Homemade seitan is a great staple of the vegan kitchen. It has lots of flexibility when it comes to flavors and texture and you are definitely in charge!. The texture depends on how long you knead the dough and the flavor depends on what spices you add or what broth you use to boil the dough after kneading. Seitan is made with gluten flour, which is drived from wheat. Gluten gives elasticity to bread dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and makes that stickiness. Some people have an allergy to gluten and naturally this form of protein will not be appropriate for them. The basic ingredients are simple.
Servings: about 1 1/2 pounds
Duration: about 80 minutes
Utensils: saucepan or large pot
Cooking surface: stove top
1 1/3 cups wheat gluten
1 cup water
4 cups of broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
In a large bowl, combine gluten and water. Knead for 5 minutes or until a stiff dough is formed. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Combine the broth and the soy sauce in a large saucepan. Cut the dough into two and place together in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Turn over the dough pieces and simmer for 30 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool uncovered. Leftover seitan can be refrigerated in the for up to 3 days or removed from the broth, it can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 weeks.
Now here comes the refinement! To change the texture, increase how long you knead. Just under 5 minutes makes a loose dough that has the consistency of bread dumplings. If you knead somewhat longer than 5 minutes, the texture becomes tighter and firmer.
To change the flavor, experiment with different spices that can really make a difference to the flavor if they are added to the kneading process. I have used paprika, oregano, coriander, basil, curry and others. Salt and pepper are better added in the cooking process.
Another way to change the flavor is by using a different broth. I use two version of all plant broths, one of which is yellow in color and one that is brown. The yellow veggie broth works better with lighter dishes where you might have used chicken or fish and the brown more with darker dishes where you might have used beef or pork.
I really like the firmer texture for seitan and so I tend to knead the dough until it is really stiff. You can cut it, or slice it or use it like a filet. Really useful in a lot of recipes.