How to make seitan (Seitan in colander, front view)

How To Make Seitan (Home-made Meat Substitute)

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What is seitan?

Seitan is a high-protein product made of wheat flour, used as a meat substitute. Tofu and Seitan are both very versatile when it comes to making meat-like dishes. While tofu has an egg-like texture, seitan’s consistency is chewy and more similar to meat. It is widely used because it absorbs the condiments well, however it has high gluten content, which can cause allergies, therefore, is not suitable for everyone.

I often think that meat-like products are not really what a vegetarian would want to eat, because (and I speak from a personal point of view) I believe, if you don’t want to eat meat you don’t really want to be reminded what meat is like. However, I think you can be really creative with either tofu or seitan in the kitchen, therefore, it’s worth giving it a try!

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Making seitan.

Many things can be used to flavour seitan; you can add herbs to the dough or flavour it with different ingredients such as: soy sauce, kombu, herbs, vegetables, spices and seeds. All these ingredients are added to the vegetable broth in which the dough is cooked or simply added as flavourings before kneading. Seitain can be also made using spelt flour or gluten flour.

Making seitan requires a lot of time. Basically, you mix the ingredients, make a dough and then rinse it under running water for about 15-20 minutes, to remove the starch. As a result, you will end up with a considerably smaller amount of product, in the end, but it’s worth it! The main reason to prepare home-made seitan is that you can be really creative with it and you can add all the flavours that you like to it!

What you need

1 large bowl

1 large pan with a lid

1 wooden spoon

1 measuring cup

Ingredients 

For the dough

2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional)

4-5 tablespoons of ground spices and seeds (black pepper, paprika, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, a few cloves, a few chillies)

1 kg (35.2 oz) flour (I use Manitoba, you can use plain or spelt flour)

900 ml (30.4 us fl oz) of water (the amount of water vary depending on the flour)

200 ml (6.76 us fl oz) of soy sauce

For the broth

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 clove of garlic

1 large onion

2 stalk of celery

2 carrot

2 bay leaves

a bunch of rosemary

vegetable stock

200 ml (6.76 us fl oz) soy sauce (optional)

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Method.

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, the nutritional yeast, the seeds and the spices.

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2. Then add 200 ml of soy sauce with the 900 ml of water. Mix with the spoon, then knead with your hands, until you get a smooth dough.

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3. Let it rest for a few minutes.

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4. Meanwhile, prepare the stock. Fry the vegetables in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, for a few minutes. Then, fill the pan with vegetable stock (enough to cook the dough in), add the herbs, 200 ml of soy sauce and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, sift the broth and let cool.

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5. Now knead the dough, in a large bowl, under running water for 20-30 minutes (basically, until the running water in the bowl and in which you are washing the dough, becomes clear). With this operation you are removing the starch and therefore keeping only the protein of the wheat.

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6. After about 20-30 minutes, drain nicely and let the dough sit for a few minutes.

7. Put the seitan in the cold stock ( the broth has to be cold otherwise the seitan will lose its shape) and turn on the heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Once is ready, turn off the heat and let it cool. Let it drain completely and then store it in an airtight container (in the fridge) for 5 days or freeze it for up to 1-2 months.

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Tip.

1. Basically, this is the traditional method, with a personal touch for the flavouring. However, you can shorten the process using gluten wheat flour and avoid the rinsing operation. In this way, you can knead the dough, cook directly in the broth and save a lot of time and water! I strongly recommend this method as it’s quicker and much more ecological.

2. You can replace meat with seitan in many recipes. It’s perfect in stir-fry and slow cooker dishes.

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Seitan fatto in casa (metodo tradizionale).

Utensili 

1 ciotola grande

1 pentola grande, con il coperchio

1 cucchiaio di legno

1 caraffa graduata

Ingredienti

Per l’impasto

2 cucchiai di nutritional yeast (facoltativo, per il sapore)

4-5 cucchiai di spezie e semi misti macinati (pepe nero, paprika, semi di sesamo, semi di finocchio, semi di coriandolo, qualche seme di garofano, peperoncino)

1 kg di farina (ho usato Manitoba, ma è possibile utilizzare la farina normale, integrale o di farro)

900 ml di acqua (la quantità di acqua può variare a seconda della farina utilizzata)

200 ml di salsa di soia

Per il brodo

3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine di oliva

1 spicchio di aglio

1 cipolla grande

2 gambo di sedano

2 carota

2 foglie di alloro

2 rametti di rosmarino

brodo vegetale

200 ml di salsa di soia (facoltativo)

Preparazione.

1. In una ciotola grande, mescolate la farina, il nutritional yeast, i semi e le spezie.

2. Poi aggiungete 200 ml di salsa di soia con 900 ml di acqua. Mescolate con il cucchiaio, poi impastate con le mani, fino ad ottenere un impasto liscio.

3. Lasciate riposare per qualche minuto.

4. Preparate il brodo. Fate soffriggere le verdure in 3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva (per qualche minuto). Riempite la pentola con abbondante brodo vegetale (sufficiente per cuocere tutto il seitan), aggiungete le erbe, 200 ml di salsa di soia e portate ad ebollizione. Fate bollire per 10 minuti. Spegnete il fuoco, togliete la verdura e lasciate raffreddare il brodo.

5. In una ciotola molto grande, impastate il composto di farina e spezie sotto l’acqua corrente per 20-30 minuti (fino a quando l’acqua sarà limpida). Questa operazione serve a rimuovere l’amido dalle proteine del grano.

6. Scolate e lasciate riposare l’impasto per qualche minuto.

7. Tagliate e mettete il seitan nel brodo freddo (il brodo deve essere freddo o il seitan perderà la sua forma) e accendete il fuoco. Portate ad ebollizione, poi abbassate il fuoco al minimo e fate cuocere per 50 minuti. Una volta pronto, spegnete il fuoco, scolate bene e lasciate raffreddare. Il seitan si può conservare in un contenitore ermetico (in frigorifero) per 5 giorni o congelare per 1 o 2 mesi.

Note.

1. Questo è il metodo tradizionale, con un tocco personale per aromatizzare il seitan. E’ possibile abbreviare il metodo di preparazione utilizzando la farina di glutine ed evitare il risciacquo. In questo modo, è possibile impastare il seitan, cuocerlo direttamente nel brodo e risparmiare un sacco di tempo ed acqua. Consiglio vivamente questo metodo perché è molto più veloce ed ecologico.

2. Si può sostituire la carne con il seitan in moltissime ricette. Il seitan è ottimo saltato in padella con le verdure, oppure utilizzato al posto della carne negli stufati.

23 thoughts on “How To Make Seitan (Home-made Meat Substitute)

    1. Hi Jess! Thank you!🙂 I found it so interesting, the way in which you separate the gluten from the starch with water! But I am definitely going to use gluten flour next time!

  1. I have always wondered the same thing. If one doesn’t eat meat, why eat a meat substitute that tastes like meat? Hum…..Interesting recipe. I have no idea what seitan is, so now I know. I can see why vegetarians eat it. It does seem to have lots of great flavors and a texture different from that of vegetables and it’s always nice to have different textures on the plate. Very interesting post!

    1. Thank you so much!🙂 Yes, it’s quite a versatile ingredient to use in recipes. I still have to experiment a little with it. I am definitely going to try some recipes with seitan…

      1. You are so kind! Rhonda, I feel the same about your blog: it’s a real pleasure to see all your wonderful recipes! !

    1. It’s not so difficult. The only advise it would be to put it in a really cold vegetable broth, otherwise it will melt and use cold tap water when you knead it…that’s all🙂

    1. Actually I am not so sure, because I made this a long time ago. But doing some research you should get about 400/500 g of seitan with 1 kg of flour,of course it depends on the flour you use…so maybe more like 4-5 servings.:-)

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