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Homemade Leberkäse

A few weeks ago I have begun to indulge in sausage making. My machinery has been limited to an aged Bosch MUM 5 food processor and a Braun Multiquick 5 immersion blender with various gadgets. Unfortunately I could only make sausage from coarsely ground meat with these two machines. To make the many kinds of sausage with a fine texture you need a rotary meat cutter with sharp blades or at least a more powerful food processor.

Unfortunately there are no rotary blades for the Braun. The immersion blender does have a bowl with a rotary blade but it is too weak for the task.

DSC_0903I don’t recall exactly how and where, but I came across the information that supposedly a food processor named Magimix was able to act as a decent meat chopper for sausage making.

At the ever popular online auction house in the Bay Area there was a near-new specimen of the Magimix 5100 up for sale, and I could not resist. It only has a pot with knives and blades for chopping and mixing and no gadgets like a meat grinder as my Bosch MUM 5, but for these tasks the Magimix appears to be superior. Magimix is almost unkown in Gemrany. It comes from France and is also quite popular in the UK. The 5100 is the predecessor of the current 5200 which is somewhat more powerful (1100 instead of 950 W) and supposedly more ergonomic.

A few days ago the machine arrived, and understandably my fingers began to itch. As a first task for the Magimix I decided on leberkäse because you don’t need sausage casings for this.

I used:

  • DSC_0902500 g lean pork
  • 180 g pork back fat
  • 150 g finely crushed ice
  • 18 g 0.5% nitrite curing salt
  • 3 g “meat cutting aid with reddening” (essentially phosphate and ascorbic acid)
  • Black pepper, ground allspice and mace to taste

The rotary blade was serrated which made me sceptical about the increased frictional heat during the cutting process. The purpose of the high speed rotary cutting is to create a stable emulsion of the fat and the water from the destroyed cells and the ice which is added for cooling purposes. This emulsion is only possible at temperatures below around 15°C, so it is of utmost importance to keep everything as cold as possible.

DSC_0906The meat and the fat were ground with the 4.5 mm disc of the meat grinder and then put into the freezer for cooling.

In the mean time I crushed ice cubes with the machine which did not work perfectly, for one because I only had giant 3 cm cubes at hand, but possibly also because I did not insert the knife properly into the bowl.

The cutting went along very promising at the beginning. After only 2 minutes the meat paste had almost become perfect with the shininess that indicates a successful emulsion. But bit by bit the knife had lifted off through the meat paste to finally lose contact with the axle. During the cutting the temperature of the meat had only increased from 3 to 7 degrees.

DSC_0909I decided to stop the cutting at this point. Reassembling the knife would have required the cleaning of the entire bowl. And the paste was already nearly done anyway, apart from some tiny bits of meat left unchopped.

So off it went into to the oven at 180°C in a mould.

Only afterwards I realized what mistake I made. There is also a spacer which is supposed to go on top of the knife so the lid can press it down during cutting. The manual was not very clear about this.

After 50 minutes the required internal temperature of 70 degrees was reached and the leberkäse was ready.

The texture was flawless, just a little bit low on the salt. Even though it was improvised and not modeled after an existing recipe the seasoning turned out to taste quite good.

In spite of the small problems encountered this experiment proved that the Magimix is indeed a decent replacement for a proper meat cutter, even though it only has a serrated blade. The 5100 is supposed to work with 1.4 kg of meat which is about twice the amount I used here. Needless to say I will check this out in a future sausagification.

DSC_0913_s

ps: One final note about leberkäse or fleischkäse: Only in the part of Bavaria without Franconia leberkäse does not have to use liver. The “leber” probably derives from “Laib” (loaf) and not from liver. In all other regions of Germany this product is called fleischkäse. Leberkäse made there must include liver. But both kinds have nothing to do with cheese at all.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tina 18th February 2015, 8:11 pm

    Since we have only curing salt #1and #2, and I personally have only #1 at home, how much do I take of that and do I fill the rest up with regular salt then? What’s the way to figure that out.

    • oliver 18th February 2015, 8:16 pm

      German curing salt has 0.5% nitrite. You need to bring this in relation to the nitrite concentration of your cure which I don’t know. Alternatively you can use the same amount of salt and cure as in a recipe for wieners because it is essentially the same process.

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