How to make seitan (wheat gluten protein food)

Seitan: the finished product before using in a recipe
Here it is at last, the complete post on making seitan that I've had so many technical problems with!
"Seitan" is the name coined by macrobiotics in the 1960s for wheat gluten, originally found in the cuisines of Asia and Africa. It is often simply called wheat gluten or "wheat meat"- as you may have guessed by this name, it is a protein food. Nutritionally, it is high in protein, very low in fat, and even low in carbs (as all the starch is washed out of the wheat during processing). It's a great alternative to tofu/ TVP, although obviously off the menu for coeliacs and those with wheat intolerance. Since pre-packaged seitan almost invariably contains onion or garlic and it is so much fun to make anyway, I thought I would post some instructions on how to do it. The amounts I used here resulted in enough to feed 4-5 people as part of a main course.

800g plain white flour (no point using wholemeal; it's only the gluten you're after- and in any case, it's a pain to knead under water and reduces by a huge amount; I tried it!)
2 tsps seasalt
1 tab hing
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coarse-ground black pepper

1: Mix the ingredients to a pliable dough with water

2: Knead well for at least 10 minutes

3:  until firm and elastic

4: You can see the gluten strands already starting to form
5: Next, either place the seitan in a clean sink or large bowl inside the sink and wash out all the starch by continuous kneading and rinsing, as shown below:
It will start to break up, but use your hands to keep it together  and after a while  it will become rubbery and easier to handle

6: This is what it should finally look like. The water will now be clear. Let it rest covered with water another 10 minutes or so while you get the stock ready. Stock ingredients: brown rice miso, hing, soy sauce/ Liquid Aminos, black pepper in enough water to cover your lump of seitan.

7: Bring to the boil and simmer for 50 minuter- 1 hour. Your seitan is now ready to use in a recipe. You could slice and bake it in a sauce, or fry it...  I'll be posting a delicious recipe for seitan fajitas tomorrow...


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