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Sausage Basics - WATER

Posted By: Joe Ames
Date: Friday, April 13, 2001 at 3:51 p.m.

WATER is an often overlooked ingredient in cooked and smoked sausage formulations. However, added water is extremely important in making a juicy and palatable product.
The legal level of allowable “added water” is 10 percent over the original meat weight measured in the finished product.
For compliance purposes, it is calculated as 4 X protein content +10 percent. That is to say, if a frankfurter contains 12 percent protein, it may not contain more than (12 X 4) +10 percent or 58 percent water as a final analysis.
Depending on thermal processing conditions and product diameters, considerable moisture is lost during the cooking of the product. Sufficient water should be added to the formulation to compensate for the moisture loss during cooking and yet maintain an “added water” level that approaches the 10 percent regulatory limit. Under most circumstances, this means adding 25 percent of the meat b block weight in water (preferably ice or ice water) for small-diameter franks and wieners.
As a rule of thumb, add 20 percent water (based on meat block weight) for medium-diameter products (e.g. ring
bologna) and 15 percent water for large diameter products (e.g. chub bologna). Of course, processing conditions vary from plant to plant, depending on procedures and equipment. Therefore, check your added water level and adjust accordingly. In addition to improved textural and palatability characteristics, maximizing your added water level helps maximize your profits.

From an article by W.J. Costello in "Meat Industry" magazine.

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