The science bit
The science bit
Tempus. It’s about time.
We have a specific pH level in mind for each of our salamis that are more exact than the legal parameters as we are finding the optimal level in terms of what happens to the flavour within that range.
Fermentation is a fundamental part of the salami making process at Tempus and is what is technically defined as one of the ‘CCPs’ (Critical Control Point). This means that in order for our salami to move onto the drying phase of the process, we need to legally achieve a pH of below 5.3 as this inhibits the growth of undesirable pathogens within the product.
We achieve this by using a starter culture (in the same way as in cheese making) and adding dextrose to the mix. As the bacteria from the starter culture ‘feed’ on the dextrose and multiply they create lactic acid which lowers the pH as a waste product, creating an inhospitable environment and also eradicating any undesirable bacteria that may be present.
A pH Range of 4.8 - 5.3 is the optimum for both the release of water from, and the 'gelling' of, the proteins which are the two factors that have the biggest effect on texture formation. By fermenting at the temperature range of 26c to 28c with a target of 4.9 pH, we can ensure we sit within the optimum pH range during the early stages of the drying process, which yields a better texture and negates the need for binding agents such as milk powder commonly found in commercial salami. If you look at a packet of salami produced on a large scale, chances are that it will have milk powder which isn’t bad per-se but is if you are lactose intolerant!
Where the fermentation is as much about art as it is about science is when it comes to its valuable contribution to the flavour profile. That slight lactic tang in salami is from exactly this (unless the producer has omitted the fermentation phase altogether and has used an acidulating agent for this – ascorbic or citric acid for instance). We have a specific pH level in mind for each of our salamis that are more exact than the legal parameters as we are finding the optimal level in terms of what happens to the flavour within that range.