The Art of Making Fermented Sausages

Fermentools’ main objective is to see you succeed in your fermenting endeavors. That is why we regularly review the best books on the topic. The Art of Making Fermented Sausages by Stanley and Adam Marianski is just such a book. Continue reading for Ashley’s insights into this wonderful fermenting resource.

Fermented is not a word one generally associates with meat, but that’s only because we’ve become divorced from the production process of some of our very favorite foods.  Perhaps you never realized that salami, pepperoni, prosciutto and just about every other “cured” meat is actually a lacto-fermented delicacy that you could make right in your own home.

The Art of Making Fermented Sausages by Stanley and Adam Marianski not only takes you through the step by step process of producing safe and delicious fermented meats at home, it also goes through an in-depth discussion of how fermentation works so that you’re able to thoroughly understand the science at play and troubleshoot should it become necessary.

An excerpt from the back cover neatly sums up what you can expect from the book:

“You’ll discover how easy it is to: Control meat acidity and removal of moisture, Choose proper temperatures for fermenting, smoking and drying, Understand and Control the Fermentation Process, Choose starter cultures and make traditional or fast fermented products, Choose proper equipment, and much more…”

This book is far more than a recipe book. Within its 275 pages, only 65 pages are devoted to recipes for various fermented meats, including: chorizo, mortadella, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage and 50+ others that are less well known in the west.

The book begins with 170 pages of background information to help you understand the fermentation process, get to know the bacteria at play, and introduce you to new concepts such as controlling “water activity” or the availability of “free water” to be used by bacteria within your ferments.  The authors also take you through more advanced concepts to take your fermented sausage past the beginner stage, and into the world of food artistry.  Discussions of sausage textures and colors help you fine tune your recipes to bring out the very best in meats.

I was most interested to learn that most fermented meat products in America today are fermented through a “fast fermentation” process, to maximize safety at the cost of taste and depth of flavor.  If properly prepared, starter cultures within the meat can produce lactic acid to quickly lower the pH of the sausage and prevent the growth of unwanted and potentially harmful bacteria.  In this process, the concentrations of beneficial bacteria change over time, and at each stage produce flavor nuance.  Modern commercial sausage making skips this step, and adds powdered lactic acid to quickly lower the pH, but prevent the sausage from reaching it’s true potential.

I bet you never guessed that the average pizza pepperoni is actually supposed to have more flavor than paprika and grease?  By fermenting your own meats at home,  with a conscious understanding of how the fermentation process works, you can safely produce exceptional traditional time-tested European-style sausages.  If you’re ready to take the first step into the world of fermented sausages, The Art of Making Fermented Sausages is a great place to start.

For a couple how-to’s on fermenting meat, check out the following posts:


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