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VwaV Seitan

Okay, so the first and only time before this that I tried to make seitan, it was a miserable failture. Spongey. Puffy. Overall not a good time. But I've been wanting to try it again, and Vegan with a Vengeance has yet to steer me wrong. So I embarked once more on the journey to seitanic glory, hopeful and hesitant.

The verdict? Excellent. So much better than last time that it's just ridiculous. It firmed up beautifully. The interior is solid - none of that spongey, pock-marked business. I'd give this recipe 5 gold stars. That's pretty much the highest goodness rating a recipe can get 'round these here parts.

Changes: I used tamari instead of soy sauce in the broth (but not the seitan itself) because I had more tamari on hand; I kneaded the gluten mixture for twice as long as instructed (10 minutes instead of 5) because I'm a chronic overachiever; I let the dough rest for about 25 minutes because I remember reading somewhere that it allows the gluten to develop a bit more, which results in a firmer seitan. And I am all about a firm texture where seitan is concerned. Also, I cut the gluten log into 7 pieces instead of 6. Not that that really makes any difference.

The recipe below is as it's written in the book, sans my alterations.

VwaV Seitan
Recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup cold water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely grated
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the broth:

12 cups water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup soy sauce

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl; mix the wet stuff (including garlic and lemon zest) in a smaller bowl. Pour the wet into the dry and combine. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until spongey and elastic. Let it rest for a few minutes while preparing the broth. Combine the stock and soy sauce in a large pot, but don't turn the heat on yet.

Roll the dough into a log about 10'' long; cut it into 6 equal pieces. Drop the pieces into the cold broth. Partially cover the pot and bring the broth to a boil. After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour. Gently turn the pieces every once in a while.

Turn off the heat and let everything cool for at least 30 minutes - letting it cool completely is better.

From this point, do with it what you will. It can be stored, covered with broth, in the frige for 5 days or so. I think you can freeze it as well, but the book doesn't comment on that. I may report back on that at a later date.

Makes about 6 cups of seitan. I count 1/2 cup as a serving, so for me this recipe yields 12 servings.

Nutritional Information: 126 calories, 1.25 g fat (0.1 g saturated fat), 1 g fiber, 16 g protein @ 12 servings. Holy protein, Batman! Note that this does not include whatever calories, etc. may be absorbed from the cooking broth, but since that's just stock and soy sauce it shouldn't make that much of a difference.


Uncooked gluten, Dali-style.

My first try at seitan was a "spongy, pock-marked mess as well." I mean it wasn't terrible, but not my ideal in the meat-substituted department. Actually I used this same recipe (although I got it off the PPK website, pre-VwaV). Anyway, next time I attempt it I'll have to try out your tips, and hope I get firmer results.

The one difference between the PPK recipe and the VwaV recipe is the amount of vital wheat gluten. The PPK recipes uses 1 1/2 cups; the VwaV recipe uses 2. I know the gluten to liquid ratio has a big effect on the texture, so that increase probably helped the recipe out a bit.

I've made this recipe a few times now with excellent results as well. The only time I made seitan before, I used a recipe where you start with regular flour and knead it and wash it several times. It came out good, but using the gluten flour is so much quicker and easier.

I've never tried using regular flour - it always seemed like so much more work. But I agree, this recipe is a winner.

I love the VwaV seitan recipe. Better than the stuff in the store and a lot cheaper.

Now howsabout your bbq seitan recipe? :)

I've never attempted seitan at home, but considering how much I spend on it at the grocery store I think I'll give this a try, doesn’t sound too difficult. Have you ever tried adding extra ingredients to vary flavor?

Wow. wow. I am so all about this. weekend project!
Thanks for the inspiration. I'm giddy! And clearly an aspiring vegan dork.

matt - It really is a lot cheaper to make your own. I figured out that one serving of homemade costs me $0.25 while one serving of storebought is $2.50. That's craziness. And I just posted what little BBQ recipe there is for ya, man. :)

shananigans - This is the first recipe I've made with any flavorings at all, so no, as of yet I haven't tried different spices and whatnot. But I've seen recipes around for "beef" seitan and "chicken" seitan and so on, so I know it's possible.

ms. mercedes - You should definitely make it! It's my new favorite thing. And I'm a vegan dork, so dorkiness is not only acceptable but downright encouraged around here. :)

For many people, being vegan is more than simply saying farewell to flesh products. For many vegans, this lifestyle includes adopting a particular mindset that is alert to animal rights issues, health needs, personal respect for life and concern for the environment's capacity to feed all living beings.

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