How to make seitan

I am looking for advice on how to make seitan. As a new vegan, I find that I really like seitan due to its "meat-like" texture. However, I have been unsuccessful in making my own. While the flavor is great, the texture is too soft. Any suggestions? I don't know whether to knead it more or cook it longer..I have tried 2 recipes, both of which were disappointing!

Murrieta, CA


Sassy Sez: Hi Kathy! Wow, I commend you for making your own seitan. I have always been too busy (and yes, too chicken!) to make my own.

So I turned to my good friend Debbie Hickerson who has mastered the art of making seitan. I sent her your question, and here's what she had to say...

"Hi Sassy!

If Kathy is making seitan from scratch, that is, starting from regular flour (not hi-gluten), she may need to knead it longer. I would guess, though, that it actually needs more starch rinsed out of it. There is a fine line between not enough starch rinsed out and too much - it is possible to rinse away most of your gluten, too.

I also like to make mine from half white and half whole wheat flour. I feel like this also improves the texture.

For what it's worth, here's my recipe - feel free to share it with her. :)"

Gluten Steaks - Step One
Recipe By: Debbie Hickerson
Serving Size : 6

3 cups Whole Wheat Flour -- fresh hard red spring
3 cups unbleached flour
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water

Mix flour and water until you have a bread-like, kneadable dough. Add small amounts of flour or water if needed to reach desired consistency. Knead for 15 to 20 minutes on a floured board, or until elastic.

Form dough into a ball; put in non-metallic bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 30 minutes. Knead dough under water. The starch and bran will separate from the gluten. Change water as often as it gets cloudy.

The dough will become rubbery as the starch and bran wash out. Continue rinsing until most of the starch and bran is washed out. (Be careful! Some cooks have washed away almost all of the dough and ended up with nothing.)
You should have about 1 1/2 cups gluten left.

Note: Substitute 1 cup of Do-Pep* or high gluten flour for 1/2 cup whole wheat plus 1/2 cup unbleached flour, if desired. There will be a greater amount of gluten left.

* Do-Pep is a brand of vital wheat gluten, a flour made from the protein found in wheat. Other brands include Bob's Red Mill and Hodgson Mill.
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Gluten Steaks - Step Two

Recipe By: Debbie Hickerson

G. Washington's Rich Brown Broth (or use your favorite vegetable bouillon/broth)
Kitchen Bouquet
Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
Sea salt

Use any or all of the above ingredients (or any other seasonings you particularly like) to make 2 to 3 quarts of brown broth. Sometimes I use fresh vegetables and blend them, sometimes onion and garlic powder. If desired, simmer vegetables for several hours and strain; discard vegetables. The key is that it should be stronger than you want the steaks to taste.

Roll raw gluten into roll like cookie dough, and slice.

Flatten slices with your hand, and stretch slightly as you drop them into boiling broth. Boil 1 hour, adding water as needed to keep liquid covering tops of steaks (they will expand in size as they cook).

Refrigerate overnight in broth.
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Gluten Steaks - Step Three
"Breading Meal"

Recipe By: Debbie Hickerson

1 cup unbleached flour -- (1 to 1 1/2)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. thyme and marjoram
1/4 cup brewer's yeast

Mix together.

Remove steaks from broth and squeeze slightly, wiping excess broth back into pot.

Dip each steak into breading meal, making sure it is breaded on both sides.

Fry in oil until browned.

Serve hot with cranberry sauce.

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I also love The Buddhist Chef and here's how he makes his seitan.

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Hope this helps, Kathy! Many thanks go out to my good friend, Debbie and The Buddhist Chef. Enjoy! :) xo

Comments for How to make seitan

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Wow! Respect for seitan makers increases! :)
by: Lesley

This was great, Sassy and Debbie -- very clear yet with all the important details. Thanks so much!

Though I *am* going to try it myself sometime, and I'll definitely use this method, in the meantime I've discovered the most wonderful "convenience food" seitan ever in the Field Roast company of Seattle.

I'm all the way on the other side of the continent -- and in Canada -- so I'm very grateful that their amazing yummy food is getting all the way here.

Best of all, get this: my husband still eats beef and chicken occasionally, and hates "fake meat" such as soy protein, and he LOVES Field Roast sausages. So much so that when I wanted to buy them in bulk, he enthusiastically said yes!

So much for going totally gluten-free, but if you can eat it, Field Roast food is well worth it!

Awesome :)
by: Sassy

Hi Lesley!

Thanks, and so happy you like the seitan instructions. Debbie is the best. :)

I have been hearing SO MUCH about Field Roast lately. I have tried it in the past but so rarely use the fake stuff that whenever I DID need some I went with my old faves. I'll definitely have to give it another go sometime in the near future. Glad you and hubby have found something that works for both of you! :)

Giant hugs,

making my own wheat meat
by: Anonymous

I have been making seitan "wheat meat" for almost 40 years. I use 8 cups of bread flour, with 3 1/2 cups of water. Knead until it starts to get sticky. Cover the ball with very warm water, and rinse, kneading out the out the starch..after about 15 minutes using cool water, replacing water in bowl while kneading as it gets milky color. It takes about 10 minutes to rinse..or until the water is barely gray. I cook mine with 2 cups of water and seasonings in an electric pressure cooker for 15 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. It can be sliced or ground or cubed, or frozen for future use. This yields 2 pounds of seitan. I learned this method as a young girl at a vegetarian cooking class many years ago. Can change broth to poultry flavor, sea wheats using dulse seaweed..or soy based broth for a beef flavor.

Sounds good!
by: Sassy

YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Thanks for the tips! xo!

Seitan nutrients
by: Anonymous

Hi, am wondering how good for you seitan actually is?

Not sure about breading and frying it!

Do your own thing with seitan...
by: Sassy

Hi there --

Seitan is made from wheat gluten -- so it's packed with protein. But I personally consider it a fun food and eat it occasionally. Not everyone has an easy time digesting it. Best to buy some and experiment on yourself to see how it goes.

The recipe is for those who like it and know it works for them and their unique constitution. Just because a recipe appears on this site, doesn't mean it's for everybody. You really need to find your own way in the world of food, whether vegan or not.

As far as the frying goes, that's just what Debbie chose to do with her seitan. You certainly don't have to do that. You can just slice it and add it to another dish. Or make these French Dip au jus sandwiches. Use seitan as you would have used roast beast in your pre-vegan days.

Hope this helps clear things up. Happy cooking!    :)

Bob Mills Vital Wheat Gluten
by: Carol

I used to make seiten the old fashion way, rinsing the starch from the flour, either white flour or whole wheat, but NO MORE! It is so easy with no mess using Bob Mill's Vital Wheat Gluten flour. If you live out west, you can find it in bulk at WINCO, which is very inexpensive. OR you can buy it prepackaged in 22 oz. bags in most any grocery store in the health food section. All you have to do, is make a broth:

4-6 c. water
1/3 c. soy sauce
1 T. Kitchen Bouquet (for brown color)
1 -2 T. McKay's beef broth (Vegan, at health food store)
1 T. Garlic Powder
1 pkg. onion soup mix (Lipton or any brand)

Mix all together and bring to boil.

I use warm water, 1 1/2c. in a bowl, using a wire wisk to stir QUICKLY, dump a level c. of gluten flour all at once and stir. It instantly forms a soft ball. That's it! Cut and flatten out to any size patty you want and drop it in the broth. I cook on a low boil for 45 min. Then turn the heat off, lift out of broth (which you can use to make gravy with cornstarch) and I dip them in a scrambled egg and then in crushed saltine crackers seasoned with garlic powder and seasoned salt, and fry. Sometimes I serve on a platter, with sautéed mushrooms and onion slices on top. These are delicious and crispy on the outside with the crumbs. You can also make a casserole by frying and placing in a Corningware casserole dish and cover with the broth after you thicken with cornstarch. Serve with vegetable, mashed potatoes and you have a wonderful meal. I have used this method for 30 years and it is much quicker and fool proof. Be especially careful to mix the flour INTO the water, NOT water in the flour or you will have a disaster! Also, stir quickly off the sides of the bowl to not have any unmixed lumps. You will LOVE this method and it is wonderful, quick and not messy. I serve them fried on a bun with pickle, onion, tomato slices and they are always a hit with my guests.

by: Sassy

Sounds easy and delicious! Thank you for sharing, Carol! :) xo!

Brewers Yeast
by: Etienne

I see most seitan recipes use soya sauce to complete the amino acid profile of seitan. Would brewers yeast be a good substitute for soya suace? How much would one have to use for every 1kg of gluten flour?
Thank you.

Vital Wheat Gluten Option
by: Anonymous

Responding to the comment about using vital wheat gluten, there are advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that it is easier to pre-flavor the gluten, that is, by mixing the flavorings (soy sauce, nutritional yeast, ect.) in with the dry ingredients prior to kneading the dough. All those flavorings would get washed out during the rinsing process if you're starting with regular flour. Another advantage is that it the process to make the gluten is faster since you're cutting out the rinsing process.

The disadvantage, and this is a big one, is that vital wheat gluten is hella expensive. I checked yesterday in my local store and the Bob's Redmill brand equated to around $8/lb. Compare that to inexpensive flour!

Shelf life
by: Patafikss

Thank you for your recipe !
I would like to know how long it can be kept in the fridge, and if frozen how long it can stay in the freezer before going bad.

Thank you very much for all your efforts,
Have a nice day!

can a food processor be used?
by: Linda Bonnie

During the pre-rinse knead (15-20 minutes advised) could a food processor with a bread attachment be used? enjoy your site!

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