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My Best Seitan Yet!!

June 21, 2011

Remember Seitan Tuesdays?  Probably not, but I do.  I decided to bring it back.  Never mind that by the time you read this it’ll probably be Wednesday… it’s the thought that counts, right?

Of all the things that a vegan is “supposed” to know how to make, such as tofu scramble, kale chips (yeah right) or hummus, seitan is one of those things I never quite got the hang of.  Wrapping the gluten dough up tightly in aluminum foil and baking it usually turns out well for me, but that method gives the seitan a very firm, dry texture that I don’t always want.  When I do the traditional method of simmering the dough in broth, usually it goes terribly wrong.

But tonight, I got it just right.  Purely by accident, of course.

I followed the recipe for “Simple Seitan” in The The Veganopolis Cookbook by David Stowell and George Black.  I really enjoyed this recipe because it was, well, simple.  Call me weird, but I kinda don’t like bits of garlic, pepper flakes and other debris mucking up my wheat meat, so I appreciate that Veganopolis’s recipe used powdered spices that were readily available and blended easily with the vital wheat gluten (and saved me from having to dirty up my garlic press).

However, the ingredients didn’t really matter; probably any recipe would have worked.  What made this seitan awesome was the technique I used.

The recipe was your basic “simmer the seitan for 40 minutes” type of deal, which I tried to do.  I kneaded the dough, let it rest, kneaded it again, cut it into strips, and threw the strips into four cups of boiling vegetable broth.

The strips of dough started out so little and cute.  After letting them boil for a minute, I reduced the heat to a simmer, set the kitchen time for 40 minutes, and went back to looking at Twitter or something.

20 minutes or so later, I decided to go check on my strips of gluteny wonder.  They had nearly TRIPLED in size, crowding the pan!  I didn’t take a picture–it was too scary.

Looks like I screwed it up again, I thought.

Until Andy stepped in!  Yaaaay Andy!

“Why don’t you put it in the oven?”  My boyfriend asked.  After all, the seitan wasn’t rubbery like bubble gum, just soggy and spongy.  It could be saved!

I oiled up a baking sheet, heated the oven to 350 degrees, and baked the strips for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

And ta-da!!!

I must say that it was very close to seitan that I’ve had in restaurants.  Slightly crisp on the outside, moist and tender on the inside.  Firm enough to pick up and dip into barbecue sauce.  (Not that we’d do that before dinner or anything…)

After that, I wanted to get dinner on the table in a hurry.  I made a stir-fry using frozen veggies and fresh bok choy, and chopped the strips into bite-size pieces.

Andy made some chili sauce (as you can see in the top picture) and then we ate!

Victory is mine at last!!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth permalink
    December 20, 2011 12:58 pm

    Wow thank you so much for this! I am trying to make a bunch of frozen dinners for the bf before I leave town so he wont starve, and my seitan turned out all spongy and soggy…I didn’t have the time or money to make another batch, so thanks for saving it!

  2. December 27, 2011 5:15 pm

    Hey Beth, glad to help! :-D Sometimes there are “happy accidents!”

  3. January 16, 2012 10:13 pm

    I am relearning seitan having not had too much luck making it in the past. Thanks for this post!

  4. Nick permalink
    May 14, 2012 5:52 am

    Looks good! I’m still trying to find the perfect recipe – some are close, but the texture isn’t right – this could be the answer!!

  5. September 13, 2013 10:15 am

    Girl. Damn. I was wondering what the cure was to soggy seitan. Like the restaurants pay to keep this stuff a secret…. You rock.

  6. April 9, 2016 3:34 pm

    Yay to happy accidents! I made a very spongy batch of seitan tonight. I’m going to try baking it and see if it helps. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Allan permalink
    July 6, 2018 3:55 am

    I steamed a whole seitan for an hour tonight and it turned out spongy.
    It was however easy to tear into attractive stir fry pieces.
    Tomorrow I’m going to do the same thing but then bake the pieces.

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