Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seitan - the wheat meat

For vegetarians/vegans and the people who love them - you may know of this mysterious chewy stuff called seitan.  It is similar to your tofu or tempeh because it acts as a meat substitute in a lot of different dishes.  It is NOT like tofu or tempeh (both made from soybeans) because this alternative protein is wheat based.  In my mind, making it fair game for The Upper Yeast Side blog.  

Seitan is basically just wheat gluten.  Here goes a basic (and my first attempt) at homemade seitan...

Basic Seitan
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
This recipe yields a LOT of Seitan - enough for 5-6 separate dishes that would serve about 3-4 people...

2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons onion powder
Season with about 1/2 teaspoon sage, and 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, or a "chicken seasoning" which will likely have both in addition to some rosemary and black pepper.  I added a dash of cayenne because I planned to use it in a mexican style dish of Peter Berley's.
2 cups water

6 cups water
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Bring broth to a boil.
Combine dough ingredients and knead for a hot second to get it all elastic-y.  Cut into little chunks (about 2x2) and toss into the boiling broth.
Let it boil for 1 hour.
Prepare as you need for your meal.
Store extra seitan in the freezer.

I bought that Bob's Red Mill bag of vital wheat gluten for about $7 at a UES health food store.  Since a package of seitan in the store costs about $6 and I made roughly 6x as much with only a third of the bag... Safe to say it pays to make homemade seitan.  

In the process of cooking this I legitimately thought this stuff was going to take over my stovetop.  It expanded to fill the entire pot from it's original size just barely poking out from beneath the six cups of liquid.

As I mentioned, this recipe yields a LOT of seitan.  Feel free to halve it or even quarter it if you aren't sure you'll love seitan.  I could have made the Peter Berley recipe at least 5 more times with the leftover seitan.  I wrapped manageable amounts of seitan in plastic wrap and put all of the bunches into one plastic bag and right into the freezer.

We made a black bean dish from Fresh Food Fast:

And we ate until we were extremely uncomfortable.

Here's the thing about vital wheat gluten.  It seems to know just when you are looking for it.  If you go to the grocery store specifically searching for this stuff, it won't be there.  The other people in the store and store workers have never heard of it.  However, if you happen to meander by the very same aisle you scoured without the intent of picking up vital wheat gluten it will magically fall off the shelf into your basket.  True story.  Not to mention, you'll start noticing this stuff in every grocery you checked previously.  Just when you aren't looking for it.  Get it whenever you can.  Store it in the fridge or freezer.  Brands I've used include: Arrowhead MillsHodgson Mill, and Bob's Red Mill.  Tell us if you find any other good ones.  

Good luck in your search for and cooking of homemade seitan!

PS The previous sourdough-oat loaf just got turned into French Toast and devoured.  Thank you Andy Jack.

1 comment:

  1. i have become captivated by the economy of this meal even though i am not a vergetarian.