This is the salume that started my adventure into curing meats.
These are available from a few Italian butchers in New York, but I haven't seen them anywhere else. They're pretty uncommon here in the US. Cotechino is a traditional, cooked, New Year's sausage that was created in the town of Modena. It's a MUST at every New Year's party in Italy and is eaten with lentils, polenta or mashed potatoes. Alternately, a Zampone is eaten which is the same recipe, except the the mixture is stuffed into a deboned front pig leg, instead of casings. These sausages are supposed to bring fortune in the new year (with the lentils bringing money). The name "Cotechino" derives from the Italian word for pig skin; cotiche, and as you might imagine, it contains a fair amount of them.
The pig skin that's ground in with the meat and fat gives the cotechino a very sticky unctuous mouthfeel after it's been cooked for a few hours very gently in water. The sausage is pretty heavily spiced and has a delicious assertive flavor of traditional Christmas spices and herbs, as well as porky goodness. It's most definitely my favorite cooked sausage.
I've varied my recipe every year I've made this (about 5 or 6 years), and I'm still searching for a recipe that gets me the results I remember eating in Italy, which were made by a small town butcher in Modena. Mine are great, but those were fantastic. This year i decided to use pork belly instead of the usual fatback I use. I'll be cooking mine next week, so I'll see if it was a good decision.
Ingredient Quantity(g) % of Meat+Fat+Skin Pork shoulder meat 1645 35 Pork belly (about 60/40 fat/lean) 1645 35 Pork Skin (fatless) 1362 29 Salt 82 1.7 Cure #1 7 0.15 Dextrose 18.4 0.4 Coriander powder 1.7 0.037 Nutmeg 0.5g 0.011 Clove 1 0.022 Mace 0.5 0.011 Cinnamon 1 0.022 Cayenne 1.4 0.03 Black pepper (cracked large) 6 0.129 White pepper (ground fine) 6 0.129
Since i haven't blogged in a while, I forgot to take pictures for everything, but I think I got all the important stages. Remember to keep everything you're grinding COLD COLD COLD. After i cubed up my meat and fat i put them in the freezer for about 1.5 hours to cool way down. It will grind better and won't smear the fat as much.
Pig skin is incredibly tough, so much so that if I were to try grinding it my grinder would likely explode. It has to be boiled first. I don't know if butchers in Italy do this, or if their grinders are strong enough to grind the skin raw, but somehow I can't imagine they are able to. So the pig skin is boiled until it is fork tender. This takes about 30 minutes. Once this is done remove as much excess fat attached to the skin as possible. This can be done before boiling, but i think it's a little easier to do it after. This picture shows what the skin looks like after boiling and cooling a little.
The pork skin gets cut up into chunks so it can fit into the grinder throat.
The pig skin is ground alone first. I used a 3/16" plate (the small kitchenaid plate that comes with the grinder)
Here is a picture of the pork belly. You can see that it's about 60/40 or 50/50 fat to lean. It was nice looking pork belly.
The skin is removed and the cut up into chunks.
Cut up pork belly. Not very exciting...but delicious!
This is the pork shoulder i used. It was trimmed a little, but I didn't spent a whole lot of time trimming it.
I forgot to get a picture of the ground skin alone. Anyhow, it looked like a big pile of sticky beads:)
Mix the ground pork skin with the chunked meat and pork belly.
Closeup of the belly, meat and skin mixture. You can see the skin looks like little pellets.
This is the spice mixtures i used. The spices were all (except the large cracked black pepper) ground in a coffee grinder, and mixed with the salt.
The spice mixture is mixed into the meats and skin and well massaged to distribute everything.
The mixture is passed through a 1/4" grinder plate (the large kitchenaid standard plate).
Note how the meat and fat chunks are pretty distinct. That's because the mixture was nice and cold before grinding.
The ground mixture is mixed well by hand and sort of gently kneaded to develop the bind. You'll know it's ready to stuff when you get a white film of protein building up on the sides of the bowl.
You can sort of see that in this picture.
This batch made 6 750g cotechini. I think 750g is a good size as it'll feed about 4 or 5 people as a main dinner with lentils or some other side dish. Cotechino is a VERY heavy dish, it sits in your stomach like a brick, so i don't advise eating this and then going out partying:)
I used a pretty large artificial casing. It's about 80mm in diameter. I like the cotechino to be quite thick.
To store, they can be vacuum packed and frozen. I've kept it this way for a year, and then eaten it. It's still great.
Some people dry their cotechini as if it were a salame for 5 or 6 days. I've never done that, but i imagine it would be pretty good!.
To cook it, the casing is punctured with a skewer (a large toothpick) in multiple places (i punctured these about 40 times) to allow some of the fat to come out while it's cooking. It is then wrapped VERY tightly in aluminum foil, closing off the ends like a giant candy, and put into cold water. Bring the water to a GENTLE (190 deg. F) simmer, and simmer for about 2-3 hours (or put the pot of water/cotechino in the oven at about 200 deg. F . After 2-3 hours turn off the heat and let it sit in the water for about 20 minutes. Carefully remove it from the water, remove the casing (which may have burst), and slice into slices about 1/2" thick. Serve HOT over polenta or lentils or mashed potatoes. It has to be eaten hot, otherwise the gelatinous skin hardens and you miss what makes it so good.
This year i think i'm going to try cooking one in one of the vacuum bags. My theory is that there will be less flavor loss to the water it's cooking in. There may also be less fat loss, which may or may not be good! We'll see. When i cook it next week i'll put another post up to report back.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This is the salume that started my adventure into curing meats.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Hey everybody just wanted to let you know i'm still around, even if not posting right now. I just moved and as you might imagine, my wife thinks unpacking boxes, hanging pictures and painting stuff should take precedence over curing meats! Sounds crazy to me too!
Anyhow, i'm planning my next post. It'll be cotechino, which is a cooked italian new years sausage. It's the salume that started it all!
Stay tuned please!
Posted by Jasonmolinari at 2:09 PM
Friday, October 31, 2008
I haven't posted anything in quite a while. I'm running short on salame, and i need to make some stuff. Unfortunately I'm in the process of moving which is keeping my weekends completed busy.
So....sorry for the few posts..i wish i could post more, but i'm not home long enough!
Posted by Jasonmolinari at 5:39 PM
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Sorry for the long delay on posts. I've been really busy at work, and with life, and i've been left with little to no time on weekends for cured meats. It makes me sad. Hopefully i'll post more often after my move in a couple of months. Until then, accept my apologies for the lack of posts.
So, the pancetta is finally ready, actually, it was ready about a week ago. I left it in the curing chamber for 3 weeks, at 55 deg. F and 65% RH. The picture on the left is what it looked like after that period of time. It's lost about 30% of its weight. At this point the pancetta is pretty hard, it's pretty dry and smells great.
The pancetta can be used right away, but i've found that it is better if you wrap it in a damp paper towel and put it in a sealed bag for about a week. This will soften it just a little bit, and make it easier to cut.
After a few days wrapped in a damp paper towel, and then cut this is what the pancetta looks like.
It smells great. Peppery, bayleaf-y, porky, yummy. I've only tasted one slice quickly, so i haven't really used it much, but i can tell it is very peppery, hopefully not too much so. The herbs are strong on it, probably because i caked it on for the drying phase! I'm happy with it, but will know a little more after a cook something with it.
Added 9/20/08 - I used some of this pancetta last night in a pasta..it was GREAT. It's peppery, and bay-leafy. It has the right amount of salt. The flavor is balanced, tending towards black pepper. It's one of the better pancettas i've made. MAKE IT!
Friday, August 15, 2008
The pancetta has been curing with its spices and salt for about 10 days. It's become pretty firm and the flavors should have permeated the meat fully. Time to move it to the curing chamber.
This is what the pancetta looks like as it comes out of the bag.
The spices get rinsed under cold running water, and then the belly gets patted dry.
Here is the rinsed pancetta. Really pretty uneventful, or uninteresting.
The meat looks darker and definitely feels firmer than it was when raw.
A spice mixtures is made up. For this one I mixed 2 teaspoons of very coarse black pepper, 5 crushed bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper.
Here is the cured pork belly rubbed with the spice mixture. Really press the pepper and spices into the meat. Put a string through it to hang and that's it. Easy.
Now, for people who don't have a curing fridge, the drying is also very easy. Put the pancetta on a cake rack, and then on a plate, and put it in the fridge for about 3-4 weeks. The cake rack on the plate will allow the air to circulate around it reaching all sides of the meat. If you just put it on a plate, the surface touching the plate will stay wet.
If you do have a curing fridge, put it in there. I put mine in, at about 54 deg. F and about 60% humidity.
Humidity for pancetta isn't super critical since it is quite thin and has a lot of surface area, which will allow it to dry pretty evenly even if the ambient is too dry for other cured meats (like in a fridge).
Saturday, August 2, 2008
If bacon makes everything better, then pancetta makes everything better still! It's similar to bacon, in that they are both made with pork belly, but that's where the similarities end. Pancetta is normally unsmoked and dry cured and can be made flat or rolled into a pinwheel, whereas bacon is smoked and not left to dry and always sold flat.
Pancetta is really very similar to guanciale, and the spices and herbs used could be used on either one. This particular pork product is probably the easiest and most accessible cured meat that can be made at home. So, why didn't I show this one first on this blog? Because I already had some in my fridge at the time! I still don't really need any, but I had a defrosted piece of Tamworth pork belly that had to be used, so I figured I'd make pancetta. After all, is it really possible to have too much cured pork belly? I think not!
The reason I say that it is the most accessible cured meat is that it can be made without a curing chamber. I've done it. It works. I even did a side by side comparison of 2 pieces of pork belly one cured in my chamber, and one in the fridge, and they were almost identical. So...if you're looking to get into cured meats, dive in with pancetta!
Ingredient Quantity(g) % of Meat+Fat Pork belly 420 100 Salt 10 2.4% Black Pepper 7.8 1.9% Brown Sugar 4.8 1.1% Cure #2 1.1 0.26% Juniper 1.8 0.43% Bay Leaves 0.3 0.07% Nutmeg 0.8 0.19% Dry Thyme 0.5 0.12% Garlic 1 clove
I had a pretty small piece of pork belly, so that's what i used. It's preferable to have it skin on, but if you can only find it without skin...so be it.
All the spices, salts, sugar and herbs are mixed together. The small piece of pork didn't require much cure.
The cure is rubbed all over the pork belly and massaged into the meat. The meat is then put into a zip bag and into the fridge to cure. Allowing the salts and herbs to penetrate the meat.
In about 7-10 days the meat will be rinsed, and hung in the curing chamber for as long as one might choose to wait. 2 weeks minimum though.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Lonzino is a pretty simple salume. It is a salted and then dry cured pork loin. I guess it could be the equivalent of a pork bresaola. It's lean, tasty and easy to make with easily available ingredients.
The first time I made it, I let it cure in the salt too long. If I remember (it was a number of years ago), I left it for about 20 days. I never re-made it because i thought it wasn't that great. Last month someone commented on this blog that I should make a lonzino, so here it is.
This post contains the formula as well as the outcome. I just didn't have a chance to post as it was curing.
Ingredient Quantity(g) % of Meat+Fat Pork loin 965 100 Salt 32 3.3 White Pepper 9.3 1% Clove 1 clove Cure #2 2.4 0.25% Juniper 2 0.2% Fennel Seed 5 0.5% Cinnamon 0.7 0.07%
Start by procuring yourself a nice pork loin. One with some fat attached wouldn't hurt. You can see mine here on the left. Pretty standard stuff. I got this one from Publix.
The spices are ground and mixed with the rest of the ingredients. Shake shake shake to combine well.
Cake the mixture onto the pork loin and rub it in nicely. Put it in a zip lock bag, making sure to put even the cure that fell onto the plate into the bag. You want to make sure you get all the curing salts in with the meat to maintain safety.
This is the pork loin after 10 days in the fridge with the cure, and a quick rinse. Looks about the same, just slightly darker and it feels firmer.
All I had was 100mm casings. 90mm would have worked better, but I made do. Tighten well with kitchen twine, and pop any air pockets in the casing with a clean toothpick or a sterile needle. Squeeze well to get the air out.
As an experiment I took about 3 sq. in. of moldy casing from a salame i had in the fridge from my last batch, mixed it with 133g of distilled water and 1g of dextrose, and used that as a mold spray.
The cased loin was hung at 68-70 deg. F for 38 hours.
It cured in the curing fridge at 54 deg. F and about 68% RH, until it lost about 35-36% of its weight. This took just about 1 month.
As you can see the moldy spray worked pretty well
Look how beautiful the lonzino is. It has just a little bit of fat on the outer area, and nice fat flecking in the meat. It is soft and tender.
Here is the lonzino sliced thinly. It is VERY tasty. The salt level is just right. It is pretty strong on a certain spice, i can't quite put my finger on, but i think it is the juniper. It's very nice.
Next time i might put just a little less juniper. The weight loss of 36% is just right. It's still tender and soft, but nicely cured.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
The guanciale that was cured and put up to dry about a month and a half ago was ready to be eaten. How did I know it was ready, well, because I had a pasta I had to make with it!
I weighed it, but I forgot to write down what the finished weight was, oops. As you can see on the left, it doesn't look too different from what it looks like before drying, it is just firmer.
I used it for some pasta alla Gricia, and some amatriciana, and it was quite tasty. I think I prefer pancetta, as it seems more flavorful. I also noticed the fat on guanciale has a strange "soft/crunchy" texture if you don't render enough fat out of it...not really a texture I cared for much. The flavor was good, quite mild, porky and very very slightly herby.
If I were to remake this I would season more liberally with herbs and leave them on instead of rinsing them off before drying, like I did with this one.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
While making the salame tipo varzi I also made a salame al Barolo. I actually didn't use Barolo, I used a Cote du Rhone. Basically it is a simple salame mixture to which a relatively large quantity of wine is added. The alcohol and excess water evaporate leaving behind the flavors of the wine used. Since I've never tried this before, I figured I'd give it a shot. Unfortunately things didn't turn out quite as rosy as one might hope.
I'm not going to go into the detail that i've given in the past since I don't think there is much point in repeating stuff. Just know that the method is the same; grind, add seasoning, mix, case, spray with mold, ferment, and then dry.
Ingredient Quantity(g) % of Meat+Fat Pork ham meat 750 75% Fat back 250 25% Salt 27 2.7% Black Pepper (cracked) 2.5 0.25% Cure #2 2.5 0.25% Dextrose 5 0.5% F-LC Starter 0.4 0.04% Red wine (Cote du Rhone) 250 25%
Everything was ground and mixed, cased into natural beef middles, and sprayed with a solution (1.5g mold to 27g water) of M-EK-4 mold culture. It was fermented at 71-72 deg. F for 48 hours.
As you might immagine the mixture was quite wet after mixing in the wine which made for easy casing.
The salame was dried at about 54 deg. F / 70% RH for about 28 days, until it had lost 45% of its weight.
To the left here is a picture of the finished product, and where I can convey an important lesson.
You can clearly see a fairly sizable "air pocket" that somehow made it's way into the mix. Either there was an bubble in the mix that got pushed into the casing, or the wet mixture left air pockets upon evaporating. I'm not sure.
The problem with this is that it can allow bacteria to grow that could be dangerous. This is something that really needs to be avoided by making sure the mixture is properly compacted and massaged into the casings to force any air pockets out of the mix.
The flavor of the salame while first tasting it was OK. Too winey for my tastes, and just not very exciting. Interestingly, after about a month in the fridge, and retasting, it tasted not so great. It had a very oxidized flavor, which i think might have been caused by the air pockets..but I'm not sure. Either way, it was disposed of.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I know, it's been a long time coming. I'm sure many of you have been wondering what the heck happened since the last farmer vs. commercial post a month and a half ago! Well, it took a good 30 days for the salami to lose about 40% of their weight, so that's where most of the time went. The rest was just my slowness in taking pictures to post!
You can see here on the left side of the picture is the farmer meat salame, on the right is the commercial meat one.
I made sure to remove them from the curing fridge after they had lost an equal amount of water weight. These were at about 43% loss. The farmer one took a good 7-10 longer to lose that weight than the commercial one. I attribute this to the difference in the intramuscular fat.
The commercial one has an obvious, common, defect. You can see that the meat paste wasn't properly bound before i put it into the casing, which has caused the small "cracks" in the salame, leaving small air pockets. This is a dangerous defect, since air inside the salame can cause problems. It doesn't seem to have affected this one though. I'll definitely mix the meat paste longer next time to get a better bind.
There is an obvious difference in color, i'm not really sure why. The textures are also a little difference. The commercial one is a little tougher and chewier.
What about the flavor? The verdict is in! Let me preface this by saying BOTH are FANTASTIC. By FAR the best i've ever made. I attribute this to the F-LC starter i used this time, as well as the lower (72 deg.F), and longer (48 hrs) fermentation. The flavor of both is just outstanding. It is as good as any available, including the best artisinal ones.
So, which is better. I guess i'd have to give the edge to the FARMER one. It is a little richer and deeper in flavor. The texture is a bit better, but I could probably achieve the same texture by drying the commercial a little less.
Would I keep paying 4 times the cost for farmer instead of commercial based on flavor alone? (ignore the whole animal welfare for now). No. Not for salame. For roasts and grilled meats, hell yes, but I think much of the deliciousness of the pork is lost over the drying and spicing and curing. If I could get farmer pork for a small cost increase, I'd use it, but at current prices which are 3-4 times higher than commercial, I don't think i'll use farmer pork.
On a side note, I sort of accidentally removed one of the farmer salami at about 35% weight loss. It is considerably softer than the 43% loss, and also very good. Which do I prefer? I guess if i were making a sandwich, the softer, moister one, if eating out of hand or as an appetizer; the harder one.
I have one more of each type still drying, i expect them to be at about 50-55% loss right now. I'll take them out in the next week or 10 days, and see what they're like.
Whoops! I meant to leave the guanciale in the salt cure for about 7-9 days, instead I left it 16. I hope it doesn't come out too salty... I just totally forgot about it!
Anyhow, today I took the 2 pieces out of the plastic bag, rinsed one off well, and the other not as well ( to see if it has an effect), and hung them.
Not much to this post. Now we wait. Will let one cure at least 30 days before using, the other at least 2-6 months.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Guanciale is magic. Imagine bacon, only better; porkier, tastier, richer. Guanciale is the cured jowl of the pig. It is cured in similar fashion to pancetta, which is unsmoked cured pork belly, but the location on the animal gives it a very different taste and texture. Since the cheeks/jowls of the pig see a lot of exercise the hunk of pork derived from them is tougher than the belly, and has much more intramuscular fat instead of layering as is seen on the belly.
I used a very simple formula to not hide the quality of this pork which i got from Niman Ranch. Unfortunately this piece of meat is very difficult to find, even in ethnic butchers. You can sub a piece of pork belly and get good results as well.
Ingredient Quantity(g) % of Meat+Fat Pork jowls 1257 100% Salt - Kosher 44 3.5% Black pepper crushed 9 0.7% Sugar 22 1.75% Cure #2 3.2 0.25% Thyme (Dry) 1 0.08%
I mixed the cure well, trying to make certain the cure #2 was well dispersed in the sal
The cure mixture is rubbed onto the jowels, making sure to get into the "nooks and crannies".
The jowls are then put into a ziplock bag, and they'll be turned every few days.
Once cured, they'll be hung to dry for anywhere between 1 and 6 months.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Last week I took the plain coppa that was made a few posts ago. I let coppa A, the plain one almost exactly 1 month, at about 52 deg. F and 72% RH. It lost about 35% of its weight through drying. The 2nd coppa, which was a fennel one stayed about 1 week longer in the chamber and lost about 2.3% more water, for a total of 37.3% weight loss.
You can see in these picture that for whatever reason the mold i sprayed on it did not fully cover the surface like it did for the bresaola.
On the right is the plain one sliced. It is beautiful. The flavor is fantastic, just perfectly salty, the spices come through (maybe still a tiny bit too much clove!), and it is wonderfully tender and soft without being mushy.
I would say this one is definitely the best coppa I've made. Really really good.
The fennel one that was just a touch drier and the flavor was also fantastic. The fennel was very light in the flavoring, and I would probably use a little more next time so it is a little more pronounced.
I don't think i could be more pleased with both of these coppe!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
You may remember a while back, I cured two identical salami, with the only difference being where the pork was purchased from. You may also remember that my results were unclear, but basically led to the conclusion that the flavor was essentially the same. Well, I wasn't satisfied with those results. Based on tasting pork chops, I knew the flavor of a farmer raised pig HAD to be better! I concluded that the quality of farmer pork I had used last time wasn't up to snuff, so I had to retry with pork I knew was good.
With that in mind, I participated in splitting a 1/2 of a Tamworth hog raised by a local farmer. Apart from the complete hackjob on the butchering, the pork is good, at least judging from the pork chop I grilled. So this weekend I decided to rerun my experiment. This time i made an even simpler salame, a Varzi style. I also changed the starter culture to see how it affects flavor. I used F-LC bioprotective culture.
So let's get to it! So far I've only made the salami, and put them into fermentation, so there are no pictures of the meat cured or tasting, there are only a few pictures of ground meat and salami.
As I said above, I made a Varzi style salame. Varzi is a small town south of Milan, and its salame is highly regarded as one of the top salami in Italy. True salame di Varzi has to follow the DOP disciplinary, which is why mine is only a Varzi "style".
Ingredient Quantity(g) % of Meat+Fat Pork ham meat 1190 70% Fat (back for farmer belly for commercial) 510 30% Salt 46 2.7% Black Pepper (whole kernel) 1.7 0.1% Cure #2 4.25 0.25% Dextrose 8.5 0.5% Garlic powder 0.5 0.029% F-LC Starter 0.6 0.035% Red wine (Cote du Rhone) 10 0.5%
I'm only going to show "1 side" of the operation. I don't think there is any need to show pictures of both types of meat and fat cubed, and both ground etc. So i'll just show the farmer meat pictures. Also note that for the commercial salame i used the fattiest pork belly i could find, whereas the farmer salame used fatback from the same hog that the meat came from.
Here is a picture of the two meats side by side. I used ham slices because it is a lot easier than trimming meat from the shoulder and removing the excess fat and sinew.
Just like on the last comparison you can see that the farmer pork is lighter in color, and seems to have the fat more finely distributed instead of having it in larger globs.
As usual, the meat is cubed up into 3/4 inch cubes, and put into the coldest part of the fridge. It's nice using the ham, as the meat is relatively sinew free, and doesn't have much fat in it, which makes adding the exact amount of fat easier than when using shoulder, and makes trimming and cubing much faster.
The fat is also cubed up and put into the fridge.
The fat and meat are mixed in cube form and then ground. In this case I used my custom made 11mm Kitchenaid grinder plate. I really liked the size of this plate. The fat and meat are very distinct, and quite large, but not huge. I'm looking forward to trying the salame to see how the mouth feel changes with the grain size.
I then added all the ingredients and mixed in the Kitchenaid mixer for about 30 seconds, then added the starter dissolved in about 20ml of distilled water, and mixed for another 30 seconds.
For reference, this is the maximum amount of meat I would try to mix in the KA bowl. It may even have been a touch too much...so i'm taking this note in case I forget!:) 1500g is really the maximum salame batch that can be be effectively mixed in the KA mixer bowl.
You can see in the picture of the mixed meat that the myosin in meat has come out and bound the mixture well. A good indicator of this is the whitish film that forms on the sides of the mixing bowl. You can also see that in the video in the Cacciatorino post.
I repeated the process with the commercial pork and pork belly, and then stuffed the salame mixture. I normally use collagen casings, but I bought some natural beef middled, and I figured now would be a good time to try them. I've read that some people think they make the salame taste better than when using collagen casings. In hindsight I should have made some of the salame with natural and some with collagen to see if there is a difference in flavor or mold growth. Oh well, that'll have to be for another post.
Casing the salame was quite easy. What WASN'T easy was being able to tie a knot at the end of the salame that would hold the slippery, slimy casing! When I hung them in the fermentation box 3 of them just slipped right out of the knot! There is a special kind of knot called a butterfly knot which is supposed to be used with natural casings, but I've never had the problem with collagen, so I figured it wouldn't really matter. WRONG! If you use natural casings make sure you really tie them tight!
So now the salami are in the fermentation box at 72 deg. F. They've been sprayed with a solution made from 1.5g of M-EK-4 mold culture which was bloomed in 27g of water for 3 hours and then added to 400g of additional water. The salami were sprayed when they were put into the box then 1.5 hours afterwards, and then 15 hours later the next morning. (I really want to make sure i get mold cultures on there!).
About 18 hours after I put the salami into the fermentation box, i could see that the ones closer to the bulb were drier than the ones in the back row, so I rotated them back row to front row. I'm planning on leaving them at 72F for 48 hours, then into the curing chamber.
After about 28 hours I noticed that the humidity in the fermentation box was really really high. I propped open the lid, on the side away from the bulb, about 1" with a book. The next morning, after about 8 hours, I closed the box back up.
After 48 hours I took the salami out of the fermentation box and put them into the curing chamber at 55 deg. F and ~70% RH.
You can already see the mold forming on the surface of the salame.
Hope they turn out well, and I hope there is a tasteable difference between farmer and commercial!