Okay, so I guess that doesn't sound all that great, but trust me when I say it actually is great because you can pretty much make it taste like anything under the sun and it's got a surprisingly meaty texture. There are plenty of reasons to skip the beef - health reasons, ethical reasons, etc. - and seitan is a serviceable sub. Personally I wouldn't sit down to a grilled seitan steak but I love it in saucy dishes or in fajitas or just for snackin' on.
This is what it looks like:
And this is how you make it at home:
- 2 cups sifted vital wheat gluten (note: do not accidentally grab high gluten flour instead)
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon majoram
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup finely grated Romano cheese
- Some Lawry's salt
- 2 cups water, plus a little more if needed
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Herbs and spices - have fun!
Before you start, there's something you should know. I'm an eyeballer. All the measurements above are flexible. Maybe you hate sage, so put something else instead. Use a lot of salt if that's your bag. Nix the cheese and go full-out vegan. You're not gonna mess up your seitan unless you mess with the ratio of water and gluten and, well, you may actually need to mess with the ratio of water and gluten. I always find I need to add a couple of splashes of H2O to get the right consistency.
Put all the stuff you need for seitan in a bowl. Knead it using a stand mixer or your own two hands for about a minute – just to make sure everything is nice and stretchy and springy. Your dough should not be too wet, nor should it be sticky; it should actually come off the sides of the bowl and your dough hook cleanly. The texture you're going for is kind of gelatinous. Very different from a bread dough.
Take the dough and lay it on a cutting board but put the knife away because you're not ready to cut it just yet! First, take a rolling pin and spend some time trying to flatten your dough out. You won't be able to – it's going to be springy and resilient – but a nice massage with the roller will help compress it so it's not all spongy and gross after it's cooked.
NOW cut it. I cut my seitan into strips about two inches long and a quarter in wide or roughly the size of the "Beefless Strips" you can buy at Trader Joe's because that's what I was trying to replicate. If you cut them any bigger, keep in mind that they are going to expand like crazy as they cook.
Boil in your cooking liquid for a good solid hour. A little more won't hurt, but make sure you give it all a stir now and then to dunk the floaters. And they will all be floaters. Note: When choosing the pot in which to do this, go big or go home because like I said these babies are going to plump up and you don't want to make the same mistake I did that resulted in a whole lot of burned crud on my gas range.
Drain in a colander for a minute or two, and then spread your already tasty looking homemade "Beefless Strips" (sorry, Trader Joe's) on a cookie sheet sprayed with baking spray. A little overlap is okay but try to make this happen in a single layer. Bake at 275F for… a while. Then flip 'em, and bake some more. You kind of have to judge the texture yourself.
I like my homemade seitan kind of dry to start with because I'm usually using it in saucy recipes. Maybe you like to just nibble on your seitan and would prefer it to be on the moist side. That's cool. It's your seitan, after all. Enjoy it!
P.S. - OMG you guys, Mom Meet Mom has forums now! And check out this awesome syndicated story about the site :)
P.P.S. - Welcome, my SITS Tribe ladies! Hope you have an awesome week!