Seitan is wheat gluten turned into a solid chunk of stuff, a meat substitute, some say, but not really. It is delicious sliced thin and fried crispy, then added to a stir-fry. I've also had it as chewy chunks in a tomato sauce, which adds some texture and protein. My main gripe is that it's too expensive when purchased at the store, so I decided to make it on my own. I had some wheat gluten sitting around that was nearing expiration, so the timing was right.

If you don't have wheat gluten sitting around your pantry (and why not? Gluten is very useful stuff. You can add a spoonful to bread dough to give it amazing texture. You can use it as a "thickener," too, but that word makes me feel unwell when applied to food), you can buy it at gourmet grocery stores, specialty baking stores, or natural food markets. Here in the Bay Area, you can buy it at almost any Albertson's or Safeway.

Traditional seitan is made in a miso (fermented soy paste) broth, but we didn't have any miso around the house, so I made it in a vegetable broth.

The dough is very gummy and sticky, but doesn't seem to stick as tenaciously as bread dough or cookie dough. It's so gummy that when you pull on it, it stretches and snaps up, so although every piece of dough stuck to the counter, they all came up cleanly.

The recipe is quite simple:


1 cup wheat gluten
3/4 cup water
8-10 cups broth

Knead gluten and water together until they form a spongy dough. Knead the dough a bit. Slice it up in small slices, then simmer it for an hour in the broth. Finished seitan can be used immediately, or frozen for later use.

Note that you really want to slice the dough up thin, because it swells something amazing in the broth. It ended up about five times the size of the original bits of dough. Lesson learned.

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This page contains a single entry by Ayse published on June 10, 1904 8:54 PM.

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