Fermented sausages are cured using the same principles as other cures to produce salami of a consistent quality one must strictly obey the rules of sausage making.   Sugar is fermented by bacteria in an anaerobic environment to produce acid, which lowers pH of the sausage to at least 5.3, but more typically between 4.6 and 5.0. This field of knowledge has been limited to just a few lucky ones but with today's meat science and starter cultures available to everybody, there is little reason to abstain from making quality salamis at home. There are two basic types of fermented sausage, semi-dry and dry-cured, classified by how much original moisture they have lost in the curing process.

Semi-Dry Sausage includes summer sausage, some cervelats, metwursts, and American bologna. Usually it’s just a few days for the length of production. Semi-dry sausages usually use finely chopped meat and stuffed in medium or large diameter casings. A variety of sausage that is harder and denser than fresh sausage, but not as hard in substance as a dry sausage. It is partially dried as it is smoked, which fully cooks the product, allowing it to be sold and used as a ready-to-eat sausage. Dry or semi-dry sausages are a concentrated form of meat that can be made from beef, pork, poultry, or a combination of meats that are ground, seasoned with spices, mixed with curing ingredients, packed into a casing, and then moved through a controlled and continuous air-drying process.

Dry Sausages are cured sausages that are fermented and dried. Some are smoked as well at the beginning of the drying process. Dry sausages tend to use more coarsely chopped meat. Most dry sausages are cold smoked between 12C and 18C. Salamis are popular dry sausages. Dry sausages are considered shelf-stable even under higher temperatures. A sub-group of raw-fermented sausages are the semi-dry and/or spreadable products. Principles of manufacture of these semi-dry products are discussed at the end of the chapter. The typical examples for dry sausages with more or less prolonged ripening periods are the various types of salamis such as Hungarian, Italian, Central European, Spanish chorizo.

Semi-dry and dry sausages are smoked in very different conditions. It depends on the diameter of the sausage, smoking may last anywhere from 10 to 40 hours for small diameter sausages, to 1-3 weeks for exceptionally thick sausages. Semi-dry sausages are typically smoked at higher temperatures (22-32C). For a dry smoke, the optimal temperature is considered to be 14C, and a temperature of 31C is never passed. Many cured sausages are also smoked. A well-designed smokehouse will distribute heat and smoke evenly, which requires controlling circulation, temperature, and humidity. Usually, hardwood is used as fuel for creating smoke.

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