when to add meat cultures

Cabonaia
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Post by Cabonaia » Tue Aug 13, 2013 23:59

Igor Duńczyk wrote:For Jeff
That´s a question I´ll pass on to the laboratory as I don´t know of any do-it-yourself method. It may depend a. o. on the sturdiness of the individual bacteria strain, on the total cell count in the starter culture (which can be VERY different from one producer to another) etc.
Usually a factory sealed culture will, when stored continuously at or below -0,4 Fahrenheit (-18c) and not exposed to occasional thawing, have 12 months shelf life, with small probability of a noticable decrease in activity even after 18 months.
The problem of opening a sachet, using some of the culture, sealing it and placing it back in the freezer is that a slight thawing may take place. If the carrier (the freeze dried grounded bacteria strains are usually mixed with a dry matter to create some volume) is a. e. dextrose or another kind of fermentable sugar, then you can´t exclude the risk that the thawing will initiate some kind of degradation process.
However, considering that many recipes prescribe half or a quarter sachet for only 10 or 20 lb. of meat there is a large cell count surplus before the many become too few.
Still, try to use opened sachets within one to two months.
Thanks Igor - That's a great tip on keeping the culture cold at all times once I open it. Do let me know if you find out a DIY test method.

At what point in the process of making fermented sausage would I be be able to determine if a culture was active or not? What would I be looking for?

My problem is the expense of the cultures - I don't have a practical way of using them up within a couple months.

Cheers,
Jeff
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Post by ursula » Wed Aug 14, 2013 09:16

Hi Igor,
The other things on the plate were csabai,(snagman and jan's recipes) cold smoked Polish, and cold smoked loin. My guests were very complimentary. They had to be, because otherwise I wouldn't have served them my homemade mango icecream!!!
Best wishes Ursula
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Post by Igor Duńczyk » Thu Aug 15, 2013 09:23

Hi Jeff,

I´m regret that I cannot come up with the DIY answer that you want. As I was told from above it remains a laboratory matter

I can though give you the approved method for dividing your sachets so that the other half remains usable for at least the rest of the to use by-period.
The reason why it gets increasingly risky with every division is, as I´ve stated somewhere before; as the freeze dried bacteria only have a very small volume they are usually blended with some kind of carrier (usually dextrose, but can be maize starch too).
And because they are blended they may also separate.

So if you want intend to use a starter culture for a. e. 10 portions it will be a bit of a "Do you feel lucky , Punk?" question if the proportions between carrier and bacteria are the same in #1 as in #10. :twisted:

Probability that you will notice a difference is low, but if a.e. the remaining #7 to #10 will been lying in the freezer for many months then culture activity by the time you finally use them will probably also have decreased because of the repeated thawing and reopening.

To play safe you can do like this:

1) After taking out the sachet from the freezer leave it for 30 minutes in the ambience temperature of your meat workshop.

2) Cut it open just sufficiently enough to enable fast and easy pouring out of the amount you need (a.e. 1,5 inch).

3) After making sure that all air is squeezed out of the sachet close it immediately with an adhesive tape that will stand refreezing and put it back in the freezer asap.
Wishing you a Good Day!
Igor The Dane
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Post by Cabonaia » Thu Aug 15, 2013 23:33

Igor - thanks a lot for looking into it, and for the tips on keeping culture viable. I guess the best way is to step up production and make sure I use it all within the allotted time period - I have had less pleasant problems to resolve. :smile:

Of course I can never stop asking questions....
Suppose I use a culture that I thought was alive, but for reasons beyond my control, it is dead. I had no way of knowing. Still the sausage seems to come out fine - I follow all safety procedures, pH drops in a timely manner, proper dehydration occurs, no colorful molds or slime or off aromas or flavors develop...what then? Am I safe? I am guessing so, as people have cured sausages for generations without high tech cultures, if not with as high a degree of safety as we can have with introduced cultures. I can't help thinking that with such touchy substances being shipped all over the world, and Aussie customs officials sticking their mitts all over it (as is reported :mrgreen: ), and people handling it incorrectly, and thinking they can get just one more batch out of that expensive little sachet, that this happens quite a bit.

I think I answered my own question, but I am not the one for me to ask, so am asking you, CW, and whichever other knowledgable person wants to chime in.

Cheers,
Jeff
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Post by Igor Duńczyk » Fri Aug 16, 2013 02:21

Jeff - I don´t mind at all admitting that starter cultures is an option that may facilitate the process for some but not necessarily for all.
Having glanced at google maps I have an idea of Morgan Hill being a place with a dry rather than moist ambience and good circulation without being too windy. Am right or..... ? For sheer salami making I would probably be happy to swop your place with most places in Poland or even with my spot in Denmark (not least considering the Californian wine that´ll accompany all the meat-treats :razz:).

There are locations in the world where cultures would be totally out of place, there are places where they are good to keep in in reserve for the sake of safety, and places where cultures are a simple a necessity if you want to make salami and be sure that it resembles what you produced last time.

Think of an area like Parma, Italy. Starter culture for ham would simply not be allowed by any of the certified ham producers there. Nature does the work. Don´t mess with it.

I myself frequently visit the northern part of croatia known as Istria where the locals with sea salt, ground black pepper, crushed bay leaf, some garlic, a litte rosemary and NOT using any cure added, turns out dried hams that after "only" seven months have a rich flavour wich can make you forget even about Italian hams. The fact that the area was an integrated part of Italy for hundreds of years explains much.
Safety....? Not an issue I´ve heard raised. It´s like an area where it seems things just can´t go wrong.
Here is Mladen Djumovic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4r9SUE9-7k whose ham-cantina I stumbled into by coincidence last year, ending up spending some rich hours with endless degustations of Prsut, Panceta and Mladens homegrown Malvazia whitewine which he generously poured himself :razz: :razz: :razz: .
Nedless to say; salami of that region can also be a treat with the profound aroma of italian style mould ripening.
But go just 150 kilometres inland Croatia and you´ll see how even experienced salami producers have problems making stable products without the use of starter cultures.
The micro climate suddently being less generous...
Wishing you a Good Day!
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Post by Chuckwagon » Fri Aug 16, 2013 04:31

Jeff, you wrote:
...so am asking you, CW, and whichever other knowledgable person wants to chime in
I don`t know if I qualify as a knowledgeable person or not but here are my 2 cents: In Europe, pediococcus cerevisiae has been traditionally used at relatively lower temperatures which have resulted in a much milder flavor than those products made using other lactobacilli. In 1957 the micrococcus bacterium was introduced. Then, during the 1960`s, even more curing strains were placed on the market and staphylococcus carnosus is still widely used today. About the time Rytek was writing changes for his second edition, he remarked that soon we may even see the distribution of bio-cultures to the small home-hobbyist. In 1966, the first universal and most practical lactic acid bacteria for use in sausage was introduced by a developer by the name of Nurmi. This is the workhorse called lactobacillus plantarum which is used at moderate temperatures. Ol` Rytek was excited. I still am. Anyone who remembers the trial and error of a quality and uniform controlling effort of bacterial development remembers the first time that Chr. Hansen "Bactoferm"™ came on the market. It was a boon and a blessing! The manufacturer produced the smallest volume practicable for use by the home salami enthusiast. For example, in the case of LHP, the bio-culture is shipped in a 42 gram packet that must remain deeply frozen (sub-zero) or the bacteria will expire in about two weeks. At 15 degrees below zero, it should last about six months.
Then in the 1970`s, "wondercures" were made by combining lactic acid bacteria and curing bacteria. These "multi-strain" cultures not only ferment meat, they also develop color and flavor, as well as fighting off undesirable bacteria. Each culture on Chr.Hansen`s list has a specific property and a unique "profile". Each has its own recommended fermentation temperature. Most are hetero-fermentative (meaning they not only produce lactic acid by metabolizing carbohydrates, but they also create many different reactions as well - sometimes producing unpleasant odors.) PU :roll: In opposition, starter cultures producing lactic acid only, are called "homo-fermentative" cultures.
In the laboratory, each culture is developed for a uniquely precise effect and yes, each will produce a product having its unique flavor profile although it may be similar to others. Merely one gram of any specific lactic acid culture may contain tens of millions of bacterial cells ensuring domination over undesirable microorganisms.
Your problem? How long has it been in the supplier`s deep freezer before being sold to you? Merely a 42-gram packet of LHP will treat 500 pounds (225 kilo) of meat. Yeah, I know... what hobbyist puts up 500 pounds of meat within 6 months.
As far as I know, the answer to your question is this: The only positive indication of extant bacteria is determined only by examination beneath a microscope.
The current price of Bactoferm LHP (fast=2days) is $22.99 for 42 grams. If you are looking for a slower acidification with less acidity and sour flavor, Bactoferm T-SPX is available currently for $17.99 but that is for only 25 grams. The good ol` medium-fast F-RM-52 (4 days) is still $14.99 for 25 grams.
I look at the situation this way: I was one of the ol` timers who didn`t have this "manna" initially. To me, it is worth every cent to divide the packet into three parts, make larger batches of sausage, and use the bio-culture up until about three or four weeks before it expires. I`ve never had a batch expire because I keep fresh Bactoferm on hand and plan my sausage-making timetable whenever possible. Quite truthfully, if I only got two larger batches of sausages made within the 6 month period, it would still be worth the price.
Sorry I don`t have a concrete, foolproof, "bio-culture validity" answer for you, but there just isn`t one available. Grab your microscope and take a look at them. If you see the little buggers smiling back at you with sharp teeth, then you`ll know they are still kickin`! :wink:

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
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Post by Chuckwagon » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:09

Here are some other choices you may specify when ordering Bactoferm. I`ve found these cultures to be most reliable. However, to maintain the quickest turnover, most suppliers carry only T-SPX for their choice of slow acidification, F-RM-52 for medium acidification, and LHP for their choice of culture producing fast acidification. Mold 600 continues to be preferred for the application of penicillium nagliovense or penicillium chrysogenum

Cultures for fermentation below 75°;F. (24°;C.)
T-RM-53......Slow (European style)
T-SP
T-SPX
T-D-66.........Intermediate
T-SC-150
T-SL

Cultures for fermentation from 70°;- 90°;F. (22°;- 32°;C.)
F-RM-52........Medium (American style)
F-RM-7
F-SC-111
F-1
LP..................Fast
LL-1
CSL
LL-2
F-2

Culture for fermentation from 80°;- 100°;F. (26°;- 38°;C.)
LHP...............Extra Fast

Culture for fermentation from 86°;- 115°;F. (30°;- 45°;C.)
CSB...............Extra Fast
F-PA

Culture for fermentation from 90°;- 115°;F. (32°;- 45°;C.)
HPS...............Extra Fast

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
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Post by Cabonaia » Fri Aug 16, 2013 22:10

Igor and CW - you guys are amazing. Thanks for the really valuable info. I also find the historical perspective quite interesting, CW. Igor, I wish I could go to Croatia with you and eat their wares and drink their wines. There is a winery down the road from me that claims to be the oldest winery in California, and it was established by a Croatian (and it is good).

Igor - yes, I am blessed in Morgan Hill with a Mediterranean climate. The air is fairly dry, there is not much wind, and there is no rain from June through Sept. I do have a fermentation chamber/converted fridge, as I tried taking advantage of the Italy-like climate au naturel and didn't get good results due to case hardening.

CW - when I started making salami I used F-RM-52 because that is what the Rhulman book called for and that's the book that got me going. I didn't get a sourly flavor, though. It tasted like the salami I grew up eating - stuff like Gallo and Columbo Italian dry salami that is made in South San Francisco. Then I bought some T-SPX and have been using that ever since. Maybe it's just me, but I can't tell the difference in flavor between salami made with T-SPX and F-RM-52. Maybe the flavor I am getting has more to do with what is floating around in the air, I don't know.

I use mold 600, but it doesn't seem to make any difference whether I use it or not - I still get a full but fairly light white mold.

Anyway, even though there is apparently no DIY method for testing culture, I have gotten my answer through you guys. I can't put my finger on that answer, but it will come to me with the next bite of salami and glass of red. THANKS!

Jeff
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Freezing and thawing culture

Post by Bob K » Tue Aug 20, 2013 15:20

Igor-

If thawing and refreezing gives a culture the chance to degrade, would it make sense to:

The first time the culture is defrosted-

Divide into the amounts that you will use and refreeze in individgual sachets for later use.

Would vacuum sealing harm the culture ?

Thanks
Bob
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Re: Freezing and thawing culture

Post by Igor Duńczyk » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:37

Hi Bob,

I owe you some answers. Decided to wait for advice from HQ :cool:

Divide into the amounts that you will use and refreeze in individual sachets for later use. For safety reasons better keep the culture inside the original packaging dividing it into not more than four portions. I know it might sound like a producers way of prompting you guys into buying more culture than you need - but there IS a sound reason:

As I´ve stated before the bacteria strain is actually mixed with some kind of carrier.
Often it is dextrose, sometimes starch, in order to add some volumen, otherwise the sachets would appear almost empty.
And because the bacteria strains are only mixed with the carrier you won´t be able to tell after transport if the mix is still even or if the two components started "choosing side" within the sachet. Well - you can shake the sachet but the smaller the divided portions you make the less security you have that there is actually as many bacteria in that little portion as you´d hope for. The majority of it may well be carrier with less bacteria than ideal...
By sticking to four portions you remain on the safe side.

Would vacuum sealing harm the culture ?
It will not harm it -but you have to be pretty sure that your vacuum doesn´t suck out the culture too in the process :twisted:
Wishing you a Good Day!
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Post by Bob K » Tue Aug 27, 2013 14:33

Thank you Igor for the sound advice!!!

My plan had been to divide into 4 portions as I feel that is a reasonable usage out of one sachet while still erring on the safe side.
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Post by ursula » Mon Sep 16, 2013 07:47

Hi all,
After a bit of a break, I am making teewurst and mettwurst again tomorrow. The last one with T-SPX was a bit dry, but really tasty. I believe the humidity was too low at times and the product dried a bit fast, so will use a humidifier, which I now have, and vac pac when it is finished.
I am also going to use fibrous casings with a larger diameter than the hog casings I used last time. That should create a moister sausage.
Ursula
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Post by Igor Duńczyk » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:56

Hi Ursula!

Did you try to make the meat-in-fat blending as I suggested a while ago?
It might help to prevent the unwanted drying out.

What about taste? Was it on the tangy side? I´m just thinking that if the sugar addition in the recipe is a bit higher than necessary it may have contributed to the drying out.

Fibrous casings of a larger diameter then the hog ones´ will probably also improve on the moisture. Let´s hear more about the results when it´s ready :smile:
Wishing you a Good Day!
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