Are you ready become a seitan lover to the fullest and start making your own homemade
batches? Congratulations! Not only can the process of making seitan be fun, but it can
also save you money in the long run over store-bought seitan. As you become more
experienced in making seitan, you’ll obviously get to hone your methods to perfection.
If you are a seitan newbie, however, here are some tips that you can employ to get you
pointed in the right direction. The tips are varied, so you can feel free to try them out and
pick out your favorites that seem to work the best. As they say, practice makes perfect.
Tips to Employ When Making Seitan
When it comes to the ingredients for your homemade batch, try using vital wheat gluten
instead of wheat flour. Make sure that your vital wheat gluten has not expired, as using
it if outdated could really ruin your batch in terms of its texture. Using vital wheat gluten
instead of wheat flour makes for a quicker seitan making experience, since you won’t
need to perform the added step of rinsing out the starch.
You should make sure that your dry ingredients are mixed well prior to adding any liquid
ingredients to your batch. Mixing the dry ingredients well allows you to get dough that
is flavored evenly. Some people like to add a second protein to their seitan, such as
chickpea flour for a finished product that is tender. If you want flavored seitan, season
your liquid ingredients prior to mixing them with dry ingredients. If you just want seitan
that is plain and will be seasoned later on in a special recipe, you can skip this seasoning
step. For even softer seitan, use oil as one of your liquid ingredients. As for kneading
your dough, five minutes is a general standard used by many. Let the seitan rest a bit
after it is kneaded.
Once your seitan batch is ready to be cooked, you have different options at your disposal.
Boiling should be avoided, and we will explain that in further detail later on in this
article. If using the simmering method, you may want to use a bigger pot with added
broth and reduce your seitan to smaller chunks for easier cooking. You could also leave
it in its form as-is, simmer it for an hour, and then wrap it in tin foil. Bake it until it gets
firm and brown on the outside. During the simmering process, wrapping and tying up the
seitan in cheesecloth seems to be a method that works well.
Some prefer to do a straight bake, which involves rolling the seitan into a log, wrapping
it in foil, and cooking it for just over an hour at 350 degrees. Turn the log halfway
through the cooking process. The final result should be seitan that is delicious and
chewy in nature. Steaming seitan or using a pressure cooker can also help when creating
your homemade batches. If using a pressure cooker, allow the seitan to cook at regular
pressure for about 20 minutes.
You may find that making seitan is a bit time-consuming, especially at first. To help you
save time, try making it in bulk so that you have plenty of leftovers. Seitan is usually
best when stored with its cooking liquid. You can keep one container in your refrigerator
and another in your freezer. It should last for several days in the fridge and even longer
when frozen. You might want to even hold off on eating your homemade seitan for a
day, as its texture will often become even better later on.
Things to Avoid When Making Seitan
Now that we’ve described some tips of things you should do when taking the plunge to
cook homemade seitan, what are some things that you should avoid?
Let’s start from the beginning of the seitan making experience, when it’s time to mix
all of the wet and dry ingredients for your batch. You should avoid adding all of the
liquid ingredients of your recipe in the beginning. Why? You may not need them in
their entirety. Instead of adding all of liquid ingredients, add about 3/4 of their required
amounts just to start. Use your hands to mix together the wet and dry components for
your batch so that you can get a good feel of the texture of your dough. If you notice
that the dough is more on the dry side, then you can add the remainder of your liquid
ingredients, but do it in increments of one teaspoon at a time until you get the desired
consistency. As for what that consistency is, you want your dough to be rather elastic
and soft. The dough should move where you want it to, allowing you to basically pull it
apart. Of course, you don’t want it to be overly soft, but to provide just enough resistance
when stretching it out.
Regarding kneading, we already discussed the necessity of this step in the preparation
process. However, you do not want to overdo it. Basically, the more you knead your
dough, the firmer it will become. We mentioned that five minutes is a basic rule of
thumb used by many when making homemade seitan, but you may find that just three
minutes of kneading is good enough. Again, it all depends on how firm you want the
dough. If you want firm seitan as your final result, then kneading it for five minutes
is ok. If you want it softer, three minutes might be better. Kneading in excess of five
minutes is not really necessary, so avoid overdoing it.
To touch on the topic of boiling, it seems as if most seitan lovers have not had good
experiences with boiling batches, so avoid it. Boiling seitan will give you a final product
that has an odd spongy texture and will call for fixing, either by pan-frying, baking,
or some other method. Instead of boiling it, simply place your piece of seitan in a pot
with cold water. The moment the water begins to boil, turn things down until you get a
nice simmer going. Let the seitan simmer for around an hour on low heat and check its
Last, but not least, the final thing to avoid when making seitan is overeating. Yes, as you
get better with your homemade batches it can be very tempting to eat a ton of delicious
seitan at once, but it’s certainly not recommended. Seitan is loaded with protein, and
eating it in excess in one sitting could wreak havoc on your digestive system. Eat your
seitan in normal portions and extend its use over various meals to get the most bang for
your buck in both a financial and a nutritional sense.