When I say “done”, I mean it isn’t going to get much “done-er”. As I’ve said before, the soppressata is a cautionary tale about keeping the sausage cold when making it (thanks, Jennifer, for the comment you left with tips on how to do this better). The sausage continues to decline in water activity but isn’t all the way firm. I think this means that because fat has been smeared across the ground pieces of lean meat, it doesn’t matter how dry it gets: it’ll never get as firm as good sausage should be. I think the smeared fat also interfered with the drying process – the landjager started out much wetter than the soppressata, yet it dried down faster and was done sooner. Here’s how the “done” soppressata looks:
You can see the glistening fat in the above cross-section. I’ll post more data on the dry-down process tomorrow. From a taste perspective, I’m happy with everything but the texture. The spice and salt enhance the pork flavor, but it’s not as tangy as the tuscan salami. The loose fat makes for a crumbly, greasy mouth feel, though, so maybe I’ll just start this one again soon and do it right.
In other news, my colleague John is about to start in on the whole cured hams. I’ve been looking forward to these as the sort of grand finale to our first round of products. John will post on his progress next week. Among other characteristics, a sample as large as the whole leg gives us lots of depth, letting us analyze the process of how the salt makes its way into the pork during the curing process. Should be interesting.