Homemade Seitan

Homemade seitan recipe

Store-bought seitan is usually excellent, but it can be expensive. Using pure gluten flour is a shortcut to a homemade version that’s not difficult to make. This recipe may be idiosyncratic, but it works well and with practice produces seitan that’s chewy but not overly tough. Whenever I make this, I freeze half. It’s nice come across and use it a few weeks later.

Makes: About 2 pounds, about 10 servings

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 1/4 cups gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Broth:

  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 to 4 slices fresh ginger

Combine the soy sauce with 1 cup of water in a small mixing bowl. Place the gluten flour and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl and stir together. Gradually add the liquid to form a stiff dough, stirring with a spoon at first, and then working together with your hands.

Turn out onto a floured board and knead 30 times, then return the dough to the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 10 cups water to a simmer in a large soup pot. Add the bouillon cubes, soy sauce, and ginger.

Homemade seitan

Once the water is close to a simmer, divide the dough into two pieces and pull into long, narrow loaves the shape of miniature French breads.

With a sharp, serrated knife, cut each section of dough crosswise into approximately 1/2-inch sections. When the water comes to a simmer, insert each slice. Simmer gently and steadily for 30 minutes. Drain (if desired, save the tasty stock to use for soup or other purpose) and let cool. Use in recipes calling for seitan.

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18 comments on “Homemade Seitan

  1. Brenda

    Do you know of anyone having success with making a gluten free version of this recipe? I try to have my family eat meat-free at least 2 times a week plus at least one day of fish. I would love to try and make seitan but my family all suffers from Celiac Disease. Any suggestions? I know coconut flour is high in protein.

  2. Marisel

    What a great idea to put the seitan in a cold salad. Also, I think this is the first time I ever saw baking powder in a seitan mix. What does it do exactly? Does it make the seitan more airy and not as dense?

  3. Nava Post author

    Brenda, I don’t know of any way to make it gluten-free, as it’s the pure gluten in wheat that is the essence of seitan. However, if you can invent a gluten-free seitan, you will indeed be a heroine!

    Marisel, I do think the baking powder aerates it a bit. It’s still a dense and chewy effect nonetheless.

  4. Faye Levy

    Hi Nava,

    Glad to have found your blog. This recipe is very interesting and it’s nice that it’s fairly simple and the cooking time isn’t very long.
    When I want to buy inexpensive seitan, I go to big Chinese or Vietnamese supermarkets. They refer to it as wheat gluten. When I asked for seitan, they didn’t know what I was talking about.

  5. Nava Post author

    Faye, I wonder if seitan is the Japanese term for it—that may be why the other Asian markets didn’t know to what you were referring.

  6. Susan

    This is the only Seitan recipe I ever use! Having tried others, I concluded that this is the clear winner. It’s an easy recipe, makes lots, keeps well, and the “beef” that results is very authentic, both in flavour and texture.

  7. Janell

    I have a four month old nursling who is sensitive to soy. Is there an alternative to soy sauce I could use in this recipe?

  8. Nava Post author

    Janell, for the seitan, eliminate the soy sauce and use an equivalent amount of water or broth. For the broth, instead of 10 cups water with bouillon cubes and soy sauce, use two 32-ounce cartons of a good vegetable broth like Pacific organic (salted, not salt-free), plus two cups of water. Just make sure to check the label that it’s soy free. that should give you the extra flavor that the soy sauce would provide.

    Good luck and enjoy your little baby — the years go by so fast!

  9. Jennifer Clement

    I had trouble getting all the vital wheat gluten flour mixed into the seitan loaf. (This is my first attempt at making seitan.) Any suggestions on what I may have done wrong? Also, it gunked up all my cooking utensils. Is there an easy way to clean off wheat gluten flour? Thanks!

  10. Nava Post author

    Jennifer — I’m not sure you did anything wrong; you may just not be familiar with the texture that the loaf is supposed to have, which is very, very, dense. I’ve done this many times so I’m confident about the proportions; you just really need to work it all together with your hands, after getting it started with a spoon.

    And the resulting mixture is very “gunky.” You’ll need a scrubby to get it off the bowl and spoon. Once you get the liquid simmering in the pot, though, it shouldn’t mess up the pot at all.

  11. heidi pusina

    I made a gluten-free seitan using a combination of Red-Mill gluten free flour, rice flour, tapioca flour and psyllium husk (the binder).

  12. R.MacKenzie

    Is soy sauce placed in the mixture, as well as, in the liquid to simmer the Seitan in? In the recipe there are two listings for soy sauce, with one under the section for the broth; does it go in the pot with the bouillon and ginger? Should I remove the outside skin of the ginger before putting in the pot? Can this be grounded using a blender and used as a grounded vege meat substitute? I’m hoping to make this today!! I’m so excited!

  13. Nava Post author

    Hi Regina, yes, I clarified that in the instructions; thanks for the catch. The second measurement of soy sauce does go in with the bouillon and ginger. You need not peel the ginger, as it gets removed in the end, in any case. I’m not sure how this would turn out if ground up in a blender. You might want to experiment with just a small portion of it and see how it goes. I think a better veggie “crumbles” type of preparation would work a bit better with tempeh. But try it and see how it goes!

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