Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bresaola - Drying

So, the bresaola cured in the salt and herb mix for 11 days, and it was time to put it into casings and hang to dry. I decided on 11 days because it felt cured. You could go a little longer, about 15-20 if you're unsure.
I'm trying something new here. Since I seem to be unable to develop mold on my salumi naturally, I resorted to spraying them (once cased) with a mold culture from Butcher Packer of Penecillium Nalgiovense. The mold on the casing slows the drying a little bit as well as impart flavor into the meat. We'll see if it makes any difference, more on that below.

I started by rinsing the meat off with cold running water, and drying it off well. Which is what is shown in the picture above.

I used 100mm collagen casings, and put the meat piece in there. You want to use a casing that is just about the same size as the meat, or as close as possible. I could have use a 90mm casing for a tighter fit, but I didn't have any, and this will be fine.

Twist the open end, and tie it off, trying to get out as much air as possible. There will still be a fair bit in there.

Using butcher knots tie off the bresaola every 2-3 inches. You want to make these nice and tight. The air will fill into pockets on the casing.

Using a clean toothpick or a sterilized needle prick the casing all over, concentrating on the pockets of air. Massage the meat to force the air out of the holes you just made. It may squirt some liquid, don't worry about it. Get all the air out of the casings. Weigh and label them.

12 hours prior I had made a solution of 1.5g of mold culture (M-EK-4) with 30g of water. I left it out at room temperature, and then added that to 400g of tap water in a spray bottle. Using this solution I sprayed the bresaole heavily until they were dripping, and put them in my fermentation box at 69 deg. for 36 hours. It is important that they hang without touching each other or the sides, as I noticed that the mold is not developing where they were touching each other.

After 36 hours, the bresaole get hung in the curing chamber at 54 deg. F and 70% RH.
At first it looked like nothing was happening that I would be getting no mold growth, but after 2 days, a nice bloom of mold was developing.

This picuture is after 5 days. The mold is developing beautifully.

I'll leave these in there until they've lost about 35% of their weight, I'm estimating about 50 days.

Tasting notes to come!