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.
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Step 1: Ingredients & Tools
You will need:
--Whole Wheat Flour
--Crock Pot / Slow Cooker
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.)