Pepperoni

The overall process for making the Pepperoni is nearly identical to that of the Soppressata, except that it does not need to be pressed.

Pepperoni (started 12/24/20)

  • ~8-10 lbs Pork butts well trimmed of all soft fat and much of the hard fat
  • Salt 2.5%
  • Cure #2 0.25%
  • Dextrose 0.2%
  • White sugar 0.3%
  • Cracked Black Pepper 0.3%
  • Sweet Paprika 0.6%
  • Fennel Seeds – cracked / crushed 0.3%
  • Cayenne pepper – ground 0.15%
  • Gochugaru – Korean red pepper flakes 0.15%
  • B-LC-007 Starter culture 0.02%
  • Water (for the starter culture) 1/4 cup
  • Bactoferm 600 mold culture

Process as above for the Soppressata but there is no need to press. Smaller 32- 45mm or so casings would be desirable, but all I had left were 60 mm.

The first sampling at 4 weeks had hit the low end of the target weight loss (~35%) but were still a bit soft for my liking but made good pizza. This sausage is much leaner than commercially made sausage. There were NO puddles of grease on top of the pizza and it tasted very good.

Later, at 6 weeks (2/10/21) and 50% weight loss, the flavor and texture were MUCH improved for eating fresh. I can’t wait to try some on pizza!



Soppressata

Soppressata is a mildly spicy dry cured italian pork sausage. It is seemingly one of the more common starting points for dry cured / fermented sausages.

Batch 1 was started started 12/17/20

Sanitize everything! I sprayed the utensils, grinder, counter top, hands, etc with StarSan (same as I use for Brewing)

  • ~ 10 lbs Pork butts deboned, and well trimmed of all soft fat, connective tissue, silverskin, tendons and much of the hard fat
  • Salt 2.5%
  • Cure #2 0.25%
  • Dextrose 0.3%
  • Cracked Black Pepper 0.3%
  • Red Pepper Flakes – Korean Gochugaru 0.3% (finely ground and no seeds)
  • Sweet Paprika 0.3%
  • B-LC-007 Starter culture 0.023%
  • Water (for the starter culture) 1/4 cup
  • Bactoferm 600 mold culture in water bath
  • Coarsely grind the COLD pork ~ 1/4″ plate
  • Sprinkle the starter on the water and let rest for~ 15 min
  • Mix meat and non spice ingredients together well for at least 5 minutes. The mixture should be quite sticky due to myosin development when ready. Add the spices and mix for another couple of minutes.
  • Stuff into 60 mm casings (3x 24 inch casings). I use inedible collagen casings and tie mine at about 12″ length so they fit my high tech drying chamber.
  • Up to this point everything MUST be kept cold. Utensils and meat in the fridge or better the freezer to stay <40F.
  • Save about 1/2c of meat mixture and test the pH. The initial pH should be between 5.8 and 5.9.
  • Once stuffed the sausages are dipped in a solution of Bactoferm 600 (penicillium mold) which adds flavor and is a protectant from harmful molds. This results in the traditional white mold covering the casings. I use a bread loaf pan to hold the solution and then dip / roll the pieces in it.
  • The sausages then ferment until the pH drops below 5.3 (or preferably 5.0). Use a small sample of the meat in a cup / bowl for the pH testing. I use my kitchen oven for the fermenting. The sausages are laid directly on cookie sheets (Teal prefers that I do not place them directly on the racks). The light is turned on in the oven as needed (e.g. 15 min every hour) to hold the temp at 75-85F. This should take about 20-24 hours to hit the target pH of 4.8 to 5.0. In order to have a shelf stable final product the final pH must be < 5.3 (coupled with low enough water activity). Lower pH also gives a “tangier” product.
    With my Kitchenaid double oven if the light is left on full time the temp rises to 95F (a bit too warm).
  • Now the sausages are hung in the drying chamber for a week. Temp should be ~55F and humidity setpoint of 75%.
  • The Soppressata then needs to be pressed for proper shape and texture. I used pieces of vinyl coated wire shelving secured with tie wraps for this (yes this is the low budget end of the range / technique). The sausages are pressed for a week or 2 in the drying chamber. Tighten the tie wraps every day or 2 to maintain pressure.
  • Remove the press rack after 1-2 weeks and rehang the sausages to continue drying until they reach the target weight loss of 45-50%.
Soppressata being pressed in the wire shelving. in the middle. Top are Lonzino and below is Pepperoni.

After 7 weeks (2/10/21), the weight loss was 50%. The sausages were pulled and washed down with warm water to loosen the casings. The casings (with the mold ) were stripped off. They were then sliced for a QC check and taste test prior to washing in red wine and vacuum packing.

They taste very good, but I would like it a bit hotter / spicier and maybe some fennel (maybe do Finocchiona next?). I had one stick that had an air pocket and had to be discarded. I need to work on my stuffing technique and will heat to sterilize the spices next time.

My grandson Sawyer absolutely loves it. Here is a video of him helping to grind the meat:

References:

The Art of Making Fermented Sausages – Marianski