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Dry-ageing made easy at home with a German commercial-grade fridge

More than beef, a dry-ageing fridge is good for fish or cheese. Just ask their clients: including Black Marble, Basque Kitchen and various hotel groups.

Now that we’ve showed you where to get premium ingredients – including fine cuts of beef or lamb – we’re going to show you how to treat it right. Enter dry-ageing at home: a precise process that you can’t replicate in any old home fridge. We’ve spoken to Langtech Singapore, local distributors of the Dry Ager, for more.

And even if you’re not particularly crazy about meat, hulking saddles of beef hanging in a stainless steel dry-ageing cabinet makes for an impressive centrepiece that adds cachet to any aspiring gourmand.

Why dry-ageing?

Dry-ageing meat is the process of leaving meats in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment for an extended period of time. This draws out moisture from the meat, intensifying the natural flavour.

At the same time, some of the muscle fibres in the meat will be broken down by pre-existing enzymes. These enzymes, along with other bacteria, develop a distinct nutty and cheese-like aroma that sets dry-aged meat apart with its complex flavours and more tender texture.

Dry-aged steak dry ager

With dry-ageing in the fridge though, the exterior of your beef develops a desiccated crust that needs to be trimmed off. Along with the moisture loss, you lose quite a bit of meat – but it’s more than worth it as dry-aged beef is strikingly unique and a far cry from a typical store-bought steak. It also usually more than doubles in value, so you’d be getting your money’s worth.

(Related: F&B veteran Otto Weibel discusses the issue of veganism)

Why the Dry Ager?

Dry-ageing is a science – any odour you introduce to the thing you’re dry-ageing will stick to it and mar the final product. That includes odours from outside the refrigerator, which is why the Dry Ager uses both an active charcoal filter and ultraviolet sterilisation system to keep any offending odours or bacteria away from your ageing products.

Another plus point is that the refrigerator doesn’t need a water supply to maintain the humidity inside it, which can be controlled anywhere from 60% to 90%.

It’s sleek, metallic design shouldn’t be out of place in most contemporary home interiors – and if necessary, the Dry Ager can be integrated into a wall. Either way, trimming and slicing steaks from a dry-aged prime rib right in front of your guests adds some bragging rights to your abilities as a host.

(Related: Tips, tricks and accessories for a cosy home office environment during the coronavirus period)

Final cuts

Dry-ageing meat is nothing new. It just requires a little more attention to detail and the right equipment before any home chef can pull off stunning steaks in his backyard. Label your meat and don’t forget how long you’ve left it there for: anything above two weeks and up to two months will ensure that your beef isn’t too funky. Consult your butcher for his recommended dry-ageing period for the meat and cut in question. And if do happen to forget about your dry-aged steak in the fridge, you can always get it delivered.

Else, the Dry Ager can also be used to dry-age fish like the folks at Butcher’s Block: 1°C and 90% humidity, for between eight to ten days. Langtech Singapore recommends fattier fishes like salmon and tuna.

Turophiles can cure and store their cheeses as well. While the humidity should be kept constant at 90%, soft cheeses (think brie or Neufchatel) should be cured at 8°C before being stored at 5°C. Hard cheeses like parmesan or gouda should be cured at 6°C before storing at 2°C.

If you’re keen to serve up restaurant-grade food at home, getting a dry-ageing fridge for the home lets you elevate your cooking fuss-free. At the very least, you’d have a pretty interesting ice-breaker handy for your guests while you’re waiting for the roast.

The Dry Ager comes in two sizes for home use with an 80kg and 20kg capacity respectively. Click here for more.