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How to make Seitan

Without further ado, I think it behooves me to post the simplest, easiest recipe for seitan.

Here’s all you really need to know:

Mix wheat gluten with equal parts water, kneed for 10 minutes, boil for an hour. Voila, Seitan.

Let me expand on that a bit, though.

  • 1 cup wheat gluten
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of savory (You can subsitute your own spices, or go without, if you don’t see the need)
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (Also optional)
  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth (to make the dough)
  • 5-7 additional cups of vegetable both (or water) to boil the Seitan in. You could make a stew instead, if you like.

1. Mix the wheat gluten and the spices while dry. If you dump them in with the water, they won’t mix thoroughly.

2. Add a cup of vegetable broth or water.

3. Kneed for 10 minutes or so. This is going to be harder than kneeding bread. Insufficient kneeding results in subpar Seitan.

If you have a bread machine or standalone mixer, I strongly recomend using it. If you are going to be doing this often (we make Seitan about once a week), I would recomend obtaining one. It doesn’t have to be fancy (or even fully functioning – after all, you are just going to be using it to kneed the dough.

4. Bring the rest of the water or vegetable broth to a boil.

5. Break the seitan into small chunks. Keep in mind it’s going to triple or quadruple in size once it absorbs the water. We usually dice it up with a knife before pulling it apart – it’s easier that way.

6. Plop the seitan chunks into the boiling pot. Let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

You’ll want to watch the pot. As the Seitan expands, it will also start to float, which can result in the top being popped off.

Then end result, if you flavour with basil and savory, tastes just like fake turkey slices, though the texture is much softer and gooier: good in it’s own way. To make firmer seitan requires a few other tricks, we will divulge shortly.

There you have it. You can find wheat gluten in any store, though it’s usually sold in small, not very cost-effective bags, which are certainly fine for a first attempt. However, as I posted before, we’ve graduated to 50lbs bags we purchased online, and the finished seitan costs about 75 cents a pound, which I believe is about as cheap as protein can get, not to mention delicious protein.. Wheat gluten also keeps forever as long as it remains dry: I had some that was kept cool and dry for over 5 years, a few months ago: it was indistinguishable from the fresh bag we just bought.