Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Salame di Brianza - Production and Tasting Notes

Salame di Brianza is a salame produced in the region of Milan, Lecco and Como. It is actually a DOP product which means in order to use the name it has to follow certain strict guidelines and come from a specific area. Clearly mine wouldn't meet the DOP requirements. It's a very simple salame with just salt, pepper, garlic and wine for flavoring. This is by far the biggest cased product I've made. I made it to use for sandwiches, so I wanted it large to be able to slice it thin and use in a nice ciabatta bread.

Salame di Brianza
IngredientQuantity(g)% of Meat+Fat
Pork ham meat
Pork belly (70/30 fat/lean)
Cure #2
White pepper (whole)
White pepper (ground)
Garlic powder

F-LC starter culture

I basically forgot to take pictures of each step, so you should refer back to any of the other salami, such as the latest one : Salame di Sant'Olcese.

I ground the meat using the large kitchenaid grinder plate, which is 3/16". I used the same method as the other salami I've previously made: cube meat, cube belly, mix with spices, chill way down, grind, then add starter culture diluted in distilled water, and mix until a good bind is formed.

This is the spice mix I used in the salame. Nothing too exciting, just looking for a nice porky, tasty salame.

This is the mixture cased. It's a 100mm collagen casing. It's huge, and this "chub" held all of the mixture; 4 lbs of meat! Packed it in as tightly as possible, but I could tell this was going to be a challenge to get in there without air pockets.

Just like for other salami such as the Chorizo, this one was sprayed with M-EK-4 mold. It was incubated for 72 hours at 70 deg. F. I incubated about 24 hrs longer than other salami because of it's size.

This picture shows the salame after 24hrs in the fermentation box.

Nice mold!

It was then put into the curing chamber at 54 deg. F and 70-75% RH.
It was at 70% at the beginning, then I raised it to about 75% to try and slow the drying.

Here is the salame, cured and ready to eat. It cured just about 2 months, and lost 38.7% of it's weight. It could easily have gone longer, but I wanted a salame that's pretty soft, it makes for better sandwiches since it feels moister.

Here is the salame sliced. It's got a great texture, and fat distribution, but you can see exactly what I was concerned about above regarding the pockets of air. You can see them in the picture pretty clearly. This is a concern because it can cause problems in the aging, oxidation on the inside and potentially spoilage.
Fortunately there was no spoilage, just some oxidation flavor, so i'm still going to eat it. The oxidation is, luckily, limited and the flavor isn't impacted much at all, especially if you eat this with a nice piece of bread.

Just another picture from a little further away. I figured you can't have too many pictures of cured meats.

Overall i really like this. It's REALLY convenient for sandwiches, the taste is great, just porky and meaty. It has a nice flavor without it being tangy. I'm really liking this lower temperature, slower fermentation. It could probably use more pepper, and a little more garlic, and I also realized i forgot to add wine. Oops!

As far as the air pockets, I think next time i'll grind the meat finer. It seems that the larger cased salami always have a finer texture. I'll also mix it more and try to get a better bind. Other than that, i'm not sure what else I could do. I tried to be careful when casing it, and packed it in as I went, but i guess I didn't do a very good job at it!

So, overall this salame is a winner. Good flavor, good texture, needs a little more pepper, a solid B.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jason, I have tried to use the m-ek-4 mold on 2 occasions. Once at 80 deg./ 75%rh and another at 75 deg./ 60% rh. Very little mold has grown if any both times. How do you get such a nice bloom?

Jasonmolinari said...

I think the mold needs a high humidity environment to start its bloom.
I use a sealed fermentation box, so the humidity in there is 95%+. Other than that, i'm not sure. Are you diluting the mold in water and spraying it on?
I spray the salami twice in the first 12hrs. Once at the beginning, and again about 12 hours later

Peter M said...

Thanks for sharing...I'm going to try my hand at salamis this year.

Jasonmolinari said...

Good luck Peter. It isn't hard at all, it's just a matter of having the right conditions.
I recommend you test your environmental chambers (fermentation and curing) BEFORE making anything. So you're not putzing with it when you have 10 lbs of raw meat sitting around!

FrankieM said...

Im Hanging 1 coppa, 2 bresoli, 1 salami di Sant'Oclese right now so I will try that out. Ill let you know how it comes out. By the way Thank you for the wealth of knowledge on your site. It like having generations of experience at your finger tips!

Jasonmolinari said...

Frankie, sounds like you have a whole butcher shop going on!
Glad you're enjoying the blog!

FrankieM said...

It smells like one too in my kitchen! Its been over 12 hrs and still no bloom, I just sprayed them again. Can it be a problem that the mold culture has been in the same water in the same bottle for a few days?

Jasonmolinari said...

I think the time to bloom is based on many factors that i don't even know. The first time i used M-EK-4 i didn't get a bloom for about 2-3 days! It only showed up once i moved the salami from the fermentation box to the curing chamber.
This time it showed up much faster...don't know why!
Give it a little more time.

Worst case is you don't have any mold on the outside, which i've never seen as a big problem.

FrankieM said...

I agree. No mold grew on the last batch of dried sausage I made (including bad mold) and it tasted great. Although I love the way it looks. Especialy on the salami.

FrankieM said...

Question on your Coppa. you said you used 100m collegen. How long did you soak it in water for? My coppas casing is drying up as opposed to the way yours looks in the picture, how it is adhered to the meat just like natural casings on a sausage. Also on my salami, as the meat looses weight the collegen seems to be coming away from the meat, causing pokets of air to form. Has this ever happend to you?

Jasonmolinari said...

I soaked the coppa collagen for about 10 minutes in warm water. As the meat dries the casing stayed pretty well stuck to the meat.
I have had collagen casings pull away on some salami...i've never figured out why some do that and some don't!

FrankieM said...

Were you still able to eat the salami, or coppa?

Jasonmolinari said...

Yes, i ate them. On one of the bresaole mold formed on the meat below the was the white mold so i just wiped/cut it off and ate it. It was fine.

Larbo said...


How are you stuffing the casing? I found that once I had a dedicated sausage stuffer (I got an Italian Tre Spade stuffer from Butcher-Packer), it eliminated the problem of air pockets in the casing.

Still, glad to hear it tasted fine!

Jasonmolinari said...

I use a dedicated stuffer as well. A vertical crank stuffer.

David said...


Question for you: How do you measure minute amounts of ingredients?

My mechanical kitchen scale measures in 5g increments. I have been looking for a scale for more precise measurement. The olny thing I have found thus fas is this:

Do you have a better way?



Jasonmolinari said...

David, you an get a scale that measures 0.01g from ebay for about $15 shipped.
That's where i got mine. When you get it check that it's calibrated with a nickel (5g), a penny (2.5g) a dime (2.27g) or a combination thereof.

David said...

Thanks Jason

FrankieM said...

Hi Jason, so im getting a good bloom on half of each item in the chamber. Its weird one side white the other nothing! I wanted to ask you- I have a coppa thats been drying for 20 days. Its lost 31% of its weight and fells a little soft in the middle. I know I should wait unitll 40%, but its my first one and im anxious. When do you think it will be ok to Start it?

Jasonmolinari said...

Frankie, that happens to mine as well sometimes, with one side having nicer mold than the other side. It must depend on the location in the chamber, air currents, light and who knows what else.
I try to rotate them around once a week or every 2 weeks.

Anyhow, for the coppa, 31% is maybe a little soft still...if you can wait to 35% loss (it shouldn't be more than another week i imagine), that's where my best effort coppa was (35% loss).

I don't think eating it at 31% will hurt you, but it may not keep as long because it still has a fair amount of water in it.

If you really can't wait, give it a try:)

Jennifer S said...

Ciao, Jason! Mi piaccono i salumi e l'informazione sul vostro blog. Grazie mille. Ho imparato molte cose questa sera.

Sorry... My Italian is much better when I'm speaking, and I'm a bit out of practice. Thanks for the information about setting up a fridge for curing. I'm about to go through that process. (Have fridge. need to get the other gadgets)

Do you cure prosciutti, or mostly just the smaller stuff? Is that due to space in your fridge, or just interest level?

Grazie mille

Jasonmolinari said...

Hi jennifer, glad my blog is helping.
I haven't made any prosciutto because of the size and the required time commitment. I may eventually..who knows!

FrankieM said...

Ok Thanks, Today its down to 67% of its original weight. Its my first solid muscle cure, so I cant bare the suspence anymore!

FrankieM said...

Well, you were right about it being a little to soft, but there was green mold on the meat under the collogen. It gave the meat a musty flavor. I used the mold culture too. Do you think it could have been that the meat was not dry enough when i put it in the casing, poked too many holes? My father inlaw is insisting it has to do with not enough air cirlulation in the chamber. What do you think?

Jasonmolinari said...

Hrm, that's too bad. Is it still good though?
i've gotten mold between the casings and the meat when the casing hasn't been tight enough around the meat. That happens with the collagen ones when you use one that's a little too big and you don't tie up the meat well and "fold" excess casing over itself.
It may also be from nto drying the meat enough before putting it in the casing. I'm not 100% sure.

FrankieM said...

Good idea to fold the exess casing. I think that contributed. I gave it to my father inlaw, he will make use of it, but i cant stand the smell of that green mold. it is totlay diferent than that of the white. I know it sucks, but thats you you learn right. The other one thats been drying for a week and a half looks much tighter, and i dont see any mold inside, so im gonna keep my fingers crossed. Thanks for the tips.

Whenk you poke holes, do you just target areas were there are air pockets? B'c i was told that it was good to make as many as possible.

Jasonmolinari said...

When i poke holes i target the air pockets, but also make plenty of them.
I then massage the meat and squeeze the air pockets out.

Jane said...

Jason, I have written here before and I will say it again. Fabulous site I follow it often.

2 questions. I know they aren't the smartest ones goes.

1-I understand why 100mm (or what ever they are called) casings but you can't eat the casing correct? So when you get the nice mold you just eat everything but?

2-I want to start with curing. I have a lot of stuff....but NO smoker. What would you say, be the best to start with. Yes, I have the book. Done the simpler ones. I want do something that I'm more then likely to do right.

Thank You and keep it up.

Jasonmolinari said...

Jane, thanks for the compliments.
The large collagen casings are no edible. You peel them off as you cut.

The best meat to start with is a pancetta. After that any of the solid muscle products (bresaola, coppa), then last the salami. Salami are the hardest and require the most attention to detail and the most correct curing conditions.

Jane said...

Jason, now that is what I thought about the casings.

I have done pancetta and one of the others. Something about the salami has be going. I think I need to just pick one and give it a try.

Thank you

Unknown said...

The large collagen casings are no edible. You peel them off as you cut.

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Rumela said...

I made this salame recipe for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! I was a little nervous it wouldn't have enough depth of flavor, but it turned out beautifully. thank you for shearing your post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
more than a comment, I have a question for you. I made one type of salame and I sprayed with the mold MEK-4. After three days I don't see any mold forming. I dissolved .25 gr of the MEK-4 in about 10 or 15 cc of water, after about one hr. I brought it to 100 cc with water and sprayed the salame. I suspect I didn't wait long enough before i diluted it. What do you think?
If I will do it agaig do you think I can spray it again or it is too late. I appreciate your answer.
Thank you
Frank Vella

Jasonmolinari said...

Frank, not 100% sure whats going on. Did you use distilled water for the mold? If not, it's possible that the chlorine in the water killed the mold?
i think you waited long enough for it to "come back to life", i'm not sure the waiting is even necessary really.

i don't see any harm in spraying it again. I've sprayed them over the course of 2 or so days pretty often.

Sometimes it did take a good 4-5 days for mold to start forming. What temperature are you incubating at?

Mamaliga said...

Fascinating post!

Quick question - how do you measure the weight loss so exactly?


Jasonmolinari said...

Gabi: i use a scale. Measure before putting in curing chamber and measure after.

Gabi Bucataru said...

Got it Jason! Thanks!

I also observed that people write the date and the initial weight if the item on a tag attached to it.

Jim said...

What is the Dextrose for? Is this something I can buy in a grocery store?

Jasonmolinari said...

Jim, the dextrose is a simple sugar and is consumed by the bacteria to ferment the salame. You can find it in vitamin and supplement shops usually.

Gabi Bucataru said...

Jason - you mentioned you forgot the wine in this recipe. What kind and what percentage would you use if you would make this again?


Jasonmolinari said...

Gabi, from other sources, i'm told they use about a cup for every 5-6kg of meat not that much really

Anonymous said...

How much wine should have been in your recipe? I'm hoping to have a go this week.

Jasonmolinari said...

From what i've heard about 1 cup per 5-6kg of not much really.