MICROBIOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY OF THE PEPPERONI PROCESS

Authors


  • Reference to a brand or firm name does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture over others of a similar nature not mentioned.

  • We thank John Pensabene for the nitrosamine analyses.

ABSTRACT

A pilot plant process was developed for the production of pepperoni as a fully dry, fermented sausage. The process included: (a) aging in which salted (3% NaCl) meat was held for 10 days at 5°C to encourage the growth of micrococci and lactobacilli; (b) fermentation at 35°C and 85% relative humidity (RH) during which the lactobacilli fermented the sugar and lowered the pH, and the micrococci reduced nitrate to nitrite; and (c) drying at 12°C and 65% RH to about 50% of starting weight. Chemical analyses of the commercial pepperoni yielded the following data: (1) pH ranged from 6.1–4.7: (2) moisture. from 17.0–30.9%: (3) fat, from 38.1–5–2.5%; (4) water activities ranged from 0.87–0.80; and (5) all had moisture/protein (M/P) ratios < 1.6/1.0, the maximum recommended for pepperoni. The microflora of commercial samples varied, both in bacterial count and type. Pilot plant products had lower moisture and fat contents than commercial products, pH values of 4.7–4.9, and viable microflora almost exclusively lactobacilli. The M/P ratios of the pilot plant products were also < 1.6/1.0.

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