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Completed Seitan loaf in a clean pan.

For some reason making seitan confounds many people. Many people I’ve talked to who have tried to make seitan from the box have had disappointing results and I know I was vegan for 14 years before I ever made my first seitan loaf. I have always been kind of astounded when I went to someone’s house and they had made homemade seitan – its always been a bit of a rarity. So for years I bought overpriced bland seitan from White Wave at the supermarket. To be honest, I think I’ve bought pre-packaged seitan once since I learned how to make it myself 2 years ago. Below is my basic seitan recipe:

First off, you could just follow the instructions on the box but when I am making a basic multipurpose Seitan, this is how I do it. I must confess that the root of this recipe was given to me by a fine young woman named Ranise. I lost her recipe a while back and started making my version from broken memories of her recipe. Still, I have to give her proper credit.
Dry Ingredients:
1 10 oz. box Arrowhead Mills Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Wet Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Water
1/4 cup Bragg’s Aminos
2 tbs Liquid Smoke

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

First, combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. Second, and all of the wet ingredients. Third, wash your hands because you’re going to kneed the dough by hand until it is a big grey ball and there is no puddles of moisture at the bottom of the bowl. If there is a lot of moisture add a little more Nutritional Yeast. Put aside for a moment.

Broth:
1 cup Water
2 tbs Bragg’s Aminos
2 tbs Liquid Smoke

Pour these into a glass brownie pan/casserole dish. Put your big ball of dough into the pan and press it down so that its not above the rim of the pan. Stab the loaf a couple of times with a fork and then cover it with aluminum foil.

The dough in a pool of broth.

Once covered, place the pan in the oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Pull it out, stab it a few times with a fork, and then use a metal edged spatula to flip the Seitan loaf. Once flipped, stab it a few more times, re-cover with foil, and put it back in for another half hour. When its done, most of the broth should have either been evaporated or absorbed.
You’ll notice that the instructions on the box say to boil the Seitan, whereas I’m telling you to put it in a broth and bake it. Personally, I think this technique makes for a really moist tender Seitan that isn’t gummy. Thanks again to Ranise for recommending it to me.

Also, the great thing about Seitan is that you can totally change it by changing the seasonings. Replace Garlic and Black Pepper with Sage and Marjoram and suddenly you have more of a sausage blend. I’ll present some of these variations in future posts. 

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