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!


Mike said...

Good stuff! I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

I'm jealous of your curing chamber. We've only been able to make pancetta so far, since it can be hung at room temp.

Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks Mike.
Hrmm..hanging pancetta at room temp? I've never dried it at room temp.

I've done it in a regular fridge, uncovered on a cake rack over a plate to allow circulation, and it came out super.

Mike said...

We did the initial cure in the fridge, but dried at room temp. Worked great. Duck breast prosciutto, not so much...

Anonymous said...


Fabulous! I can't wait to see the finaly results also. I'm going to be trying that soon.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you used tap water to dilute / spray the mold culture. I would have worried that the chlorine would have killed off the critters. Obviously, that didn't happen. Is mold more resistant to chlorine than is yeast or bacteria?

Jasonmolinari said...

scratchThat: I thought the exact same thing, and normally would have used distilled water, but the directions specifically stated tap water, so that's what i used. I didn't even use my Brita filtered water.

Anonymous said...

I've been drying my first Bresaola and it's ready to go today. Do I leave the white mold on or is there a removal process that I need to use? I started with a 2lb 12oz eye of round and after wieghing it today, it's at 2lbs exactly. It had nice mold cover and was firm but not hardto the touch.

Jasonmolinari said...

The mold shouldn't hurt you, but i'd wipe it off with a wet towel or a brush. Did you not use a casing?

Anonymous said...

I didn't use casing. I followed the recipe in "Charcuterie" by Ruhlman and Polcyn. I'm not sure what to expect since I've never eaten it or made it before.

Jasonmolinari said...

As long as the mold is white, and not black or greenish, you should be fine. JUst brush it off and slice.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!

Blaise Santianni said...

I love your blog. I post cooking videos and some written material at and I am very interested in curing meats. Right now I am busy trying to build a organic and natural meats supply chain in SE Pennsylvania and one of my customers wanted to know if he could make breseola with the eye rounds I sell him. I had no idea, but now I have found you. Thanks.

Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks for the compliments Blais, i'm glad you're enjoying the blog.

Unknown said...

Jason, I'm confused about some of technique. The steps involved outlined here seem to indicate that it is as simple as hanging the meat in a cool place. No curing salts mentioned, but I will ignore that for now. How important is all the temperature control, humidity control etc.? I'm not saying you are doing it wrong, in fact your technique seems much more scientific, but I this technology wasn't available in the 1800's so are we making things overly complicated??

Love your site and I have been making fresh sausages for a while but just a beginner in fermented meats. My copy of Ruhlman's Charcuterie is on the Christmas list but I'm looking for an answer now so that I could perhaps have something simple ready in time for a New Years Party!

Jasonmolinari said...

KW: that seems like an "old school" approach to things. Will it work? Probably. Does it have risks which can be reduced or eliminated through use of modern techniques and ingredients? Yes.

Juts because this used to be done in caves, and it worked often, doesn't mean it's how i would do it.

In the 1800s we didn't have vaccines and many modern medicines either. Why complicate our lives? Risk mitigation, that's why. Personally i don't find adding curing salts complicating.

With whole muscle pieces the cure isn't strictly necessary, but you'll end up with a duller color and a different flavor.

He's soaking the beef in a 50% salt alcohol mixture, i'm not surprised it's safe. As far as the curing area...he wrapped it i ncheesecloth which will help avoid case hardening, but if your room or garage is at 10 or 15% RH, like many places in winter, you'll likely have a problem. That's why these things were put in underground basements, the humidity is higher than an open room in winter.
It really depends what your average humidity is.

Unknown said...

Thanks Jason. I think that answers my question. I'm not opposed to the curing salts but was more wondering why the need for all the gear. Can you elaborate on the chemistry consequences of not having high enough humidity? Is it an increased bacteria risk? Or is it just not as good of an end result (inferior results).

Jasonmolinari said...

If the humidity isn't high enough you run the risk of having what is called "case hardening". That means the outer layer of meat dries too quickly, creating a "shell" around the meat that locks in the moisture from the center. When that occurs the meat center can't dry, and will eventually rot.

Notice on that page you directed me to, the last picture is of someone holding a plate of slices. The slices have a dark outer ring surrounding a lighter color interior. That looks like case hardening. In this case it seems that it did not case harden enough (maybe the humidity in his area is almost high enough, or the wrapping in cheesecloth saved it) to completely ruin the product, but that is certainly undesired.

Unknown said...

Appreciate your expertise and advice. I'm looking forward to trying some of your recipes!

Anonymous said...

With all the talk of not leaving air pockets, I was surprised to see the size of some of the gaps left by your casing. Some websites even say, 'if you have any gaps between the casing and the meat, you WILL get black mold'. Is this less of an issue than I thought?

Jasonmolinari said...

Certainly air gaps between the meat and casing should be avoided if possible. I don't agree that you'll definitely get black mold there otherwise. I've never gotten black mold.
I have gotten white mold in those air pockets sometimes, which is safe as far as i know.

adam said...

hi jason
I'm currently curing two eye of rounds. One traditional cure and one in a wine cure.
They've been hanging around 2 weeks. The traditional dry rubbed cure piece is developing a lot of white mold. However I never used any penicillin.
And do I need to remove the mold with vinegar before eating or simply rub the bulk of it off?


Jasonmolinari said...

Adam, the mold could be natural molds in your environment.
Before eating clean them off with vinegar/water.

TennesseeJed said...

Great blog Jason!

2 quick questions:

1) Any problem with vacuum packing the single muscles when doing an equilibrium cure? If there's enough salt and pink salt, botulinum should not be a concern, even in an anaerobic environment. Thoughts?

2) What type of collagen casing do you use for bresaola drying? Edible or inedible?


Jasonmolinari said...

no problem vac packing muscles for the curing phase. I do it often.

I no longer use collagen, but it was the inedible kind..rather thick about 100mm diameter.

TennesseeJed said...

Thanks--what would you use now instead of the inedible collagen?

Jasonmolinari said...

natural casings. A beef bung.