The Science Bit
Salt & Time
Whilst we are incredibly proud of the products we make at Tempus, we also know that every day is a school day and even after 5 years, we are always learning. Charcuterie production is more akin to science than cooking, so if you’re looking to make something special, and just as importantly, consistent, then there are numerous factors that need to be considered. The following are some of the key ones:
1. Choice of protein
The selection of carcass is key to delivering charcuterie excellence. Much fanfare is made about breed and whilst it undoubtedly plays a role in the quality of the charcuterie, it is by no means the only factor to consider.
This is the process by which curing agents are added to raw meat which are absorbed into the meat thereby preserving it for long periods.As the salts are absorbed water is lost which
aids this preservation process.The more salt you add the dryer the meat will get but also the saltier it will get which can result in it becoming unpalatably salty – inedible in fact!
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. as this inhibits the growth of undesirable pathogens within the product.
What is the white stuff on your charcuterie? The answer is actually a number of different organisms, predominantly moulds but also yeasts and good bacteria. Primarily the importance of this biological layer is that it helps to moderate drying by slowing the escape of moisture from the product, which reduces the risk of uneven drying and spoilage.
5. Controlled drying
This is probably the hardest aspect of the charcutiers role. Aging rooms are fickle things and can be affected significantly by a host of environmental factors such as temperature, airflow and humidity.