Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Tips: Seitan Improv

I adore seitan, but can't stomach paying for it at the supermarket, so every couple months I spend a Saturday morning making up a big batch of it to stock my freezer.  While there is no dearth of seitan recipes on the internet, I don't really follow a recipe for it, instead following a basic wet-to-dry ingredient ratio and playing with the seasonings depending on what I have on hand.    Here's my rough guide to how to make your own improvised seitan.

Basic Ingredients:
1 1/4 c wheat gluten (sometimes I substitute garbanzo flour for 1/4 cup of the gluten)
1 c liquid (some combination of: broth, water, soy sauce, ketchup, teriyaki sauce)
2-3 T oil
2-3 T nutritional yeast
a couple T spices (broth powder, thyme, sage, red pepper, black pepper, salt, onion powder, minced onion, garlic, oregano, fennel, etc.)
optional: 1/3-1/2 c mashed beans

Making the Dough:
Mix together dry and wet ingredients separately. Add wet ingredients into dry and knead together until just combined.  (Knead it longer for a chewier texture, but keep in mint this will also make the dough more difficult to shape.)

The basic shapes I make are cutlet/patty, sausage links, and loaves.

For patties, form 2-3 T of dough into a ball and flatten.

For sausage links, spread 1/4 c of dough into a tube shape on a piece of aluminum foil and roll up tightly, twisting the ends of the foil closed.
seitan sausages in steamer basket

 For loaves, spread dough in a loaf shape on a piece of aluminum foil (if baking) or cheesecloth (if simmering), roll up tightly, and pinch or tie off the ends.
uncooked loaf

You can also make blob-shaped chunks by simply breaking off pieces of dough and not shaping them.  These are good in soups or stews.

Some people like to simmer seitan in broth or in seasoned or plain water.  This creates the most moist, spongy texture.  I almost never cook my seitan this way, but if you go this route, cook unshaped chunks 30-40 minutes or a cheesecloth-wrapped loaf for 60-70 minutes.

Baking is my preferred method for loaves.  Baking results in a firm texture good for slicing into sandwich "meat."  Bake the loaf (wrapped tightly in foil) at 325 for about 1 1/2 hour (more or less, depending on how fat the loaf is).  Let cool before unwrapping.

For patties and sausage links, I typically cook by steaming.  Place patties on squares of foil or waxed paper to prevent sticking, and wrap sausage links tightly in foil as described in the "shaping" section above.  Steam patties about 30 minutes, links about 40 minutes.  Let sausage links cool before unwrapping.

Storing & Using:
I freeze whole and half loaves in ziplock bags for up to a few months, and thaw on the counter.  The loaf can either be cooked again in a recipe, or sliced and used as "lunch meat" for sandwiches.
baked seitan loaf

For sausage links and patty shapes, freeze on a cookie sheet in one layer before putting in ziplock bags, so they don't stick together.  Both patties and links can be reheated in a skillet, in the oven, or on a grill.
sausage-style breakfast patties
sausage-style link

For chunks cooked in broth, either remove from broth and freeze portions in ziplocks, or freeze in the broth for use in soups and stews.

Have fun improvising!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the info! I usually boil my seitan - but I don't really like the texture so I'll try some other things out!


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