All Beef Hot Dogs, not for the faint hearted!

Once again inspired by cheap minced beef at the local supermarket, I was left trying  to find a new sausage to try. All beef hot dogs are very common in the US,  this is my take on this classic, the only issue I had was that my mince didn’t appear to be fatty enough, the normal ratio in commercial products is up to 50% meat to fat, this recipe adds cooking oil to the emulsion to try and recreate the mouth feel of the normal hotdog.

This is not a recipe for the beginner, it is a lot of work, and the risk of failure is great, it requires a close eye on temperature to ensure that the emulsion doesn’t fail. This recipe doesn’t contain any artificial binders or chemicals to assist the formation of the emulsion or to replace it, it is a test of the sausage makers skill to reproduce at home! Good Luck!

800g of minced beef
20g salt
3g cure #1 (pink salt)
280g finely crushed ice
30 mls of light corn syrup
4g dextrose
6g minced garlic
9g mustard powder
6g hungarian paprika
3g coriander seeds, roasted and ground
2g fresh ground white pepper
1 1/2 tsp of liquid smoke (essential for that hot dog flavour) you can leave this out if you want to cold smoke the sausages
100g of chilled cooking oil (placed in fridge)
3 mtrs lamb casing

Mix the salt and cure #1 with the minced beef, mince through a fine disc, place onto a tray and place in the freezer until chilled but not completely frozen.
Mix all the spices and the liquid smoke (if using) with the minced beef, and again grind through a fine disc.
Place the farce into the bowl of a food mixer and using a beater work the forcemeat on high speed for 3 minutes slowly adding the crushed ice. This process will help in producing the protein emulsion which is what will bind the meat, fats, moisture and liquid oil into your sausage.
Slowly dribble the chilled oil into the bowl of the food mixer, the soluble protein in the farce will coat the oil and entrap it as long as the farce is kept cold.
Do a quenelle test on a portion of the farce to check the seasoning.
Place the farce back into the fridge while you are doing the quenelle test and preparing the lamb casing and stuffer.
Stuff the casing and link into 200 mm links. Place the links into the refrigerator overnight for the maturing and to allow the cure #1 to work.
The next morning if you are cold smoking, cold smoke the sausages for 2 hours.
Prepare a large pan of hot water and poach the sausages in water keep between 70 and 80 degrees C, until the internal temperature of the sausage reaches 60 degrees C. 10 minutes should be fine.
Chill the sausages in very cold or preferably iced water, remove and dry.

These next pictures show the emulsion and the bind, unfortunately the emulsion is not perfect as is shown in the first picture, there are air bubbles! I first thought that this was due to rendering out of fat particles, but there was no sign of this in the poaching water which was completely fat free! It must be caused by the beating of the food mixer. I will try beating the mixture at a lower speed next time and see if that helps. The bind is fine, and this was achieved without the assistance of chemicals or additional binders!

As these sausages are already cooked they will keep for about 1 week in the fridge, but will freeze for many months!

Posted in Beef, Charcuterie, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Sausage | Leave a comment

Easy Romanian Kosher Beef Sausage

Made with minced beef on offer in the local supermarket these sausages are economical to make. They have no added fat, or preservatives apart from salt and spices. They contain no fillers or additives.  Cheap, tasty, nutritious, and healthy, what more could you want in a sausage?

1.2 kg of ready minced beef, refrigerated
4 g freshly ground black pepper
19g salt
3g ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground bay leaf
4 cloves freshly ground
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp yellow mustard seed
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup shaved or finely crushed ice
lamb or collagen casings

In large bowl, mix the minced meat with the salt and spices.
Add enough ice to allow you to work the spices in and keep the mixture cold.
Knead well until the mixture is sticky.
Stuff into lamb casings and tie into 5 inch links.
Hang in a cool place for a few hours to dry the casing and mature the flavour.

Sausages will keep for three days in the fridge, or will freeze for two to three months without loosing quality.

Good fried and served in  bread with fried onions and mustard!

Posted in Beef, Charcuterie, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Sausage | Leave a comment

» The Phallacies of Sausage Making

» The Phallacies of Sausage Making The Dish: Culinary Student Blogs.

Posted in Charcuterie, Humour, Sausage | Leave a comment

Perfect Bread Roll for Cheese

600 grams regular bread flour
120ml hot water
300ml cold  milk
1½ teasoons salt
3 teaspoons of granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1 sachet  dried yeast

Mix water, oil and milk together, needs to be warm to the touch.
Place dry ingredients into a bowl.
Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix with a finger until all flour is incorporated.
Mix further, stretching and folding the dough in the bowl for about 5 minutes using your fingertips, this is a really sticky dough! After 5 minutes, the mixture should be less sticky, and can be turned out onto a lightly floured surface, to continue kneading for a further 5 minutes.
Oil the inside of the bowl that the dough was mixed in with about a teaspoon of oil.
Return the dough to the original bowl and leave in a warm place to double in size, once doubled, turn out onto the worktop and knock the gas out of the dough, give it a good thump!
Knead again for about 3 minutes and then divide the dough into 12 equal pieces using a knife.
Fold and roll each individual piece of dough and place onto a baking sheet, or baking paper, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place.
Turn on the oven to 180 degrees C.
Once the oven is warm, and the bread rolls have doubled in size, place them into the oven for about 20 minutes, until they are golden on top and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.

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Basic Australian Beef Snags

1kg chuck steak or 1kg regular beef mince, this recipe needs fatty beef.
35 grams of freshly prepared breadcrumbs
A handful of finely chopped fresh  parsley
50 grams of  shallots or 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
collagen casing about 2 metres

If using cubed beef, ensure that it is chilled to the point of freezing prior to mincing.
Mince through the medium plate on your mixer, add all ingredients, and  work the mixture until it becomes sticky.
Fry a small piece of the farce to check for seasonings, adjust to your taste.
stuff into casings, and chill overnight to allow the flavours to meld.

Some alternative seasonings to try:

  • Wine and Herb beef sausages: Increase breadcrumbs to 60g (1 cup) or rusks to 105g (1 cup). Add 60ml (1/4 cup) dry red wine (like shiraz) and 1 tbs finely chopped fresh rosemary. The alcohol in the wine will evaporated during manufacture and cooking, but will flavour the sausage.
  • Spicy beef sausages: Omit the parsley. Add 2 tsp sweet paprika, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground ginger and 1/2 tsp chilli powder.
Posted in Beef, Charcuterie, Sausage | 1 Comment

Spelt Bread

350 grams of plain white flour
150 grams of wholemeal spelt flour
1 handfull of multi grain known in Noway as “5 korn blanding” a mix of wheat kernels, oat kernels, linseed, sesame seed, and sunflower seed
1 sachet of Instant Yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of white sugar
320 millilitres of lukewarm water

Mix the sugar and the instant yeast into a jug filled with the lukewarn water.
Weigh the white, and spelt flour into a large bowl, add the salt and mix together.
Once the yeast has started to activate and become bubbly, pour it into the middle of the bowl of flour.
Stick one finger into the pool of yeasty water in the flour and start to stir the liquid around, slowly incorporating the flour, keep stirring the mixture until all the flour is incorporated, the mixture will  still be quite sticky.
With your fingers, now start to pull and roll the dough while it is still in the bowl, do not add extra flour, the dough will slowly become less sticky and your fingers will slowly become cleaner.
Once the dough has stopped sticking to your fingers ( there may still be a little stickiness left), turn the dough out onto a worktop and knead it, pulling and stretching for at least 5 minutes until enough gluten has developed in the dough such that if you make a thumbprint in, then it will spring back.
Wipe the inside of your mixing bowl with a little cooking oil and place the dough back into the bowl, cover the bowl, and place into a warm spot, until the dough has doubled in size.
Turn on your oven to 190-200 degC, making sure you have a rack on the middle shelf, and a large roasting tray in the bottom of the oven.
Turn out your dough and knock it down, knocking all the air from it, knead again, stretching and folding the dough for 3 or 4 minutes.
Prepare either a loaf tin or another container for your bread by sprinkling the bottom with flour, shape your dough, and place it into the container, and sprinkle more flour on top. Cover and leave once more until the dough has again doubled in size.
Place your container gently onto the middle rack of your oven, taking care to open the oven door for as short a period of time as possible.
After a couple of minutes, take a small drinking glass of hot water, open the oven door and quickly throw the hot water into the roasting tray in the bottom of the oven, again keep the oven door open for as short a time as possible.
Leave the bread to bake for about 45 minutes, repeating the water thrown into the roasting tray, when the roasting tray is dry.
After 45 minutes, take the bread from the oven and turn it out of the container, knock on the bottom of the bread and if it sounds hollow it is cooked, if it sounds dull, then put it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Once cooked, place the bread onto a cooling rack, until cool (if you can resist the temptation).

The steam will result in a beautifully crusty loaf.

Go on give homemade bread a go!

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Torihamu or Homemade Chicken “Ham”

BY Maki at Just Bento

Torihamu (鶏ハム)or chicken ham is a recipe that was born and made popular on the internet. It was first popularized around 2001 or 2002, on an extremely popular and often wild and woolly Japanese community/forum site called 2ch or 2-channel (2ちゃんねる), sometime in 2001 or 2002.

Torihamu is a method of cooking chicken breast meat so that it supposedly resembles ham. Nowadays torihamu has entered the mainstream of Japanese culture; there are many recipes for it in regular cookbooks, and the (very mainstream) Cookpad community cooking site has 370 recipes for making torihamu or where torihamu is a main feature – and 650 recipes where it’s an ingredient.

I didn’t try making torihamu for a long time, since I was skeptical that it would actually manage to turn low-fat, bland and often dry chicken breast meat into something ham-like. But I’ve been experimenting with different methods proposed on the Japanese internets, and am now convinced that it’s well worthwhile making, especially for bento lovers. It is low in fat, has no chemical preservatives, and really lengthens the refrigerator shelf life of chicken. There’s not much difference time and effort wise between making one or several, so it’s really best to make a batch and freeze the extras. I make some when there is a sale on chicken breasts.

So, does it really make white chickem meat turn into ham? Well…that depends on your understanding of what ham should be like. I’d say yes, the torihamu does somewhat resemble cold cuts made from chicken or turkey meat.

Recipe and method: Torihamu or homemade chicken “ham”

Note: I’ve given pretty detailed instructions here, so this recipe may seem long, but each step is quite easy and takes only a few minutes. However, the whole process takes 2 days plus cooking and cooling time. I’ve given a suggested schedule below for making this so you have a decent supply for the upcoming week if you wish.

This assumes that you are using boneless, skinned chicken breasts that weigh around 250g or about half a pound each. Adjust the quantities a bit for larger or smaller chicken breasts.

For each 250g or half-pound (8 ounce) boneless, whole skinned chicken breast use:

  • 1 tbs. honey – the clear or more solid type, it doesn’t matter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Dried herbs of your choice

Supplies needed:

  • Microwave-safe plastic cling film
  • Ziplock bags or vacuum sealing bags
  • Optional: kitchen twine.

Step One: Prepping and marinating the chicken

Trim off any fat or sinews on the chicken breasts. You may want to cut them in half if they are much bigger than half a pound each.

In a sturdy ziplock bag or vacuum sealing bag, put in the amount of honey and salt that you need for the amount of chicken breast you’ll be processing. For instance if you have 4 breasts use 4 tablespoons of honey and 6 teaspoons of salt. Squish the bag around a bit to mix the honey and salt. Alternatively, you can assign one chicken breast per bag (do this if you want to experiment with different herb/spice flavors), in which case each bag should have 1 tbs. of honey and 1 1/2 tsp. of salt.

Put the chicken breasts in, one by one, and squish them around in the bag to completely coat them completely with the honey-salt mixture. At this point you can add the black pepper and/or any herbs or spices that you like to the bag with the chicken. I like dried thyme the best. You can try tarragon, crushed red chili peppers, “steak mix” spices, any of Emeril’s best, and so on. For the most versatile and neutral flavor though, stick to just black pepper. Once the herbs and spices are added, squish the chicken in the bag aroun again to coat.

Squeeze out as much air as you can, or suck the air out with your vacuum packing appliance. Seal the bags, and leave the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours or 2 full days. (You can vary this time, as I’ll explain in the Variations below.)

Step Two: De-salinating the chicken

Once they are done marinating, take the chicken breasts out of the ziplock bag or bags, and rinse the chicken well under cold running water. Then, leave the breasts to soak in plenty of cold water, for 1 hour. This soaking process gets rid of excess salt, or de-salinates them, while still leaving enough salt in them so that they are nicely flavored.

From this point, use one of the following cooking methods: 3a, 3b or 3c — not all!

Step 3a: Cooking the chicken: Poaching method

Once the chicken is soaked, it’s time to cook them finally! This is the basic boiling or poaching method that is used in the original torihamu recipes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once it’s come to a boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting you can manage.

In the meantime, wipe the excess moisture off each chicken breast thoroughly with kitchen or paper towels. Lay each breast flat on a piece of microwave-safe plastic wrap/cling film. At this point, you can add some herbs or seasonings if you like. For instance, if you marinated your chicken with some thyme, add a bit more thyme here (though the chicken itself will have a subtle thyme flavor from the marinating, so you can just leave it plain if you like).

Roll the chicken breast up into a tight little roll, and wrap the plastic wrap around it tightly. Seal off the edges by twisting them, like a candy wrapper.

You may want to tie something around the twisted ends for extra security, but this is not totally necessary. To make the chicken really keep a nice round shape, wrap some kitchen twine or string around it.

Put the wrapped and tied up chicken into the hot and barely simmering water. Cook for 5 minutes, then put a tight fitting lid on the pot and turn the heat off. Leave the chicken to poach for at least an hour. Some people recommend leaving the chicken in until the water has cooled down, but I prefer to take it out before that.

Step 3b: Cooking the chicken: Bare naked poached chicken method

Alternatively, you can skip the plastic wrap and just poach the chicken breasts naked. This results in slightly less finely textured torihamu, but you get an added bonus – the cooking liquid can be used later as stock for other dishes. It’s also the most fuss-free method since there’s no tying and wrapping.

Bring a pot of water up to a boil as with Step 3a, with some salt added — about the strength you might use for cooking pasta. You can also add some aromatic vegetables here, such as leek, parsley, fresh ginger, and so on, if you like.

Once the water has come to a boil, lower the heat and put in the chicken breasts. Cook for 5 minutes, then put a tight fitting lid on the pot and turn the heat off. Leave the chicken to poach for at least an hour. Some people recommend leaving the chicken in until the water has cooled down, but I prefer to take it out before that.

Step 3c: Cooking the chicken: Oven method

This is my favorite cooking method, because I think it results in a much finer textured torihamu.

Preheat the oven to 120 °C / 250 °F. Yes, it’s quite a low temperature – you’ll be cooking the chicken slowly, so that it doesn’t get dried out. Line a baking sheet with kitchen cooking parchment or a non-stick baking liner, or lightly oil the sheet.

After washing and soaking the chicken breasts, wipe off any excess moisture with paper towels. You can roll up the chicken breasts and tie them up with kitchen twine to get a nice round shape, or just leave the breasts as-is. Put the breasts on the lined baking sheet.

[Update:] Rebecca from New Zealand sent in her photo of a properly tied-up chicken breast. Thank you Rebecca!! (I confess that I usually just wind the string around and around the breast rather sloppily.)

Bake the chicken breasts for 35 to 40 minutes, until the surface is a very light brown. (The exact and squeamish amongst you may want to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer; it should have reached 73 °C or 165 °F.) Take the chicken out and leave to cool on a plate.

So how does the chicken turn out?

Here is a closeup of poached torihamu, using method 3a. The black specks are black pepper by the way.

The flavor of poached torihamu is subtle but good. Poached torihamu is much improved with a little soy sauce and wasabi (wasabi joyu), or even a bit of sriracha sauce, ketchup, etc. Poached torihamu makes terrific chicken salad.

And here’s how the oven baked torihamu looks, using method 3c.

As you can see, there’s a subtle pink flavor, and the texture of the meat is finer. It really does have the texture of some commercially available chicken cold cuts – but with no additives or mystery ingredients! Baked torihamu is great without any additional sauce and such (it’s a bit saltier I find than the poached kind) and in sandwiches. They are a great bento protein just as-is, and you can also add it to stir fries and such.

The in-a-nutshell version of this recipe

I’ve put in a lot of description here to make everything as clear as possible, but it’s really a dead simple recipe:

  • Season the chicken with salt and honey or sugar, plus herbs and spices of your choice
  • Marinate for 48 hours
  • Wash off surface salt and soak to de-salinate
  • Cook by poaching or baking

Keeping the torihamu

Torihamu will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. This makes it ideal for people watching their weight who rely on chicken breast a lot, students, or – yes you, the bentoist! Torihamu can also be frozen very successfully. Just wrap each one individually, and take out to defrost in the refrigerator some hours before you will need it rather than in the microwave, to preserve the texture.

Some suggested ways to eat torihamu

  • Just slice and eat (or pack into a bento box) as-is!
  • If it is lacking in salt for you, try dipping the slices into a little soy sauce with wasabi or mustard
  • Make a very tasty chicken salad from it
  • The roasted version in particular makes great sandwiches
  • Serve sliced on crackers or on its own as hors d’oeuvres or apero
  • Slice and serve on a bed of greens
  • Cut up and use in stir-fries, fried rice, etc. as you might ham

Suggested schedule for making torihamu so you have a good supply for a week of bentos

  • Buy your chicken breasts on Thursday (or defrost them)
  • Salt and honey or sugar them on Thursday evening
  • Marinate from Thursday evening to Saturday evening or Sunday morning (a few more hours won’t make a big difference)
  • Cook on Sunday
  • Enjoy throughout the week (freeze the excess)


You can marinate the chicken for less or more time, but no less than 5 hours and more than 72 hours or 3 full days. If you only marinate it a short time, you can skip the soaking in water/de-salinating process, but the chicken will not have as full a flavor. If you soak it for a long time, increase the de-salination soaking time to up to 2 hours.

You can use sugar (for every 1 tablepoon of honey suggested in the basic recipe, substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar) – white, brown or whatever you have – instead of the honey. You can try other sweeteners too, but I would suggest staying away from artificial sugar substitutes. And try whatever spices and herbs appeal to you! My favorites are thyme, tarragon, and rosemary, though I think my favorite addition to the salt and honey is just some black pepper.

Posted in Charcuterie, Chicken, Halal | Leave a comment