Salumi mold?

This is a top round roast. Generally, a somewhat bland, lean, boring piece of beef. I thought it would be a good candidate for bresaola. Bresaola is a delicious salumi. No, I’m not spelling it wrong. It’s not salami. Salami is to hamburger what salumi is to a roast. Whole muscle, cured, spiced, and dried. In the process, I picked up the wrong bacteria and the whole project went south.

Let’s look at what went wrong:


Here it is, cured and trussed. It had been salted in the cold store for about 2 weeks and then soaked in some red wine to remove the excess herbs and salt.

white wine rinse

Here’s the pork entrée, getting a quick rinse in some white wine.  The wine gives the meat a nice flavor and really helps to bring the salt levels down.  I think the alcohol kills a good bit of bacteria, fortifying the meat to go into the curing chamber.


Conditions are perfect.  65 degrees F.  75% humidity.  These will slowly dry in the curing chamber.  Cuts this size should take 7-10 weeks to lose 30% of their initial weight to water loss.  After a couple of days, I mixed up a solution of Bactoferm™ FRM52 and gave the meat a good spritz.


Here they are three days after culturing.



Failure!!  These both need to go in the bin!  You can see the overgrowth of blue mold, speckled with brown and black.  This is dangerously contaminated!

Once I evacuate the meat from the curing chamber, I will use a 20% solution of Clorox Bleach to swab the curing box down and then expose the whole thing to direct sunlight for a week to decontaminate and aerate.

Yes, this was an expensive failure (cost of the meat).  But, overall, I think we learned a lot and this will never happen again.

The solution is in the comments below.


About John MacDowall

I was born in Poughkeepsie, NY. We moved to a farm during middle school where I learned about raising animals and growing food. Now, I live in the affluent suburbs of Washington, DC and wonder why people eat the way they do.


  1. I thought Bactofirm 600 was for good mold on the outside? Bactoferm™ F-RM-52 is for making sausage.

  2. hmmm…… I think we found the problem. I need to go back and check my notes. Did I use the wrong mold culture???

  3. So, what ended up happening to this batch? Did it recover from this mold infestation or did you chuck it?

  4. Peter Sheppard

    The mould looks good. Wash it and eat. That mould is healthy

  5. Hey man, blue mold is bad, white mold is good, as soon as you see any blue mold wipe it off with a whate vinegar solution and let the white mold dominate!

  6. the singular form of salumi is salume in italian. so your sentence should be: “bresaola is a delicious salumE”.

    love your blog btw.

  7. So what WAS the solution to the problem?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.