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May 27 / scott.campbell


Today’s post is on path length.  Specifically, how far the water has to go to get out of the sausage.  As I’ve said before, the Tuscan Salami has a diameter of over 3 inches, while the peperone is closer to 2, and the chorizo is about an inch.  I’m still thinking about a better way to sample the sausage for testing water activity (leading candidate: biopsy needle), so I’m measuring the weight change in the sausages instead.  Here’s what 5 days of data look like:

I hope the way I’ve graphed them is useful: instead of graphing weight, I’ve calculated the “target” weight based on the recommendation that sausages should lose 1/3 of their weight before they’re done.  Therefore, I’m just calculating “% done-ness”, and when you get to 100%, the sausage is probably finished curing.  I’ll start taking water activity readings soon, but I thought these data were interesting.  It suggests there is almost a linear relationship between how thick the sausage is, and how quickly it loses water.  The chorizo does indeed look like it’ll be done in the 2 weeks that the book recommends.  I’ll do some extrapolations to see when the peperone and salami are predicted to be done.  As the sausages dry, though, they are likely to stop losing water so quickly.  More next week, including an update on the pancetta, which seems to be firming up nicely in the fridge.

Download The Food Manufacturer’s Complete Guide to Water Activity—>

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