edu/foodscience/seafood ... ng2008.pdf
Is this of practical importance or merely academic importance?
Ross- tightwad home cook
User avatar
Baconologist
Passionate
Passionate
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 00:37
Location: Oxford, New Jersey

Post by Baconologist » Thu Jan 03, 2013 03:26

It's of practical importance to those who have a need to measure Aw.
Godspeed!

Bob
ssorllih
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 4331
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 19:32
Location: maryland

Post by ssorllih » Thu Jan 03, 2013 03:42

Then if Aw equals.85 do we have 85 % of the original water still availble and is that enough to support spoilage?
Ross- tightwad home cook
User avatar
Baconologist
Passionate
Passionate
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 00:37
Location: Oxford, New Jersey

Post by Baconologist » Thu Jan 03, 2013 04:08

There's more to it than that.
See some of the links above for a good explanation.
Godspeed!

Bob
ssorllih
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 4331
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 19:32
Location: maryland

Post by ssorllih » Thu Jan 03, 2013 04:10

I will look at those but can I directly measure Aw?
Ross- tightwad home cook
ssorllih
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 4331
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 19:32
Location: maryland

Post by ssorllih » Thu Jan 03, 2013 04:27

I have read the referenced links and I can't comprehend how I might be able to apply that information to my primative home sausage making efforts. So I think until I am instructed more completely I will simply have to depend upon my weight scales and a predictable weight loss to indicate a suffient reduction in Aw to provide food safety.
Ross- tightwad home cook
HamnCheese
Frequent User
Frequent User
Posts: 123
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 03:24
Location: PA

Post by HamnCheese » Thu Jan 03, 2013 14:16

Respectfully,

I am a rank beginner and here's what the most important part of the discussion is for me: there is a process which renders fermented meat safe to eat AND if you will be fastidious in your preparations and follow the directions of more expert sausage makers exactly, chances are that no one you love will die.


The process is technical enough without submitting (public forum/academic) questions that make the process even scarier and/or more confusing.


If you spit in your food, aW doesn't mean a hill of beans.

Thank you CW for your usual time commitment to get all this information on paper.
Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
Stanislaw Lec
User avatar
Baconologist
Passionate
Passionate
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 00:37
Location: Oxford, New Jersey

Post by Baconologist » Mon Jan 07, 2013 02:04

ssorllih wrote:I will look at those but can I directly measure Aw?
A water activity meter is required.
Godspeed!

Bob
User avatar
Butterbean
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1775
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 04:10
Location: South Georgia

Post by Butterbean » Sat Dec 14, 2013 00:09

Without a meter no. Meters are expensive too unless someone has found a better source than what I found.
alhunter63
User
User
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 20:50
Location: n.y.

Post by alhunter63 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 00:27

I'm looking to buy a AW meter myself but the cheapest one I found was about $2K!!
That can't be right, is it??
User avatar
Chuckwagon
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 4494
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 04:51
Location: Rocky Mountains

Post by Chuckwagon » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:33

Alhunter63, the Federal guys test with a "Pawkit" water activity meter. It's made by Decagon Devices Inc., in Pullman, Washington. The last I checked, they were about 150 bucks! Ouch. :shock:
Click on this link to check it out. http://www.decagon.com/products/Measurement/45

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
alhunter63
User
User
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 20:50
Location: n.y.

Post by alhunter63 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 18:29

C.W. I just called the number on the link you sent over annd I must admit I was pretty excited :mrgreen: cause I had my credit card in my hand befote I even dialed the number. I didn't think $150 was bad at all considering that I spent more than that on my PH meter. When the little oriental girl came on the phone she said that the cheapest, most economical PAWKIT water meter they sell is $ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED EIGHTY DOLLARS WOW, :shock: that took the wind right out of my sail and needless to say after I got up off the floor that credit card went back into my wallet quicker than a lightning bolt strikes!! :cry:
Post Reply