Homemade Seitan & Heartbreak

In honor of the “I like making stuff” kick I’m on, last night I made seitan for the first time.

Not much to look at

Sorry. Seitan is pretty ugly.

I pretty much followed the recipe from Totally Vegetarian: Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian by Toni Fiore, but you can find a seitan recipe anywhere (there was even one on the back of the box of vital wheat gluten I had).

Any time I see “kneading” in recipe instructions, I worry that it’s going to be a pain in the ass. This, however, was very easy kneading. Gluten is kind of amazing. As soon as you add the liquid, it turns into a dough really fast and it’s a nice, polite dough that stays together and doesn’t stick to anything. The hardest part of making homemade seitan was watching it while it was simmering for an hour — if I didn’t check on it often enough (which turned out to be every few minutes), they got all gigantic and puffy. Don’t worry if this happens — if you add more liquid, turn down the heat, and stir, all will be well.

I just tried a few bites last night, pan fried and doused with hot wing sauce. It was pretty good (not quite firm enough), but I think it’ll be much better cut into strips, deep fried, and tossed in hot wing sauce. Seitan wings (with really good ranch dressing) are just about my favorite thing in the world. (If you’re in the Denver area, go to City O City and have their wings. They’re the best.)

What I recommend if you make seitan (and the directions didn’t say this) is removing the seitan from the broth and storing it in the refrigerator, at least overnight. This will help it firm up a bit.

Also, this is my new favorite song.