How to Make Tuscan Finocchiona Salami

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.

  1. Keep everything super cold at all times.
  2. Work in a clean and sanitized environment
  3. Mix your meat, seasonings, and starter culture till it’s tacky
  4. Tightly stuff into a casing, prick out the air pockets, and brush with Mold
  5. Ferment
  6. 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

If you want to see the different things that we use in operation our be sure to check out our new Amazon Store.

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4.8 from 5 votes

Tuscan Finocchiona Salami

A fragrant salami that is utterly delicious
Prep Time4 hrs
Fermenting & Drying61 d
Total Time61 d 4 hrs
How much do you want to make? 2000 grams

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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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13 thoughts on “How to Make Tuscan Finocchiona Salami

  1. Dan Covrig
    Dan Covrig

    I am brand new to makeing salame. I watched your video on makeing Tuscan finocchiona salami. Im going to try this. Cant wait to try. My question is, this is a one stick recipe, Will all these ingredient weights work on other single sticks of salamies. I dont want to make to much at one time.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I think I understand your question and truthfully that’s a hard question to answer. The salt can remain the same, the cure can remain the same, the dextrose and the starter culture can remain the same. Everything else is taste specific. You can add more or less garlic, fennel, paprika, things like that…

  2. Andrew Steadman
    Andrew Steadman

    Hi Eric, I cannot get “taste of Italy” culture in Australia – can I exchange it with T-spx starter culture? If I can and do, will the dextrose and raw sugar % remain the same

    1. Eric
      Eric

      TSPx will be a great substitute. I would keep the sugars the same, just watch the ph. Also TSPX can ferment at slightly lower temps (18c-29c) and you don’t want the pH to drop below 5.0

      1. Andrew Steadman
        Andrew Steadman

        Thanks Eric

  3. Tom Hoddenbagh
    Tom Hoddenbagh

    Hey Eric!

    If I don’t have Sambuca can I use rum or vodka? I know the sugar content might be different on those…

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Sure. The only reason I used sambuca was to bring a little extra “fennel” flavor but rum or vodka would work or you could omit it and it will still be amazing

  4. Carlucci
    Carlucci

    Hi Eric, I’ve looked at few at your recipes and just noticed that Fermenting and drying total time is 61 d, and 4 hours. Is that Days? Just curious, Also I’m going to give this one a try with the Umai kit I ordered.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Yes. The fermenting time is usually a few days (if you are using the umai kit then they will include a culture called TSPX. That usually takes 48-72 hours. Then if you are using a 61mm casing that will take about 7-8 weeks to be ready

  5. Nicolas
    Nicolas

    Hi Eric!

    Thank you very much for your website and youtube videos!

    I’ll be doing my first salami this weekend using this recipe!

    I got all the ingredients except turbinado sugar. I was wondering what is this sugar used for? I understand from your video on starter culture that dextrose is the best food for the bacterias…
    Can I substitute turbinado sugar for regular table sugar?

    My other question is what is the use of dry milk? You don’t seem to mention it in your video…

    Thanks a lot!!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I like turbinado because it’s whats readily available where I live but regual sugar will work just fine. The powder milk is an optional ingredient that will help with the binding properties. You can omit that ingredient if you want..

  6. Stephen
    Stephen

    5 stars
    I just finished putting this into my fermenter and excited with fingers crossed. One question on pH. I put the chubs into my oven at 4:30 yesterday and this morning at 9:00am the pH measured 4.88. I did a recalibration with fresh solution to make sure. Everything smells good, the sample was nice and firm and the color was a nice pink. What is the impact of the pH being lower than 4.92. (Now, this could be that the Flavor of Italy has a manufacturing date of 06.01.2022. [yes, really] perhaps because bacteria are from the future it fermented faster??)

    More acidic I would think means “safer”, but any other aspects I should be on the look out for?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      The impact of ph on a salami is generally flavor. The lower the ph, the more acidic (tangy) the salami will taste. Interesting date on the starter culture. I knpow that some countries label their manufacturing like this day, month, year. That’s how it’s done where I live. Maybe that’s the case..

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