Let’s make an Italian classic that reigns from the Tuscan region of Italy. The finocciona salami. This fennel salami dates as far back as the middle ages were pepper was extremely expensive and fennel grew in abundance.
The back story of this salami is quite interesting. It is told that the finoccinoa salami was born out of thievery. A local thief at a fair in the small Tuscan city of Prato stole a salami from one of the fair vendors. So as not to get caught he hid that salami in a basket of wild fennel then ran off. Upon returning to retrieve that salami he had discovered that the stolen salami had absorbed the fresh and beautiful flavors of that wild fennel. Word spread quickly of this new and interesting salami and since that moment the finocciona salami was born.
I’m sure that the Italians tell it a little differently and there’s a fairly decent chance that I’m leaving out a love interest and some sort of beautiful Tuscan sunset. Let’s be honest. Everything is more romantic in Italy…
To make this salami you will need a few special ingredients. I’ll list them at the bottom of this post. Other than that you will be practicing standard salami making practices.
- Keep everything super cold at all times.
- Work in a clean and sanitized environment
- Mix your meat, seasonings, and starter culture till it’s tacky
- Tightly stuff into a casing, prick out the air pockets, and brush with Mold
- Let it dry in a drying chamber.
The ferment and drying step is where most people get a little nervous. It’s not as crazy as it seems. Let me explain.
In order to ferment your salami you need 4 things. Bacteria, food for the bacteria, the right temperature, and the right humidity. If you follow my recipe below you will have all of those things in order.
The starter culture is the bacteria. This provides lots lactic acid producing bacteria that your salami meat needs to properly ferment. Secondly, you will need food. Bacteria like to eat sugar. The simpler the better. In this case we will be adding dextrose which will be the food for the bacteria. Next, it’s time to ferment. This particular starter culture like to ferment between 75F and 85F with a high humidity (80% – 90%). This means you can literally place your salami anywhere as long as you can recreate these conditions.
In todays video I just place the salami on a tray and slid it in the oven (the oven was off). I also added a tray of warm water in the oven to create that humid environment. Viola!! That’s how you ferment a salami. Now all you do is wait. This salami ferments very fast, usually 18-24 hours. If you have a pH meter this would be a good time to check the pH of your salami. You are aiming for a pH of 4.9 – 5.2. This is considered the safe zone!! As soon as you hit that target you can proceed to the final stage of making salami and that’s drying.
Drying your salami is a little more specific. You will want to be able to control the temperature and humidity a little more precisely. Check out my post on how to build a drying chamber for more information but the bottom line is that you will want the temperature of the chamber or room to be 55F and you will want the humidity to be 80%
Once you’ve placed the salami in your drying chamber the waiting begins. You will wait until the salami has lost 35% – 40% of it’s weight. Once that happens it’s time to thinly slice and enjoy!!
Let me know if you have any questions about this process. Have fun.
Here are a few things that will come in handy when making this recipe
- Flavor of Italy
- Mold 600
- Fennel Pollen
- Iodophor Sanitizer
- Digital Smokers (I use the model 4D WiFi)
- Bella’s Cold Smoke Generator
- MK4 Thermapen (Accurate Thermometer)
- Sausage Pricker
- Dry Curing Cabinet
- Kotai Chef Knife (for 15% off use discount code – 2guys )
- Sausage Stuffers
- Meat Grinder
- Meat Mixers
- Stuffing Horn Cleaner
- Butcher Twine & Dispenser
- Small accurate Scale for spices
- Large Capacity Scale (33 pounds)
- Drying rack and tray
- Custom Cutting Board
- Apera pH Meter with Bluetooth
- InkBird Controllers temp & Humidity
- Dehumidifier Eva Dry 1100
- Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier
- Heavy Duty Kitchen Vacuum Sealer
If you want to see the different things that we use in operation our be sure to check out our new Amazon Store.
Tuscan Finocchiona Salami
- 1400 g lean pork
- 600 g pork back fat
- 50 g kosher salt 2.5%
- 5 g Insta Cure #2 .25%
- 4 g dextrose .2%
- 7.4 g Black Pepper .37%
- 11 g Minced Garlic .55%
- 7.4 g Fennel Seeds (toasted) .37%
- 6.6 g Fennel Pollen .33% (ground fennel if you cant get fennel pollen)
- 4 g turbinado sugar .2%
- 20 g Non Fat Dry Milk Powder 1%
- ice cold Sambuca 1 tbsp for every kilo of meat
- Flavor of Italy 1/2 tsp mixed with 1/4 cup of distilled water for every 2 kilos of meat
- Mold 600 1/2 tsp mixed with 1/2 cup of distilled water
- Mix mold culture in distilled water and let rehydrate at least 4 hours
- Mix starter culture in distilled water and let rehydrate for 30 minutes
- Grind chilled meat and fat on a 10mm plate. Mix rehydrated culture as well as the rest of the ingredients till meat is tacky. Stuff into 60mm casings. Prick with a sausage pricker, brush with mold 600, and record your salami weight.
- Ferment for 24 hours at 75F-85F in 80%-90% humidity until the pH of the sausage reads between 4.9-5.2. After you reach your target pH, place the salami in a drying chamber chamber. The conditions need to be 55F and 80% humidity until desired weight is reached. I target 35% – 40% weight loss.
- I ferment my salami in my oven (it is off) with a tray of water in there as well. This creates the perfect environment for this salami to ferment. If you plan on using a different starter culture you will have different parameters
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