Perfectly Easy Seitan


A few months after I first quit eating meat, I was lunching on a purchased vegetarian pocket sandwich when I bit into something I thought was pork. I suspiciously picked it up between my fingers and started shredding it with my other hand. It had little bubbles in it; no meat has bubbles. I gingerly tasted it again. It was like bread, but meaty. I read the ingredients on my sandwich package and deduced that wheat gluten was involved somehow, but exactly how was a mystery. It was quite a while before I found out that I had been eating seitan.Seitan is a great ingredient to create vegetarian versions of traditional meaty dishes. It’s almost pure protein, but not very nutritious otherwise, so if I’m using it as a meat replacement, I usually use half seitan and half vegetables. Seitan is so filling, though, that a pound of it will serve six.I used to be able to buy seitan at a couple of stores near me, but it’s gotten hard to find. No matter, it’s easy to make at home, and I like the flavor of my own better. I have a no-knead technique that I learned from a bread cookbook which works great with a handheld or stand mixer. Or, you can be all old-school and knead it by hand.

This recipe is a combination of two others, Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Soy and Seitan Turkey and Seitan O’Greatness from the Post Punk Kitchen forums.

Perfectly Easy Seitan

Dry ingredients:
2-1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons vegetarian chicken broth powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon sage
½ teaspoon thyme
salt to taste*

Wet ingredients:
1-3/4 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I use the double concentrated kind from a tube)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I like Braggs for this)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 325.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, briefly beat together wet ingredients with an electric mixer. Add about 1/3 of the dry mixture (about a cup) and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Set a timer and don’t cheat! Add another cup of the dry mixture and beat on low for another 2 full minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend in with a spoon. If necessary, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until dry ingredients are just combined.

Divide dough into two equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 6 or 7 inches long. Wrap each log tightly in aluminum foil, twisting the ends to seal.

Bake for 90 minutes.

Makes 2 pounds of seitan, about 12 servings.

*How much salt you need depends on how salty the broth powder you use is. If I use Frontier Foods broth powder, I’ll add about 3/4 teaspoon. If I use Massel Chicken-style or Better Than Bouillon, I don’t use any additional salt. To taste for salt, first pinch off a small bit of seitan dough, stretch it as thinly as you can, and fry it in a non-stick pan briefly.

My seitan is all beautiful and ready for its closeup.


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3 Responses

  1. Glad to see I’m not the only who sets up some crazy gear to prep food for some serious photo shoots!

  2. If your husband catches you gathering stuff up for a photo shoot, does he look at you like you’ve grown an extra head, the way mine does?

  3. Yep! He was actually looking over my shoulder while I was reading this last night with a curious look on his face. When I said it was food blog photo shoot, he nodded and said, “Ah, I thought that looked like something you had going on the other day!”

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