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The Fermentation Box

In Fermented sausage,Fermented Sausage Equipment on August 11, 2010 by fred

Typical temperatures for fermenting sausages are between 78-90 degrees.  The ideal temperature is whatever is required by the type of starter culture you used to make the sausage because that is what you are trying to grow.  However, nearly all cooking equipment is designed to keep food under 40 degrees or over 140, otherwise it falls within the “danger zone” and bad bacteria are likely to develop.  What do you do when you actually want to encourage bacteriological growth?

I use a Princess International MR-148 Deluxe Digital Mini Fridge Cooler & Warmer.  

This is not the cheapest option by any means, but it is the only option I’ve found that holds the temperature I set it to within a degree.

Pros:

  • Set it and forget it – the temperature is digitally controlled and has a nice display on the front that I can see from a distance.
  • Door seals tight.  Not liquid tight, but tight as any normal refrigerator
  • Heat is evenly distributed using the built-in fan
  • Easy to clean – I just spray it with a bleach solution, wipe it down and let it air dry with the door propped open
  • As long as the back isn’t covered up you can run it in any position you like
  • Standard 120v AC power, or 12v car lighter plug (both included)

Cons:

  • Difficult to hang the sausages without modifying the shelf rails.  By adding two shelf rails at the top you can slide in the included plastic grate shelf in and hang the sausage from it.  Until I do that, I’ve resorted to turning the unit upside down and hanging the grate from the shelf rails the removable catch pan normally slides into.  While unstable, it works if you’re careful.
  • It is much smaller than my drying chamber.  I can fit a 5-pound batch in the fermenter, but the sticks can’t be longer than 12-inches.  I think I could squeeze nearly 10-pounds into it once I make the shelf rail modification above and the grate is stable.

I run it outside since fermenting meat is not the most pleasant smell.  Since the door seals so well I don’t need a pan of water to keep the humidity high — you can see all the moisture collecting inside through the clear plastic window.

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