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Posted By: Joe Ames In Response To: Prosciutto (Brandon)
Date: Sunday, February 9, 2003 at 12:25 p.m.
In Response To: Prosciutto (Brandon)
Hope this helps
These dry-cured Italian hams are somewhat similar to Country hams. The long curing and drying process results in about a 35% shrink in weight. The following procedure can be used for manufacturing prosciutti (plural):
Select good-quality fresh hams weighing from 12 to 18 lb. Since prosciutti hams are customarily eaten without being cooked, they must be manufactured from hams that have been certified to be free of trichina. The foot should be cut off below the hock so the shank is left extra long. The aitch bone is removed to allow the ham to be flattened.
The following curing formula will cure approximately 100 lb of green ham:
lb - oz
3.5 - 0 salt
01 - 4 cane sugar
01 - 4 dextrose
00 - 8 allspice
00 - 5 white pepper
00 - 2 black pepper
00 - 2 nutmeg
00 - 0.5 mustard seed
00 - 0.5 coriander
00 - 0.5 sodium nitrate
00 - 0.25 sodium nitrite
The hams are placed on platforms approximately 12 in. off the floor. The platforms should be in a dry cooler at approximately 36 to 38°F. Hams should be rubbed thoroughly with the curing mixture. They are then piled 4 high on the platform with the skin side down, and some of the curing mixture is sprinkled over the top of each layer. The pile is overhauled in 10 days and the hams on top are placed on the bottom. Each ham is re-rubbed with the curing mixture.
The hams are then overhauled a second time in another 12 days. The hams should be left in cure for a total of approximately 45 days.
Hams handled in this manner will come out flat and dry. However, if after the curing period still flatter hams are desired, they can be laid on planks and then planks and additional weight placed on top of them. A ham thickness of about 2 in. is considered desirable for prosciutti hams. Some processors place the hams in pressure molds during the cure to ensure that they reach the desired flatness. After the hams come out of cure, they are soaked in 80 to 90°F water to soften the skin, and scrubbed with a soft-fiber brush so they will not show salt streaks when they come out of the smokehouse. Next, the hams are strung with twine. The twine is not forced through the meat; instead, a double loop is made, the shank encircled, and the knot tied. The hams are then placed in a smokehouse at 130°F and allowed to remain there for 48 hr.
The temperature is raised gradually to 140°F and kept there for about 2 hr. Then the temperature is dropped to 120°F for 8 hr. From 120°F, the temperature is gradually reduced so that when the hams are ready to come out of the smokehouse, the house temperature should be 95 to 105°F.
To ensure firmness, the hams should be hung outside of the smokehouse to cool for approximately 8 hr. Finally, the hams are rubbed on the meat side with a mixture of equal parts of white and black pepper. This should be done carefully to avoid getting any pepper on the skin. The meat side of the hams should look almost black when the rubbing has been completed. The hams are then aged for 30 days at a temperature of 70 to 75°F and a relative humidity of 65 to 75%. Prosciutti hams manufactured in a packinghouse in this manner are very similar to those which have been made for centuries in Italian homes. Italians eat the ham cold but Americans frequently fry or warm it.
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