Jan 25, 2015

How to make seitan from flour

I usually cook completely without any vegetarian meat substitutes. The main reason is that most of these commercial products have loads of ingredients - like artificial colors and flavors - to make it more meat-like and I really don't want these in my diet. Most of the time I'm just fine with my legumes, nuts and other natural ingredients to account for my protein intake.

But sometimes, I want to cook something I know from my childhood - some nice hearty comfort food and traditional dishes - and these recipe usually don't work without a nice piece of meat. In this cases, I use this recipe to make some seitan, and while having full control over all ingredients, I can also fit the taste to my needs.

I hope you try it out! ^^

course country time difficulty
Basics - 2h medium

Serves 4
imperial metric
8 cups 1kg flour
2.5 cups 600ml water

imperial metric
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup 60ml soy sauce
1/8 cup 30ml vinegar
6 cup 1.5l water
2 tbsp granulated broth
2 tbsp mustard
2 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf

Of course this is just an orientation, you can drop ingredients you don't like and add others. I find the taste of the seitan with this marinade to be hearty, meaty but not to overwhelming or "specific".
But according to the designated use, you can add more "specific" ingredients like ginger to fit an Asian inspired meal or tomato paste and oregano to fit an Italian dish


  • in a big bowl, mix flour and water
  • using you hand or a kneading machine, knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes until homogeneous
  • fill the bowl with water until the dough is completely covered
  • leave for about 20 min, until you're done with the marinade

  • in a medium pot, heat olive oil and cook onions until browned
  • add garlic and roast for another 2min
  • add all remaining ingredients and stir
  • let the marinade simmer until the dough is prepared

  • begin to knead the dough under water
  • you will notice the water getting milky, that's the starch you're washing out
  • when the water is completely opaque, replace the milky water with fresh water
  • as you continue kneading, the dough will fall apart, leaving small shreds of a rubber-like substance - that's the protein we want (which is not water-soluble)
  • you may use a fine sieve to not loose these shred to the drain, while replacing the water
  • try to knead those loose pieces together by using a "folding movement"
  • continue to knead and replace the water until the water remains (mostly) clear
  • the better you wash out the starch, the firmer the seitan will be
  • loaf will be only a fraction of the size of the original dough, but don't worry, it will grow again
  • cut the seitan in suitable pieces, according to the designated use (but keep in mind, the pieces will double in size during the cooking process
  • now, add the seitan pieces to the simmering marinade and cook for about 1 hour
  • after that, fill everything in a big canning car or a tupperware container (depending on when you want to use is)
  • it's best to leaf the seitan for 1-2d to soak up all the flavor, but you can also use it after a few hours
Before I use the seitan, I usually drain it and stir-fry it in a pan with oil, like I would any meat. Sometimes, I hold back some of the marinade to use it for my sauce.

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