Spent Grain Sourdough

With a little planning ahead a brewing day can also be a baking day.   I  am doing extract brewing and the spent specialty grains are perfect for baking.   The cooked grains are rich in fiber, have lower carbs and add great texture (yes, even with the husks present).

Given that many of my beers are high gravity I need to make a starter for the beer. The sourdough also requires a starter. So why not do both in parallel?

Spent grain sourdough bread

Day T-2   Pull your sourdough starter from the fridge and mix with 1 cup all purpose flour and 3/4 c water.   Mix well, cover and allow to rise at room temp.

Day T-1  Make the starter for the beer. I typically use 1.5 l water and 3/4 c DME. Bring to a boil in an erlenmeyer flask, including the stir bar, with a foil cover .   Remove from heat and quickly cool in a snowbank or ice water (brewing in the winter does have some advantages for cooling). Rehydrate the yeast per the mfr instructions if using dry yeast, add to the flask and then put on the stir plate.

Add to the sourdough starter. Add another 1 1/4 c flour and 3/4-1 c water to have  a heavy sticky dough.  Cover and let rise at room temp.    Make sure you keep the sourdough work well away from the beer starter or you will risk contamination. Doing the additions in 2 stages, seems to yield more consistent results.

Sourdough starter a few hours after 2nd addition


Brew and baking day

Steep the specialty grains per the beer recipe drain well and cool.   For the bread pictured above,  this was Caramunich III.       By the time you are done brewing,  the grains will be cool enough for baking.


Place the sourdough starter in the mixer bowl reserving 2/3 cup to save for the next batch.

Add 2.5 cups of the spent grains – they should be just damp at this point. Wring out if too moist

Add 2 c bread flour (King Arthur)

1 tsp dry yeast (SAF Instant)

Mix lightly and then rest for 10-15 min.

Continue mixing for 3 min. This should be a very sticky ball, mostly pulling away from the sides of the mixer .  You may have to adjust with more flour or water but do not be tempted to make it too firm.

Add 1tsp fine sea salt. Mix for another 2 min.   The salt firms up the dough, so don’t add too early or the texture will not be as nice.

Cover the bowl with a very damp warm kitchen towel and place in the oven to proof. Ours has a bread proofing (100F) setting.  Let rise for 1.5 hours.

Take the dough our and place on a floured counter. Pull and fold 5-8 times.  It will still be very sticky but this evens out the texture.

Place in a large pan or dutch oven and oil the inside well (olive oil or butter).  Cover and rise again for another 1-1.5 hours at 100F. The dough should have risen about 2.5 times.

Preheat oven to 425 F

Place bread covered in the oven for 15-20 min.

Remove the lid, set for convection backing. Insert temperature probe and bake until the internal temp is 195F (15-30 min).   Itis best to go by temp rather than time.   The Thermoworks Chefalarm with the Pro Series Needle Probe is perfect. I also use this for brewing as the probe is waterproof.

Remove and turn onto a rack to cool and serve (unless your spouse beats you to it for the first slice (as mine did in the photo above).  Serve with a glass from a previous batch of your beer.

While you may be tempted to interleave the baking and brewing work during the boil, I would recommend against it. The sourdough has a variety of yeasts and bacteria in it that would definitely not be beneficial to your beer.   I have learned the hard way not to taste the raw sourdough!

Note that previously I had tried adding brewing grains (dry) as part of the flour for the bread and the texture was not that good. The steeping of the grains for brewing makes a huge difference in the bread. I will also try increasing the proportion of spent grain in the future as well as mixing with other flours.  I am really intrigued with trying rye and oats as the spent grains.  There is much room for experimentation, based on this successful base recipe.

Home Made Pastrami

Why settle for pre-packaged pastrami when you can easily make your own with superior flavor, lower sodium and no strange preservatives?   This is another slow food recipe. Elapsed time is 4-10 days, but the actual applied time is quite short, at 1-2 hours including packaging and clean up.

Small chunk of the pastrami


This recipe is based on the one in Charcuterie 

The meat is brined for a week, smoked overnight and the finished in the oven.   For cured meats I prefer to use metric measurements and work by weight rather than volume .   I use a full size “packer” brisket (12-14 lbs)  I cut the flat in half and remove the heavy surface fat as well as that between the flat and point.  So now you have 3 approximately equal sized pieces that will now fit in a refrigerator crisper drawer with the brine as well as on the smoker.


1 gallon  / 4l water
300 g kosher salt (Mortons)
225 g sugar
35 g pink salt  (Cure #1)
1 tbsp / 8 grams Pickling spice (make your own or get Penzey’s)
90 g dark brown sugar
1/4 c 60 ml honey
5-8 garlic cloves – thinly sliced

Mix the brine making sure the salt and sugar are dissolved.   Place the brine and the meat in a crisper drawer or suitable container in the fridge. If you have room, place a heavy plate on top to keep the meat submerged.   Turn the meat every 1-2 days.   After a week remove and rinse well.

If desired, cover with 1 tbsp /8 g crushed coriander seed and 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper.   I usually halve this or skip it as Teal does not like the heat of the pepper.


Place the meat on a rack, pat it dry  and allow to come up to close to room temperature. The reason for this is to form a pellicle on the surface – a tacky coating that better absorbs the smoke. By warming it up you will also avoid having the smoke condense and make a sooty mess on the surface of the meat.

Smoke at 220- 225F for 14-16 hours over hardwood charcoal and cherry wood chunks (branch slices 3-4 ” diameter and 2-3″ thick are perfect).  I start in the late afternoon or evening and then can pull it off the next day.  This is where the Heatermeter comes in handy which provides perfect hands free temperature control.    You are looking for an internal temp of 160-165F . There should be a nice bark on the surface.   It will taste great but still be too tough.

Now moved to a covered  dutch oven with 1/2″ of water in the bottom and place in the oven at 275F for 3 hours. Final  internal temp should be about 200-205F.  At this point it will be nice and tender but firm and dark pink throughout.

If you have any brown or light pink areas in the middle it was not brined quite long enough or froze while in the brine (this last batch froze as the fridge is in the garage and temps dipped to well under freezing too early in the season).

Serve and enjoy.  We vacuum pack chunks and freeze for later (and raiding by our kids).


Down the rabbit hole of sour beer

Over time I have had a few sour beers,  but I had not done much exploration of the genre. After the success of the Backyard Berry Sour a.k.a. Pink Beer, I wanted to explore them more broadly. Unfortunately, Wisconsin is seemingly  not on the sour beer  distribution web  (if one exists). A few trips out East and careful scrounging for sour beers locally additionally piqued my interest.   However, the prices ($13-23 / 4 pack) were at the upper end of my price range.

I did however decide that based on my tastings that I wanted to try my hand at “brett beers”. That is, those that are fermented with the aid of Brettanomyces cultures rather than just sticking with the safer kettle soured (Lactobacillus culture) beers.  To most brewers and vintners, having Brett in the brew is a sign of contamination and when not intentionally added, leads to off flavors, gushers (beers that spray forth when opened) and bottle bombs (don’t wait for a human to open them).

More research was in order, so I could make my own. Hopefully with some controls so I could brew conventional beers and keep the brett monster in its place.  The first purchase was  “American Sour Beers” which provides a great overview of the processes, methods and recipes.   The second was “Yeast” which covers the use of yeast in brewing as well as the necessary scientific methods (proper culturing / propagation, cell counting, viability testing, etc). Both of these appealed to my inner engineer.  I was especially impressed with the writing style in Yeast, where one of the authors (Chris White of White Labs ) does not make this a pedestal to promote his own products but rather uses them as infrequent examples – great restraint.

Next was the need for a bit more equipment.  There is the fear and potential problem of accidental cross contamination.  So it is best to keep all plastic parts separate between the regular and Brett beers. That means fermenters, hoses, stoppers, siphon, wine thief, lids, Tilt hydrometer, etc.   I also purchased a microscope and hemocytometer to do some cell counting (OK this was just for the inner geek but fun anyway).   I do also practice double sanitization (once after washing everything after brewing and once before brewing) both as a good general practice and to avoid accidental cross contamination.

So more or less prepared, I ordered the ingredients along with both kinds of yeast needed.   I am not yet ready to jump into brett only fermentations so I followed the recommendations and stated with a Belgian style ale yeast – SafAle BE-134 for primary fermentation and Omega Yeast – All the Bretts  for the brett culture. I have used BE-134 in a number of beers and like it but the All the Bretts was the only Brett yeast in stock locally in late summer.

Next- on to the brewing.

Backyard Berry Sour a.k.a Pink Beer

My first experiment with sour beers was a kettle soured beer with fruit. It proved to be very popular and resulted in another 2 batches being made this past summer.

Kettle souring is a “safe” technique in that it uses cultured lactic acid bacteria in the wort before the boil. The boil  kills the bacteria and there is no worry about them running away (making an excessively sour beer) or contaminating the rest of your brewing gear.

This beer is based on the Northern Brewer Funktional Fruit Sour.   Without repeating the recipe, here are the highlights from Batch 1

Day 1  (friday night) Boil the malt only wort for 5 min and then cool to 80-85F.   Leave it in the brew kettle.  Add the lactobacillus culture and cover.  Heat must be applied. My Spike 10 gal Brew Kettle can be set up with a side mount thermo well into which the thermo probe is inserted and the heater wrapped around.  Initial pH was 6.5

Day 2 make up the starter.  1.3 l water, 3/4 DME boil and cover the flask with aluminum foil. Chill to 68f. Add the yeast. So far,  there have been 3 batches  T-58, BE-134 and EC1138   I like the T58 the best for this one.

Day 3 (Monday eve) The pH has dropped to 3.53 – nice and tart.  Now We continue with the brew. Do this per the recipe  including primary fermentation.  2/3 tsp Fermax was added per batch .

10-14 days later transfer to secondary  SG 1.017

Add the fruit. All of the fruit had been frozen, then heated to a boil, and mashed with a “motor boat” style stick mixer to break it up. Each 5 gal batch required :

  • 2lbs frozen Blueberries,
  • 1lb mixed frozen fruit (Raspberries, strawberries and blackberries),
  • 12 oz frozen blackberries
  •  1lb frozen cranberries

The blueberries all came from my garden. While I grow the others, including high bush cranberries, I do not get enough for brewing so I have to resort to store bought frozen.

I still do not have the perfect technique for managing the berry pulp in the fermenter. The first batch I just dumped it in.  This required twice filtering to keep the keg from plugging with bits of pulp.  The second and 3rd batches I placed in fine mesh bags and then in the fermenter but they were too “floaty” trapping the C02. I tried venting them with 1/2″ pvc pipe but this was not great either. They still floated.   I shook the fermenter daily to attempt to keep things mixed up and prevent mold growth (if the fruit on top dries out it is susceptible to mold).

Batch 1  5 days primary, 14 days secondary  OG 1.054, FG1.02

Batches 2&3  Additional 1.5 lbs golden light DME per batch above the kit fermentables.

10 days primary, 35 days secondary     Added EC1118 yeast i batch 3 in secondary    Batch 2 OG 1.070 FG 1.007, Batch 3 OG1.073  FG 1.009

Transferring the first batch to the keg. 2 more filtering passes were required.

As you can see the beer is a brilliant PINK.

The FG ranged form 1.007 to 1.009  across the batches.   This is a family favorite. All of the ladies love it, especially those that don’t care for the IPAs and Imperial Stouts that I do otherwise.  The girls have requested that I keep it on hand for all family gatherings and summer boating.

Note that some articles suggest removing the precipitate from the kettle souring step. The lactobacillus layer on the bottom of the kettle can scorch and create a burnt rubber flavor.  Tip for my next batch.



Pliny Plus IIPA

Like many of my brews this started with a kit – Northern Brewer Plinian Legacy. This is a “clone” of the impossible to find in Wisconsin, Russian River Pliny The Elder .

I wanted a very strong Imperial IPA so I also added to the kit an additional pound of golden DME at the start of the 90 minute boil.

Prior to brewing, I made a starter with 1.5 liters of water, 1 cup DME this was brought to a boil in the erlenmeyer flask with an aluminum foil cap and then chilled in an ice water bath. Once it was cool enough – 68F I added the BE134 yeast.  This went on the stir plate for 24 hours. This is a highly attenuating Belgian style yeast that also withstands high alcohol content.

Prior to chilling I added 2 tsp of Fermax yeast nutrient.

The cooled wort was oxygenated for 3 minute.

As I have learned in subsequent brews,  you need a cool start (63-65F) to prevent this yeast from getting going too vigorously and the temperature rocketing up. In this case, I started at 68-69F which was the same as the basement temp and it rose after a few days to 74F.  This batch also required a large blow off tube.

Initially, I had a  1/2″ ID blow off tube  and the lid blew off the Big Mouth Bubbler making a bit of a mess.  I have latches to prevent the lids from simply walking out the top.  So I switched to the big blow off tube (1″ ID).  Another option I discovered later, is to add the yeast nutrient at day 3  to level the fermentation rate out a bit.   In the photo above, besides the Pliny Plus with the top blown off,  you can see also 2 batches of the “Pink Beer” in secondary fermentation and the “Brett Ringer” in primary (another post yet to come).


date SG temp
09/01/19 1.084 69
09/02/19 1.067 71
09/03/19 1.0344 74
09/04/19 1.0267 72
09/05/19 1.0233 73
09/06/19 1.02 73
09/20/19 1.01 75
10/02/19 1.078 68

As you can see, imperfect temperature control , both in starting a bit warm and then when it hit peak, not holding that temp.    I do not have anything to cool the fermenting beer other than the cement floor and ambient air temp (no chiller – yet).  I did ramp the temp back up after the first week a bit to help keep the fermentation going. The fermenter was vigorously shaken 1-2 times per day to help keep the yeast from settling out too early

This beer has a high amount of hops and hop extract in it.  The fermenter was sticky with hop extractives when I transferred to the secondary .

Calculated ABV was 9.7%.

When transferring from primary to secondary (9/19/19) when the first of the dry hop additions was done it had a harsh flavor and a “burn” in the throat. This greatly smoothed out later.

Taste was great when kegged and served.


More Cowboy Candy

We made our last batch of Cowboy Candy 2 years ago and are down to two 1/2 pints and one pint being left.  This impending shortage along with the first (late) freeze of the year meant I had to harvest my peppers. I ended up with 2 gallon buckets and then some of peppers. Mostly a long jalapeno but also a few Caribbean red  habaneros.  This is not enough to do a batch, so I went to the Waukesha farmers market and bought out 3 vendors.  One of them was surprised I really wanted all of the ripe jalapenos (ripe peppers are a critical ingredient).  A final vendor provided a dozen orange habaneros.

Sunday morning arrived and so did the kids, Jessie, Elyse and David came with children in tow.  We were arrayed around the kitchen table seeding and chopping the pile of peppers. I estimate it was 40-45 lbs overall, with about 30-35lbs when cleaned (we lost count of the 3 lb batches).

Almost done, just a few peppers to go

Duties were split with the kids doing the chopping, I was chopping and doing the hot  processing of the jars.   This was our second try at doing the hot / boiling water bath processing on the deck and it worked great!  We were also smart enough this time to don the gloves from the start.  Last time we had painful side effects for a couple of days (just think of every body part you may touch with your fingers that are soaked in capsaicin – ouch).

The Blichman Hellfire burner gets the kettle up to a boil quickly (>200K BTU/hr).   This burner is designed for home brewing and double duty for canning.  The Victorio canner also works well as a brew kettle.   So, when considering what you need for brewing or home canning, keep in mind the dual uses.  This would work with a turkey fryer and burner too.

The major advantages of brewing outside are just as rewarding for canning . Keep the steam,  mess and boilovers outside as much as possible.  The 4x4s under the burner are not so much a safety consideration but rather to help keep me from bending over quite so far. 

Teal did the cooking and filling of the jars.  She had 2 kettles going: one with the syrup for cooking the peppers and a second with the cooked down concentrate for filling the jars.

With the help and better sequencing of processing steps we were done in under 3 hours.  This halved the time vs 2 years ago for an equivalent amount.

Final tally was 36 half pints and 7 pints.  We “should” be set for another 2 years.  However, as the word spreads of this special taste treat, the stash of jars goes down ever more quickly.    For the recipe see: https://bronkalla.com/blog/2017/10/01/candied-jalapenos-cowboy-candy/


First floor tile project part 3

So we waited a week after grouting for the clean up.

In the meantime, the thresholds for the front door and garage door needed to be sanded, stained and varnished. This was a small detour.

Replacing the base shoe trim went rather smoothly. A few grout clumps to clean out, but otherwise it went well.

Laundry sink went back in well. Looking at the dryer vent hose it was discovered it was torn on both ends and needed to be redone.  Washer and dryer went back in with help from David.  My left hand still not quite up to pulling the cart up and reconnecting.

Teal did the acid wash / grout haze removal and buffing of the tiles.

The weatherstripping on the garage door needed to be replaced as the bronze on the hinge side had broken. I tried flat bronze on the garage door but was not satisfied with the results and will need to redo. Holding the tiny nails with fingers that can’t grip worth a darn was a joy. When removing the front door threshold, half of the weatherstripping was damaged as well. The v-shape, folded weatherstripping is rather hard to find.  I had it ordered from Ace.

The main frustration was the foyer closet doors. These are sliding doors. They had not been working well before the tile job so I picked up replacement rollers at Ace. However when reinstalling I discovered that that the offset for each door is different! so the new rollers did not work. The old ones would not stay on the track and I discovered that I could not reinstall the retainer in the middle as the floor was now ever so slightly higher.  Argh!.  So the 6 panel doors were taken downstairs and cut about 5/16″ shorter.  Now the bottom guide could be installed but the doors would not stay on the tracks and I could not adjust the rollers well to close the gaps along the door edges. So this meant a trip to Home Depot for a new sliding door track kit.  This installed easily and the doors now work well. All told, a 3 hour detour (with 2 trips to the store) for what was to be simply rehanging 2 closet doors.  The bathroom door also needed to be shortened as well.

Finally the thresholds are caulked and reinstalled.  The only thing left to do is to finish the weatherstripping. Done.

First floor tile project part 2

As I mentioned previously, we had gotten notice that the tile was ready earlier than expected.  Tile shop also provides the order weight (to 3 decimal places) so we went to pick up the 1300+ lbs of tile, mortar, grout and assorted accessories.

So next step was finishing  the tile removal, including the last bits of thin set mortar.   The new air chisel worked out very well. My air compressor is complaining a bit (air chisel requires 10 cfm @ 90+ PSI) . It has not worked this hard since I built the boat.    At the end, we have a full big rubbermaid wheelbarrow full and countless cat litter buckets of old tile.  It will probably take 6+ weeks to get this taken as part of the garbage. Here is a shot after the first 3 loads have been “given” to the garbage men.

So we pick up the tile and deposit / stage the boxes near where they would be used.   The woodwork trim also got 2″ masking tape  applied to minimize mortar and grout being stuck on the woodwork and possibly staining it.

This was after the first day of tile removal.   You can see that the majority of the mortar has come off with the tiles.  The rugs are in place so we don’t track huge amounts of grit around the house.  There is no bypassing this area.

Thursday afternoon. All of the tile has been removed and the last bits of mortar have been removed.   Lots more time spent with the air chisel to scrape the entire floor to get the mortar off. HEPA rated vac was used to get most of the dust & grit picked up. However, we still needed dust masks while we were doing it.

Laundry room area.  Teal wanted to paint it a new color: mint-chip ice-cream green. This was another of the project “detours”.

The next day (Friday) the tile work starts.   Plan of attack is to proceed down the hall towards the foyer and then work into the closet and back round the foyer.  This was the first time I had a spiral mortar mixer paddle – what a treat compared to doing it by hand as we had in the past.  Another huge help was a big old box fan. Teal kept moving it to cool me off. This was hard work on a humid day. Given that I was kneeling down, bent way over leaning on my left hand, annoyingly sweat kept dripping into my glasses.

Saturday is spent cutting and laying the rest of the tile.   On Friday I had bypassed laying some of the tiles with the more complicated cuts so as to stay ahead of the hardening of the mortar. However, there were 2 tiles that were impossible to get in under the door jambs without splitting as the cut was basically U shaped and the tile had to fit under the door jamb.   A partial plunge cut with the wet saw into the back of the tile made for a clean break and nearly invisible joint line.

Sunday was spent grouting. I was able to get the entire area done with just one bag of grout (3 batches).  This is another time where having good quality tools paid off. We had bought the premium QEP grout float rather than the economy foam ones we had used originally. The firm rubber edge meant I could squeegee off most of the grout. This both saved material and greatly simplified clean up as it took fewer passes to clean off the excess.     As I was grouting, I had on some sandals that I don’t like (not caring if they got all messy ). However after an hour,  my toes became irritated – little toe hooking on the sandal. So I had the bright idea of doing this barefoot.  This were going well for a while but the tops of my toes were starting to hurt and I was getting pink streaks on the tile. I looked at my feet and the tops of my big toes had been ground down leaving dime sized raw spots which were now bleeding and getting grout or cement grit in them.  The sandals went back on.

Monday I woke up and I can barely move my left hand. No grip strength, some tingling in my little fingers.  If I had been scuba diving, I would have thought I had gotten bent.  Checking with my daughters who are both NPs the initial diagnosis was tendonitis. Googling for more info I found that it is common in house painters and tile setters.   The odd stance of kneeling and leaning way over on my left hand for 3 days in a row must have triggered it.   Lets see how long this takes to recover.  One week later it is still weak but getting somewhat better.   We had to wait a week before cleaning the haze off the tile and then putting on the trim, etc.


First floor tile project part 1



When we built our house 25 years ago we did a lot of the work ourselves.  This included all of the hard surface floors – ceramic tile and hardwood, which make up all of the flooring aside from the bedrooms.  We were on a hard schedule and basically treated like any of the subcontractors. The foyer, hallway, half bath and laundry room were all tiled. However the color of the tile was not exactly what we thought we had ordered (much debate here). Due to the time constraints, we put it in and hoped for the best.  However the color was always a sore point for Teal.

Now as a proper engineer I had laid down the substrate -two 3/4 ” layers of ply wood glued and screwed together with a zillion screws. This proved to be substantial and after 25 years of abuse there were no cracked tiles or grout.  So the thought of ripping it out and replacing it was never on my list of fun projects.   The tile was set in thin set mortar as well.

Tile Project Start

Teal is persistent however and wanted it replaced.  So my thoughts turn to how do I minimize the back breaking work and get this done?   The answer was “more tools” . After a fair amount of research I stumbled across the Harbor Freight Long Handle Air Scraper –   The reviews were good, so I got one. I also needed a better wet saw as this area has an amazing number of required cuts and my old “toy” wet saw was not up to the task.

So we get home and I try out the air scraper in a closet and it WORKS GREAT.    So the next day we rip out the foyer and hallway tile.  The thin-set mortar adhered well to the tile and the plywood.  However, the topmost layer of plywood (not an entire ply) would usually pull loose. So about 80% of the mortar pulled up with the tiles.

Note that the tile edges are extremely sharp, much like shards of glass and work well for removing skin from finger tips or slicing them open even with gloves.

So, now armed with the knowledge that the tile removal was feasible without professional help and now being committed, we proceeded to shop for the new replacement tile.  We were disappointed  with the selection at Home Depot and Menards and went to the Tile Shop, where we had gotten most of the tile when we built the house (not the pinkish tile which was from Lexco).   We made our selection and ordered it along with all of the other goodies (thin set, grout, spacers, etc.).  The tile we wanted was on  back order at the time so we thought things would work at a leisurely pace.

Detours 1

Now the “detours” would start. No good project plan goes unpunished. The next day Teal says the “washer won’t spin”.   It had been noisy for a while, but now it was unusable and we had just spent a pile of money on the tile.

So it was back to the internet and Youtube to see how to fix a Maytag  Performa washer that won’t spin.   Videos look good and a parts order to Appliance Parts Pros is made.  A few days later the parts arrive.  Washer is disassembled, tub and transmission removed and the new parts installed. Not too bad to do except for re-installing the darn e-clip on the end of the shaft. More bad words and damaged finger tips. However, it is reassembled and works. I should add that a second detour did occur as well. The faucets for the washer were locked up and better yet the wash sink next to it had no shut off valves. So 4 new valves were procured and installed. It “only” took 2 tries- still had a leak on the first one.

The next day we get a call and the tile is ready for pickup – about 2 weeks earlier than expected.

To be continued…



Dry Cured Pork Loin Batch 2

After the success of the first batch. I decided to make another larger one. This started with one of the big economy sized pork loins.   With this round, I wanted to try more seasoning variations.  So I cut it roughly into thirds, each seasoned differently.

Otherwise the preparation was the same as the first batch:  http://bronkalla.com/blog/2019/01/02/making-lonzino-dried-cured-pork-loin/

Italian Cajun Pepper
03/14/19 Weight 1392 1121 1068
salt 42 33 33
Cure 2 3.5 2.8 2.7
4 tsp Ground Coriander 2tsp Penzey’s Cajun blend 5g Black pepper
2 tsp Sweet Paprika 1tsp Sweet Paprika
2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes – no seeds – Super Cayenne
3 tsp freshly crushed fennel seeds
03/31/19 Initial fridge cure 1456 1171 1108
04/06/19 Dry box weight 1369 1085 990
04/13/19 1190 955 903
04/21/19 1057 863 826
04/27/19 1012 811 764
05/05/19 951 747 702
05/31/19 579

As before, after apply in the cure and spices, the meat went for 2 weeks in the crisper drawer in the fridge. Then it was wrapped in collagen sheet and trussed in butcher’s twine.

Dry box with ham, Bresaola (top right), and lonzino

The meat was pulled from the dry box in early June and portioned out. Each stick was cut in half for freezing or eating.

Pepper blend 5/31/19

Aging for another month in the fridge in a plastic bag, the color variation evens out and the flavor mellows even more.

Yesterday we had a party,  with this thin sliced and served as one of the appetizers. After the initial fear of trying meat that had not been cooked subsided, the vote was unanimous – MAKE MORE!  With the extra 6 weeks in the fridge, the flavors are even more mellow with a slight buttery note.

Absolutely delicious.

Next batch, I will probably dry to the 40-45% moisture loss point. At 50% it is a bit hard to cut and a little chewy.    I will also up the seasonings for the pepper and Cajun by 50%.