How is smoked salmon made
Smoked salmon, has always been a classic in Germany
Smoked salmon has always been a classic. Not only here in Germany, but all over the world, where there was and is naturally salmon, these were caught and made durable for a certain time by smoking and thus also enhanced in taste.
Germany used to be a salmon country and today it is on the best way back if the salmon are allowed to enter the rivers. Who does not know the stories of the large salmon from the Rhine and its tributaries, which our ancestors caught in large numbers at that time. There are even stories in which servants and servants refused to eat salmon more than once a week. These stories are probably not true, but they do indicate that salmon used to be - at least for a time - a mass commodity.
Smoking = making it durable?
Just as old as the history of salmon fishing is the method of smoking salmon, which was carried out in different ways and with different ingredients (smoke-producing woods). We basically differentiate between cold smoking and hot smoking. In the first method, the fish is salt-cooked (like with gravlax ..) and then changed in taste under "cold" smoke. With hot smoking, on the other hand, a cooking process takes place through heating and the salmon changes its consistency completely and is basically similar to a roasted salmon - but with a strong smoky taste.
It is said again and again that smoking has a preservative effect on salmon, but this is only true to a very limited extent.
With cold smoking, the fish is already pretreated in such a way that it can actually be eaten before smoking. The salmon is subjected to so-called "salt cooking" by rubbing it with salt, which removes a large part of the water from the fish and binds water. The same principle is used here as with gravlax, except that only salt and very little sugar is used with smoked salmon, whereas with gravlax one tries to flavor it by adding other spices and ingredients (sugar, pepper, dill. .etc ..). With smoked salmon, the flavor is mainly enriched by the smoke, which, depending on the wood used, can give the fish a special note. You can also mix different woods, such as beech and alder, beech and birch with some juniper wood, etc., whereby the woods should be very well seasoned and dry.
The "cold" smoke creates a on the surface of the product slightly conserving Works by killing bacteria. However, this effect does not last very long, so that the smoke can only be ascribed a short-term preservative effect. Cold smoking always takes place at smoking temperatures below + 20 ° C, because an additional cooking process should be avoided in order not to change the consistency of the fish. Smoked salmon should have a consistency similar to that of gravlax, i.e. a glassy fillet structure that is similar to the raw state.
The smoking temperature plays an important role in cold smoking and I will go into more detail about this in the cold smoking guide.
It is completely different with hot smoking. Here the fish is cooked over a fireplace in the hot smoke of the fire and temperatures of approx. 80 ° C to a maximum of 100 ° C are reached. The fish is cooked this way and the smoke has no long-term preservative effect in this case either. However, the hot smoke has a clear influence on the taste, which is best shown to advantage when the fish has cooled down and for about two days
has rested cool.
Before hot smoking, the fish is mildly salted and possibly sprinkled with spices, such as pepper, to create additional flavor. Unlike cold-smoked salmon, this method significantly reduces the shelf life (similar to all cooked dishes such as a roast ...) and the salmon should always be well chilled and eaten within 7-10 days.
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