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Seitan Woes

Okay guys,
I try and I try and I TRY and the only kind of seitan I can get to work in recipes is the kind you buy prepared. But I REALLY want to make my own. One recipe came out too bready, another too spongey and wet, another tasted a bit like dog food...

What are your seitan tips and tricks? What recipes have you been successful with? What ones should I not even bother with? And then, how do you use your seitan?

Give me seitan 101!  :)

I like different types of seitan for different things. Sometimes the spongey stuff is good for a "beef chunk" kind of recipe. It depends on what you're going to be using it for.

Rubbery seitan means you boiled the piss out of it. Bad idea. I don't even really let it boil. Once the water starts to form those little bitty bubbles, I turn that shit down and let it cook.

For less spongelike seitan: I up the oil content in my seitan recipes. I also like to add 1/4 cup of chickpea flour (besan) for every cup of gluten. I do this for every seitan recipe. It seems to help. Oil gives it a better texture. Think of a cake without oil. It's got big air pockets and is dry and lifeless. Gluten is the same way.

For chewier seitan, I do two things.

1) Bake that shit in some broth. It's chewier/meatier than boiled seitan. There's a great recipe that uses this method in v-con.

2) This is my new favorite way to get chewy gluten steaks. Once you're done kneading your seitan, fry that shit in some oil until brown and crispy on both sides. THEN boil it, but not for as long. This is serious business. I've made some great "ribs" like this, and chicken fried seitan steaks. The texture is very close to storebought fake chicken products when you do this. It's stringy, meaty, chewy. I haven't perfected this yet, but I'm working on it!

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ooooh thanks! i'm gonna have to try these out!

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I am veery intrigued by SB's second suggestion so I wanna hear if anyone else has done this!

Like SB, I use different types of seitan for different things.

If I'm making a chili or something spicy, then I'll often go for a 'pepperoni' or 'chorizo' kind of seitan - these types I often wrap in foil and steam - they come out reasonably dense, but no bready or brainy texture.

For curries or pies, I sometimes use 'chicken' style seitan and again these ae often steamed - my current favourite recipe has chickpea flour in and is baked in a water bath after being wrapped in foil (recipe in Vegan Diner).

The other type of seitan I use (which I think is the type you're trying for) is what I call plain seitan - not really that flavoured and usually cooked in broth.  My absolute favourite recipe for this is in Vegan on the Cheap and contains blended beans in the dough.  This is then placed in broth and simmered for sometime - I have found that the addition of beans really helps the texture and doesn't give the brainy texture that other simmered seitan can have.  I have even completely mucked up with this recipe and boiled it in the broth *gasp* and it's come out with only a little bit of the spongy stuff on the outside.

I use seitan in loads of different ways - in chunks in chilis, whizzed in my food processor to give a 'mince' to put into chili or bolognaise, strips sautéd in a bit of oil and soy sauce and served with satay sauce (my omni boyfriend's current favourite), cicken style seitan sliced thinly in sandwiches, seitan sausage and mash, seitan ribz, ppepperoni style seitan sauted and then added to a 'carbonara'-type sauce, added to stir fries.....and lots of other ways I can't think of.

I used to live in the UK where it was nearly impossible to get gluten flour and so have only been making seitan since I moved to NZ - just over a year ago....and I joke to my bf that we can never move back to the UK as I don't want to be without homemade seitan ever again, and he agrees!

If you want me to PM you any of my favourite seitan recipes, just let me know.  Seitan rules!

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What sb said.

I've found recipes that contain some flour (either wheat or chickpea) come out less spongey/gummy and have a better texture. I think pure gluten isn't as good for "meaty"ness as gluten with some starch (as flour or mashed beans).

The best-textured seitan I've made is either baked dry and wrapped in foil (gets a little bit of a crust), baked in a water bath (where the water comes 1/2 way up the sides of the pan), or baked in broth. Simmering (not boiling) works too, but I find any form of baking it is more fail-safe.

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Viva Vegan's Red Seitan (Steam 15 minutes longer), Viva Vegan's White Seitan, Vegan Dad's Veggie Lunch Meat

there is a "Seitan O Greatness" recipe that a lot of people like... I'm having a hard time finding it... Shell? LLG? AC? I know one of you guys have the link...

my preferred method is steaming... boiling seems to come out rubbery for me

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My preferred method is also to wrap it in foil and steam it. I've never had much luck with boiled/simmered seitan.

And the VeganDad Lunchmeat recipe is awesome, I've tried it.

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i like the "turkey" one

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From VeganDad?

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yes

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You guys didn't find the Vegan Dad lunchmeat bland?  The texture was decent but...

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yes

Oh man, I didn't even know it existed until just now! I know what I'll be making this week!

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You guys didn't find the Vegan Dad lunchmeat bland?  The texture was decent but...

hmmmmm not really... and i didn't have all the spices even... i did smother some ketchup on it though like a meatloaf sammie

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I think I did find the vd lunch meat blandish - from what I remember I used double the herbs/spices.

And yeah, the seitan o greatness recipe is, well, great ;).  here's one link: http://yeahthatveganshit.blogspot.com/2007/04/infamous-seitan-recipe-o-greatness.html

there's also a chicken version of it which I really liked, recipe here: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=19209.msg437379#msg437379

they're both really easy recipes....and I haven't made them in ages, why why why!?

Maybe next weekend, I'm pretty much cooked out today.

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oh all these tips are just awesome, i have been positively CONFOUNDED about my seitan. i'm going to try all this different stuff. my boyfriend (omni, but doesn't necessarily care much about meat) really likes seitan so I want to have fun experimenting with different kinds and different ways to use it. he is a pretty big fan of sandwiches and roast beef dinners so i'd love to make him something like a seitan meatloaf, or a seitan cutlet type thing....or maybe i will cheat and get a field roast  type thingy.....

but now i'm excited about seitan!

shelloid, i would love any recipes you'd like to share--i've got a whole bunch of vwg and i'm going to experiment the heck out of seitan!

as far as my spongey stupid hunks of seitan that i have wrapped in the fridge...tonight i'm going to try and revive them Schnitzel-style to go with some pesto and sauteed veggies.

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I really like all of the sausage recipes from Vegan Brunch, too. Here's a recipe from the website: http://www.theppk.com/2011/05/smoky-maple-sausages/

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or maybe i will cheat and get a field roast  type thingy.....

Totally worth cheating for. Those things are packed with oil. Wonder how they cook that stuff!

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SUCCESS! Sweet success! Thanks to the tips from everyone I made and then actually served seitan for dinner.

I used the recipe in VCON for seitan cutlets but cut them into a "rib" style like in Dragonfly's Vegan Ribs recipe. I added 1 1/2 more Tbs of oil than called for as well as 1/4 c of chickpea flour. Then I pan fried them using peanut oil, then put them in the glass dish and just barely covered them in broth. I let them bake in the oven for a bit and then took them out, put them on a colander and pressed down. Then I smothered them in tahini and bbq sauce (more inspiration from Dragonfly's recipe) and baked them a whole bunch more. YUM. These were good. I'm not sure if each thing I did was totally necessary but they were tasty so I'm gonna stick with it!

Next Sunday I'll be making seitan for a jambalaya.....here we go again!

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