Basic Seitan

This is the finished seitan, ready to use in Asian stirfry and specialty dishes. In this state it can be sliced to your specifications for sandwiches, or made into jerky.

The fresher the wheat the better. If you can grind your own wheat and use it right away, this is the best way. You will see the difference in elasticity and vitality in the end product.


Red hard wheat is the best to use. DO NOT USE PASTRY WHEAT. What you are looking for is the glutten content of the wheat. There are some flours sold as glutten flour, but I have not used them.

My grinder holds 4 lbs (2 quart containers such as yogurt) of wheat berries.

For every two measures of wheat, one measure of water.

  1. Grind wheat
  2. Add half amount of water
  3. Knead as you would bread, more is better to develop the glutten
  4. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes in a large bowl, covered with water.
  5. Put bowl in sink and let not quite cold water soak in. Take the ball of dough and gently squish it and move it around. It will yield a lot of white now. This is starch. You want to wash and wash until the water is clear and the starch and most of the bran is gone. May take up to half an hour. (Note: if you live in the country you may want to pour the starch out into the compost or it may clog up the drains after awhile, also some people like to save the starch for other recipes.)
  6. Have a large pot of water on to boil with a basket that can be lowered into it. They sell cheap stainless steamers like this.
  7. At some point it may look like it is falling apart. Gather it together so it does not fall apart.
  8. It will produce a mass about half of what you began with.
  9. Turn water down in pot so that it is HOT BUT NOT BOILING. Boiling will make it spongy. What you want is density of product. Traditional Asian recipes add tamari and seaweed and maybe ginger. I cook it plain in just water.
  10. Put the blob that is smooth (and looks like a fat lady's fanny - one cheek) into the hot water, cover and leave it for more than four hours. I used to make it late at night, put it in the pots, and then go to bed. In the morning, first thing, turn off the heat.
  11. You may work with it if it is hot, but you can leave it to cool off too.
  12. Store in water and a little tamari if you like. It is quite perishable so go ahead and freeze some, or use it for different recipes. You can use it for jerky now, of slice it as cold cuts or cube it for special stirfries (ie with olive oil, cayenne, garlic and ginger and tamari after off heat).
  13. You will become more and more used to handling the seitan and sensing the quality of the wheat. Not all the best wheat is large, some small wheatberries make nice tough seitan. I had a batch once that was so alive it was lavender in color. (Guisto's wheat)

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