Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Salame di Sant'Olcese - Tasting Notes

It may not seem like long enough has passed from the posting of the recipe for the salame di Sant'Olcese for it to be ready, but that's only because i've been sitting on the recipe for a couple of weeks! Anyhow...it's ready. Or at least, i've taken one of the 3 that I made out of the curing chamber out.


I took one out pretty early, as I wanted to keep this salame pretty soft. By weight, it "claims" to have lost about 43% of it's weight, over 20 days. I say "claims", because it feels rather soft, and i'm wondering if I mis-weighed them when i put them into the curing chamber...all other salami that i've made before felt considerably harder, at less water weight loss. Either way, I felt like eating one.

As i've said, it is quite soft. Maybe a tiny bit too soft, it probably could have used another 4-7 days, good thing I have 2 or 3 more in the curing chamber. If i were to compare it to something in softness, the first thing that comes to mind is a marshmallow, maybe a little bit harder.

As far as the tasting goes, it's excellent. Really is. The pepper is quite pronounced, it's nicely salty, and the garlic is there in the background. It is not sour at all, which is nice, as I don't care for the San Francisco style of cured meats that are prounouncedly sour. I think it's because of the starter culture i used, and becuase i ferment at a low temperature (70F).

The fat is distinct, and is in perfect proportion to the meat. The salame so far does not present any air pockets. Overall I'm really pleased.



Of course, there are some improvements that can be made, there always are. In slicing the salame, one can see, and feel while chewing, about a 1/8" ring on the outer edge which is slightly drier. I attribute this to my humidity not being high enough in the chamber. As such, for the stuff that's still in there, i bumped up the humitiy from about 70% to about 75%. This should also slow down the curing/drying time, which I believe will lead to better flavor as well.

I'd give this salame a solid B+. It's a touch soft, and the dry ring around the edge keeps it from an A :).

25 comments:

jeff said...

Wow 2 posts so far in Feb-I'm excited! Thanks for your bloginess it is definately one of my favs.

Jeff

Jasonmolinari said...

I know! I'm setting a posting trend i won't be able to live up to !:)

Josh said...

you raise an interesting point tying the flavor to your starter culture. Could you give an overview of the characteristics of the different cultures you've used? Or point me in the direction of the info somewhere else?

Thanks

Jasonmolinari said...

Josh, there is a fair amount of information on this topic in the book "The art of fermented sausages".
The authors also have a web page, and you can find some info here:
http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/fermented-sausages/starter-cultures.htm

I've used F-RM-52, and that developed a more sour flavor. I was also fermenting at a higher temperatre (around 80F).

Eric said...

Jason, Do you find much difference in taste between using powdered garlic vs. fresh garlic in a salame? Also, I had just such a ring around my last batch of salami which i attributed to too much weight loss during the fermentation -- over 10%. Next time I'm going to make sure of a high humidity during that stage. Eric

Jasonmolinari said...

eric, the only time i've used fresh garlic is in the chorizo i just made, so i don't really know much about the difference in flavor between fresh and granulated.

actually i've used fresh and soaked it in the wine i used in a salame, and it didn't taste any different, but i've never done a side by side.

My fermentation is done in a closed box, which i believe is close to about 80-90% humidity, so i'm not sure i can get any higher.
Let me know if higher humidity solves the problem for you next time.

the ring is now gone from the salame after it sat in the fridge for about a week, i guess it equilibrated out.

David said...

I usually soak my dry seasonings in a small amount of ice water when making fresh sausages. I add the water/spice slurry to my meat during mixing.

My understanding is that powdered/granulated garlic is is more flavorful when rehydrated before it is exposed to acid (vinager, wine, etc.). I don't remember exactly where I heard/read that. Alton Brown, maybe?

David

Jasonmolinari said...

I think that would work, and it may even help distribute the spices and salt.
I don't know about the chemistry between dry garlic and acid though.

dan said...

ive got a similar comment to josh's above regarding starter cultures. I've recently finished a salami picante (sp?) and a pepperoni, which both have an overpowering sour/tangy-ness which is not pleasing at all. my fermentation temperatures were in the 80's. by reducing the temperature i can eliminate this flavor? i've switched from the frm to the f-lc recently, too.
does "the art of fermented sausages" go into great depth on this subject? none of my other resources has this level of detail, so far.

thanks.

Jasonmolinari said...

Dan, i would say yes. Fermenting at a lower temperature, for longer will help, but you also have to get a bacteria that likes the lower temperature for fermentation.

"the art of fermented sausages" goes into very great depth about this exact subject. How lower temperature fermented products make less sour, more western/southern European products, whereas the west cost US projects (san fran. for example), prefer a more sour product.

dan said...

jason,

it's funny, i really like the molinari's salumi (west coast), when fresh.
this tangy-ness is a flavor i am not used to.
does F-LC prefer lower temps?
do you think using smaller casings could be part of the problem?
so far im only using natural hog casings to be sure i can get a fully cured product.
I'll order a copy of the book.


thanks.

Jasonmolinari said...

Dan, yea, the F-LC can be used at lower fermentation temperatures, i ferment mine at 70 deg.

I don;t think the casings are the issue. I often make small and large salami from the same batch, and the flavors are very similar. The texture changes, but the flavor doesn't.

dan said...

jason, when using small natural casings, do you get a ring of discoloration inside the casing? not harder or softer, but discolored (yellowish). maybe something else is imparting this negative flavor.

Jasonmolinari said...

Hrm. No, i've never noticed a discoloration ring..that sounds like the fat on the outer layer has gone slightly rancid.
What temp. is your chamber? Do you have bright lights in there?

dan said...

rancid. that's not good
no health effects, so far . . .
ugh.

im using a converted fridge.
no lights, other than when door is open.
temp is about 55 degrees
humidity about 70%-80%
maybe older casings? though i always keep them packed in salt.

it does take me about twice as long as your typical timeline to reach 35%(ish) weight loss.

Jasonmolinari said...

I have no idea if you're seeing rancidity...it was just a guess based on your comment that the fat is yellow.
You temp/humidity seems to be in range, and the age of the casings shouldn't have any effect on the product.

Can you email me a picture? I'm curious

dan said...

also, the natural casings don't peel very easily.
i'll take a couple photos when i get home tonight.

thanks.

dan said...

jason, i've taken a couple of photos.
not sure if they read very well, or not. how to send? to your email address?

another question: do you freeze all your pork prior to curing to kill off trichinosos?

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

I use SPX starter, because I prefer a slow 3-4 day ferment at room temperature rather than trying to jack up the temp for the faster-acting starters. (You are right about the Marianskis' book. I highly recommend it.)

This salami looks perfect: Nice color, I like the interest of the whol peppercorn and good, distinct fat and enough of it.

How has it aged?

Jasonmolinari said...

Hunter Angler, i also want to try SPX, and will do so when i order my next batch.
Once the salame finished curing i vac. packed the ones i wasn't eating right away. The one i'm currently eating is great. Hasn't really aged any further.

Anonymous said...

I could not find any info on your site about adding dried fruit to cured sausage. Nor could I find a recipe in my cookbooks. I like to add dried fruits to some of my raw sausages. I worry that the dried fruit could be a safe haven for bad bacteria to grow. I am at least 90% confident that nitrate salt and helpful bacteria introduction could eliminate any problems. Any thoughts you have would be helpful.

Thank You

Jasonmolinari said...

Sorry, i don't know much about putting dried fruit in cured meats. My concern would the the potential air pockets that could form.

Anonymous said...

I found Bob del Grosso's site and asked him the same fruit question. He suggested soaking my currents first so they adhere to the mixture. I should have mentioned to you that I was using currents in the mix. They are probably small enough to not create air pockets.

Thanks again, you are always very helpful :)

Anonymous said...

Jason, Believe you said you did three in natural casings and one collagen. What were your final thoughts between the two? Thanks!

jasonmolinari said...

Flavor wise i think collagen and natural are pretty close or identical.