SmartCasings are a small revolution in sausage-making. A liquid alginate layer is applied to the sausage mass and then hardened into a firm structure in a calcium bath. The result is a strong and edible casing that gives sausages a crisp bite. This casing is and will remain available in unlimited quantity, and also offers processing advantages. “The stabilising system is based on a complex mix of highly reactive hydrocolloids and starch. Synergistic effects upon exposure to a calcium chloride solution lead to the formation of a casing with good elasticity and tensile strength,” explains Hydrosol Product Manager Florian Bark.
Stabilisation and 'packaging' from a single source
SmartCasings are suitable for fresh bratwurst, raw sausage and scalded sausage. They are highly tear-resistant, and with raw sausages in particular they give a pleasantly soft bite. The technology can also be made to work very well for scalded sausages, as Florian Bark reports: “Scalded sausages are a special challenge, as they are exposed to damp heat both during manufacture and later during preparation. So the casing needs to be not just tear-resistant, but also adhere to the sausage mass after cooking. To make sure it does, the sausages are cooked not by hanging in steam, but instead in a water bath using a special technique.”
For best results, the casing and sausage mass should be well adapted to each other. This is true for all product categories, but especially for scalded sausage. “Here, our long experience in stabilising sausages is a great benefit, as in addition to the casing we can always offer the right stabilisation for the sausage mass. We take into account the specific phosphate content, salt content and viscosity of the mass. Thus, we offer the entire package for sausage-making, inside and out.”
Advantages of alginate casing
SmartCasings offer many advantages over conventional sausage casings. They permit a continuous manufacturing process, which results in low production costs. With SmartCasings there is no wastage or rework from intestine changes. Alginate cases also enable higher hourly throughput than is possible with conventional filling technology. The highly automated production technique requires less manual intervention and so has lower personnel costs. Furthermore, unlike cellulose casings there is no peeling step. There are also savings in material costs, as alginate casings are substantially more economical than natural intestine, collagen and cellulose casings.
Hydrosol SmartCasings also have another advantage – they are supplied as a powder. This gives them a much longer shelf life than finished pastes, rendering preservatives superfluous. Transportation and storage costs are also much lower with powder than with pastes. The SmartCasing powder can be made into a paste at any time. Hydrosol currently offers two powder versions, SmartCasing M as the standard version with animal protein and SmartCasing VR for vegetarian and vegan sausages. Hydrosol SmartCasings are available in halal and kosher versions.
Hydrosol GmbH & Co. KG headquartered in Ahrensburg near Hamburg, Germany, is a fast-growing international supplier of food stabilisers, with subsidiaries around the world. Its specialists develop and produce tailor-made stabiliser systems for dairy products, ice cream and desserts, delicatessen and ready meals, as well as meat, sausage and fish products.