What Is Fermento?- Everything You Need to Know

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Fermento is one of the most-used ingredients in fermenting semi-dry summer sausages. It accelerates the growth of the starter culture and acidifies the sausage safely and quickly. 

However, things will sound confusing to you if you don’t know ‘What is fermento?’.

In the simplest words, fermento is the starter of the fermentation process of semi-dry sausages. It is a dairy-based product that gives a unique, tangy taste to semi-dry meat products. It’s also called ‘sausage maker’ for its role in curing, preserving, and flavoring sausages.

Now, let’s get to know the detailed information about fermento and related stuff.

What Is Fermento? Why Is It Used for?

what is fermento

Fermento is a dairy-based fermentation starter to prepare semi-dry cured products like sausage.

You might ask, what is fermento made of?

The two key ingredients of Feremento are skim milk and cultured whey protein. Other general ingredients include sugar, ascorbic acid, dextrose, sodium erythorbate, and glucose solids.

If you ask, what do fermented sausages have? Well, they contain-

  • Meat
  • Fat
  • A mix of salt, spices, sugar, and nitrate,
  • Bacterial cultures.

Getting back to the more fundamental points, how does fermento work? What does Fermento do in sausage making?

This ingredient helps grow beneficial bacteria that are crucial for fermentation. Similarly, it minimizes the growth of harmful bacteria as well. Starter cultures like fermento are used in smoking and drying sausages because they work immediately.

So, you can start the drying and smoking process right after placing fermento in the mixture.

A general sausage-making process takes a minimum of 3 months to complete. But Fermetno can lessen the duration and fasten the process.

There are 2 types of fermented sausages:

  • Dry-cured sausage
  • Semi-dry sausage.

So, what makes the two types different?

‘The moisture level that they retain’ is the answer. The main ingredient of semi-dry sausages is beef, whereas pork is usually used to make dry-cured sausages.

Fermento, the popular starter culture, can produce beneficial bacteria and lactic acid essential for fermentation. Good bacteria also influence the meat’s color, smell, and taste.

Benefits of Fermento

Benefits of Fermento

We may have fanboyed a lot about fermento. This time, we’re going to compile the key benefits one can get from the ingredient.

  • It immediately starts the starter culture process so the overall fermentation process becomes quicker. Moreover, it provides a tangy smell that indicates the beginning of the drying and smoking process.
  • It produces bacteria that enhance the meat’s taste and improve the color. Also, lactic acid produced by fermento makes your food safer to consume.
  • Fermento cuts a lot of time from the curing time. It reduces the time to a few days from 3 long months.
  • It removes harmful bacteria from the food and prevents your body from infection.

After all the sweet words, what do you think about the drawbacks of fermento? Are there even any drawbacks to the ingredients?

Not particularly. But fermento can be difficult to obtain sometimes, which isn’t a compelling reason to state a negative comment against something. The benefits can outweigh such factors.

Is There Any Substitute for Fermento?

I’ve seen people saying, ‘What can I substitute for Fermento?

Don’t worry if fermentation isn’t an option for you. These are the most common alternatives to fermento you can try any time-

Citric acidChoose it to get a tangy flavor.
Buttermilk powderUse it to replace the dairy supplements of fermento.
Prague powder number 1It’s also used to get the tangy flavor.
Dextrose monohydrateIf you want to avoid sugar, this is a healthier substitute.

So, long story short, if you want a tangy flavor, go for citric acid or Prague powder number 1. To get a healthier sugar substitute, use dextrose monohydrate. And, if you want an alternative to the dairy supplements of fermento, consider using buttermilk powder.

1. Citric Acid

It’s a famous ingredient for adding acidic flavor. It’s found in oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes, and other citrus fruits. It’s one of the most nutritious supplements you can use as food additives.

2. Butter Milk

Buttermilk powder is another great alternative to fermento. We’ve mentioned that fermento is based on dairy ingredients, and buttermilk is basically made of milk. You can use both the solid and liquid forms of buttermilk in curing and fermenting sausages.

3. Prague Powder

Prague powder number 1 consists of 93.75% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrate. It’s also called Insta Cure 1, and people love this ingredient to make smoked sausages, fish, pastrami, bacon, jerky, ham, etc.

5. Dextrose Monohydrate

The finally-mentioned ingredient, dextrose monohydrate, is made from corn. It provides a sweet flavor that is suitable for several meat preparations. In simpler words, it’s a healthier substitute for sugar, and its sweetness is not so stronger as sugar.

Sausages That Are Fermento Used for

Sausages That Are Fermento Used for

Fermento is mostly used for preparing summer sausages. In case, you’re not sure what summer sausage does mean- any kind of sausage that you don’t have to store in the fridge until you open the package is called summer sausage.

Summer sausages last longer because they come with lower pH levels. How to know if it’s a summer sausage? Well, they are generally made of-

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Vension

These sausages have a fantastic tangy flavour. It’s because there’s a combination of ingredients like mustard seeds, garlic salt, sugar, and curing salt. And, you can call summer sausages fermented sausages. They are very easy to dry and smoke.

Some mostly-used summer sausages are:

Semi-dry sausages are usually made from beef, and only a portion are smoked. So, you can say that semi-dry sausage is a middle version of fresh and dry sausages.

How Much Fermento Should You Use While Preparing Sausages?

How Much Fermento Should You Use While Preparing Sausages

You’ve known a lot about fermento and its uses to make sausage. But how much fermento isn’t too much? What’s the most acceptable amount of fermento according to the meat you use?

Let’s disclose the facts here.

There’s a rule of thumb; 1 ounce of fermento for every 2 pounds of meat. It means that you should use a 28-gram fermento for 0.9 kg of meat. Although the metric depends on the type of meat, 3% fermento should be used for the amount of meat.

What you need to remember is that you should never use over 6 lbs of fermento per 100 lbs of meat. If we calculate the amounts according to the gram, it’s recommended not to use over 2.73 kg of fermento for 45 kg of meat.

Where Can You Buy Fermento From?

The most available form of fermento comes in between 1 ounce to 50 pounds. You can find this in any market near you. In case, it’s not available at your local grocery shops, online is always there for you.


  • What is Fermento SD?

Fermento SD is one of the most popular sausage makers. It’s used as a tart flavoring agent to dry and cure sausage meat. It replaces the bacterial action by generating a quick pH drop. It’s mostly used to cook summer sausages and salami.

  • Can I freeze summer sausage?

Of course. It’s completely okay to freeze summer sausages. They can last for around 10 months. But before you do it, wrap your summer sausages in a freezer paper. Also, don’t forget to tape the corners to secure the sausage. Labeling the ink with a date will be even greater.

  • Does fermento expire?

After you open a summer sausage, it can be okay in the refrigerator for around 3 months. But after opening the package, the sausage can last for 3 weeks or less. 

  • What is fermentation?

Fermentation is a process where bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms turn carbs (e.g sugar, starch, etc) into acid or alcohol. Hence, acid or alcohol is natural preservation that gives the fermented food a tartness


What is fermento? If you are a new sausage maker, this question can come to your mind.

Fermento is a dairy-based starter culture you use while preparing dry cured meat. It makes the whole fermentation process faster and easier. And, since it originates from dairy products, it’s safe and healthy to consume. Cheers to the nutrition facts of fermento!

However, if fermento is beyond your reach or unavailable, you can use fermento substitutes like buttermilk powder, Prague powder, etc.
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