Saturday, February 13, 2010

Semi-dry pepperoni, Camembert, meat experiments

This week I've succumbed to impatience. I'm getting a bit sick of making salami that I can't taste for a couple of months, so I'm trying a semi-dry version of one.

To make a semi-dry salami you need to a) ferment it quickly, which requires the introduction of bacterial cultures, lots of glucose for them to metabolise, and high temperature fermentation; b) cook it after fermentation, optionally with smoke; c) not dry it for very long, if at all.

Here I have some minced pork with a little bit of minced beef beef, salt, nitrite (no nitrate because the cooking step kills any residual bacteria), plenty of glucose, a good dose of yoghurt, cayenne pepper, paprika, fennel seeds, and black pepper:

I mixed it all up and stuffed it into fibrous casings.

Here's the yoghurt I use:

Good thick silky smooth home-made stuff. I use a cup of milk powder per litre of milk and incubate it in my oven overnight. I have a great oven (two, actually) which can go as low as 30°C and as high as 260°C.

I used the low temperature of my oven to ferment the pepperoni for about 20 hours at ~40°C and put a bowl of water in the oven too, to keep the humidity up around 90% as per the instructions in my book.

After 20 hours I increased the temperature of the oven to 50°C for an hour or so, then to 60°C until the interior of the sausages was also 60°C. After that I dunked them in cold water and hung them up over the spare shower to dry. I'll leave them there for a couple of days, and have a taste on Monday.

The little bit of beef in the pepperoni was trimmings from this rump:

It was on special for $9.99/kg again this week, ridiculously cheap. I bought a fairly big bit and cut it into two neat hunks, one of which I rubbed with Heatwave and one with Oh! Zone. I then vacuum packed them and put them in the freezer ready to be cooked sous vide at some later date.

This lamb "drumstick" (a new name for what I think is the the bit just above the front knee) is in the waterbath as I type. It has a sprig of rosemary from the garden and a few slivers of garlic in with it.

I'll take it out in the morning and we'll see what it's like. I'm actually cooking it at a reasonably high temperature because of the rosemary and garlic - low temperature cooking is supposed to make them taste yukky.

I put four brined chicken drumsticks in for a couple of hours too:

They are now out and in the fridge:

I'm not 100% sure what to do with them. Their skin will need crisping up before they get eaten, but apart from that I'll just have to wait and see what occurs to me. They're nicely pasteurised anyway, so I have a week or so to think.

I brined eight drumsticks altogether. These ones …

… went in the smoker, and will become part of my lunches for next week.

Here's some Camembert draining:

My son and his family are visiting just after Easter so I started some today to be ready when they're here. Jonathan is rather fond of it, and I'd like him to try some of my non-factory made stuff. It actually ripens properly and goes all gooey inside. I took the other half of the curd and pressed it. Tomorrow I'll take it out of the press and treat it pretty much the same as I do the Camembert - trying to re-create this Farmhouse Brie.

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