Introduction: Seitan Made Easy

Seitan, or wheat-meat, is a commonly used meat substitute. It is made up of wheat protein, and doesn't taste like much when not flavored. Many vegetarians dislike it because its texture is too meaty.

Lots of people seem to fear making seitan because it takes too long and the kneading process is quite tedious. However, with a few simple tricks, you can quickly make Seitan the easy way, and save money by creating it at home.

Step 1: Ingredients & Tools

You will need:

--Water
--Whole Wheat Flour
--Vegetable Broth
--Food Processor
--Crock Pot / Slow Cooker
--Large Pot

NOTE: The Flour and Water need to be in a 2:1 ratio.
This means if you have 2 cups of flour, you'll need 1 cup of water.

The amount of flour and water depends both upon the size of your food processor and how much you want to make. I used slightly more than 2 cups of flour and about a cup of water. These measurements don't need to be very precise.

Step 2: No Need to Knead

Take the flour and dump it into the food processor.
Then, pour the water in.

Turn on the processor and let it knead the mixture for about a minute.
In a little while, it will form into a ball and start rolling around inside the processor. This is how you know it's almost done. If it just sort of sloshes around, then you probably need more flour. Throw in some more, and it should ball up pretty soon. Stop the food processor, and feel the ball. Is it still really sticky and sloshy? Let it be kneaded for just a little while longer. It should be able to stay in one piece.

Step 3: Wash Your Dough

Gouge the dough out of your food processor and stick it in a large bowl of warm/hot water.
Let it sit there for 20 minutes.
While it's sitting there, heat up your broth in your slow cooker.

Now comes the weird part...

What you have to do is squish the gooey dough around in your hands underwater. It is best to do this in the sink. As you play around with it, you will start to see the water turning white. This is the starch washing out of the soon-to-be seitan. Once the water has turned pretty much opaque, dump it down the drain. Be careful: at this stage in the proceedings, it is pretty easy to lose a large chunk of dough as you dump out the water.

Fill up the bowl again, and continue washing. As you proceed along the cycle of filling, washing, and dumping, you will start to notice that the dough is becoming gummier and stringier, and that less stuff is washing out. This is good.

Once you get towards about 10 repetitions of the fill-wash-dump process, you will notice little hard pieces washing out of the dough. This is the bran, and unless you really want the added fiber, you should probably wash it out.

Once the water stays clear, you'll know that you're almost done kneading. REALLY try to get as much bran out as possible-- the purer the seitan is, the better the texture will be.

Step 4: Cook the Seitan

Plop your blob of seitan into the slow cooker- make sure that it's all covered by the broth. Cook it on High for about 2 hours. Halfway through, flip the seitan over.

The seitan should be stored, in its broth, in a refrigerated covered container. However, it can be frozen in the broth with no ill effects. I honestly have no idea how long it'll last, as I always cook it within about a week.

There are many ways to prepare Seitan, most of which make an extremely good meat substitute.
I am going to post another Instructable on my favorite way to prepare Seitan.

**Update: More Info**
Also, using store-bought flour, a 2-cup batch costs about $1.00, which is about a third of what you'd pay for the same amount at the store. (However, for me it works out to about 60 cents per batch, because I ground my own flour from wheat berries.)

Comments

author
MrGreggan made it! (author)2009-09-07

I've been a vegetarian (sort of, I do eat fish & eggs), for 20 years now. As meat substitutes go, seitan is my favorite. When spiced well, it tastes very good. Friends & family have tried food with seitan without knowing it was used instead of meat. They couldn't tell the difference. Most important is the flavoring added!

author
paulhogan made it! (author)paulhogan2009-09-09

I am that same type of vegetarian.

author

Please consider giving up eggs and fish ( anything dairy ) we eat 800,000,000 chickens in the UK every year which are all female, as the 800,000,000 male chicks are born they go straight into a mincer alive, or suffocated etc they are classed as waste products as they dont lay eggs so considered worthless.:(

author
cortes.lilia made it! (author)cortes.lilia2010-10-23

You're referring to a pescatarian. A vegetarian does not eat meat, including fish.
However, I do agree that seitan is the best meat substitute.

author
punkhead58 made it! (author)2010-04-01

Ah, yes, I enjoy eating Satan as well.


author
SarahE3 made it! (author)SarahE32014-11-01

Lol. All hail Seitan!

author
notter71 made it! (author)2012-12-05

An easier process would be to use vital wheat gluten, instead of flour. No need to wash or knead the seitan.

author
DanielS7 made it! (author)DanielS72014-10-12

I thought about doing this, just cause it makes the most sense both economically, and for convenience, but I wanted to make sure it would work. I honestly couldn't find anything about using wheat gluten. All of the processes online start with typical flour. So I just took your word for it and went to the store and bought 80% wheat gluten. As I added water to it, it immediately turned into the desired final product. I washed it once to just remove that leftover 20% starch. Amazeballz.

author
StephanieB3 made it! (author)StephanieB32014-10-24

That's what I've done--though I've never eaten or made seitan so I'm not sure if I've done it right. You should check out the recipe book 'vegan on the cheap' by robin robertson, there's a fair amount of info on why she makes her seitan recipes (as well as good looking recipes) with vital wheat gluten. Interesting stuff(:

Cheers to finding out in 8 hours when it's done slow-cooking!

author
evacooper made it! (author)2014-02-26

so how does the nutrition work, is it just protein, or still carb?

author
Logan D made it! (author)2009-09-08

This looks delicious, I have been looking to limit my meat intake due to the large energy wasted in shipping meat products(such as that tasty argentine beef) over vegetable products. This might be a great option, thanks for the idea

author
paulhogan made it! (author)paulhogan2009-09-09

My main concern is soda and bottled water... which is even worse than meat in terms of being shipped around the world...

author
destructopop made it! (author)destructopop2013-12-17

Excellent point. Those were serious considerations of mine when I quit drinking soda myself.

author
grim.sleeper made it! (author)2012-02-04

SuperGreat!

this worked perfectly. The only thing i missed in the instructable is that at the end you'll have about 40% of the weight of the flour in seitan.

So when you use 500grams of flour you get 200grams of seitan.

author
zombiedave made it! (author)2012-01-31

I found this instructable and wanted to try it ASAP. However, all I had in the house was white flour(unbleached) but attempted it anyway. I kneaded the dough by hand (don't have a food processor/mixer with bread hooks) and rinsed according the the directions. And it worked! Came out pretty close to what I've bought in stores.

author
suayres made it! (author)2011-05-18

I have made Seitan myself, long ago, before the age of home model food processors (if you think it's tedious now, just think about developing that gluten by hand!). anyway, since you apparently don't want the bran (what about the germ?)', why not start with white flour (which is the recipe I used)? Am I wrong in thinking the germ will go the way of the bran?

author
mikeinternet made it! (author)2010-09-07

If you can get "vital wheat gluten" you can basically skip having to wash out the starch.

But this is way cooler! Will try this.

author
Snerdguy made it! (author)2010-03-11

This an interesting food alternative. Especially if wheat is grown in the area where you live. A bushel of wheat purchased directly from the farmer is dirt cheap compared to what wheat berries cost at the store. Do you happen to know what the nutrition value is? It would help me plan the exchanges in my diet.

author
blodefood made it! (author)2010-01-30

Hey!  This is really great! One thing I have done with seitan is to break it into smaller pieces before putting in the broth.  If you have used soy sauce in the liquid to make the dough, it is darker giving it the appearance of little meat balls suitable for adding to pasta sauce.

author
mossDboss made it! (author)2009-09-07

What type of grinder do you use? Do you think it would of benefit to modify a grinder to grind finer? *There is an instructable on modifing a coffee grind I figured same principle for wheat* Thanks for this instructable, we have 3+ month supply of wheat we need to use, and I did not know I could make Seitan in my image.

author
paulhogan made it! (author)paulhogan2009-09-09

I am not sure how/if that would affect the texture of the seitan. I don't understand the science behind the gluten-forming process. However, my mill has different fineness settings, so I'll grind up some small batches and attempt to report back in a timely fashion.

To tell you the truth, I am completely scared of the wheat grinder- it is electric, the size of a small trash can, and sounds like a small jet engine. I think it's a "WhisperMill", but I am not certain. I don't think that I feel like modding it. But, if your grinder (or one you are looking to buy) grinds it very coarsely, then I would at least look into modding it, because it seems to me as if coarser would not be better.

author
rickharris made it! (author)2009-09-07

Yep, What your doing is washing out the starch component of the dough leaving behind the gluten. If you mixed in a little lecithin (E322) you will form the gluten faster and free off the starch easier. They do this in commercial bread making to make the bread mix faster. As always at your own risk. IMHO it will never replace meat!

author
lemonie made it! (author)2009-09-07

It's gluten then? L

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paulhogan made it! (author)paulhogan2009-09-07

Pretty much.

author
Megax29 made it! (author)2009-09-07

good post iv never heard about this but you learn new thing everday

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