Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sundays from Scratch - For the Love of Gluten!

I'm not afraid to say it - I love gluten! When I first became vegan, I lived for seitan - aka gluten or the "wheat meat" which is incredibly high in protein and even higher in deliciousness! Nowadays eating gluten-free is the big thing, but is something I will never embrace. It has always been my view that people who do not have a specific condition requiring a change in diet don't need to follow a particular restricting diet. If I'm not allergic to peanuts, or soy, or gluten, then why should I avoid it? On that note - bring on the gluten!!

I have a few recipes to share today, although I sadly do not have pics of all of them to share with you. I really like blog posts with lots of pictures, so hopefully I will be able to add in more pics later. Although, truthfully, seitan is not the most beautiful food to look at. 

The first recipe is the one I use most, a standard boiled seitan. This is easily doubled or tripled; my kids love to take this in their school lunches so I always at least double the recipe. 

For the dough:
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten 
1/4 cup nutritional yeast 
2/3 cup water 

Broth #1 - a lighter broth, for use in soups or for nuggets, and in my "poultry" style recipes. 

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I usually use 2 1/2 cups water and 1Tbsp organic vegetable Better Than Bouillon)
1tsp Montreal Chicken Spice
1/4 tsp ground sage 
1/4 tsp ground thyme 
1/4 tsp oregano 
1Tbsp Braggs liquid aminos
1 1/2 tsp olive oil 

Broth #2 - a darker broth, for stews or more "beef" - style recipes 

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I usually use 2 1/2 cups water and 1Tbsp organic vegetable Better Than Bouillon)
1tsp Montreal Steak Spice
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1Tbsp Braggs liquid aminos
1 1/2 tsp olive oil 


Heat all broth ingredients in a medium size pot over med - high heat. Bring it just to a boil, then lower to a simmer. 

While the broth is heating up, sift together the gluten and nutritional yeast in a medium size bowl. Add water and stir to combine, until everything is wet. You may need to knead the dough a bit to make sure you don't have dry spots, but don't handle it too much. You should have a big blob of wet dough. From here you can cut it into whatever shape you desire, keeping in mind that it will grow a bit when cooking. I usually cut it into 1/2" chunks, but you could also cut it into strips or patties. Bigger pieces will need to cook longer than smaller pieces. 

Place your dough pieces into the simmering broth, and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your chunks. You'll need to stir them every 10 minutes - they'll puff up a lot, then settle back down when you stir them. 

You can test that they're done by cutting a piece in half. It should no longer be gooey inside. 

Do not allow it to boil dry, and store any leftover seitan in the juice. 

The 2nd recipe I'm going to share today is a completely different style of seitan. It is steamed, and so it has a much smoother, uniform shape. I use this recipe on holidays, in place of tofurky. I really do love tofurky, but the tofurky roasts are much too small to feed the entire family, take too much time in the oven, and can be a bit pricey. I've grown to like this recipe much more than the traditional tofurky roasts. 


1 15-oz can beans - either pinto, great northern or garbanzo will work just fine
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp Organic Vegetable -flavor Better Than Bouillon 
4 tsp olive oil 
1 1/2 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos 
2 tsp Montreal Chicken Spice
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten 

This one is super easy. Put all ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth! You can also smash everything together with a potato masher or with your hands. The food processor will make the smoothest, most consistent dough. It may work best to put the beans and all ingredients except the gluten and nutritional yeast into the food processor first and process until smooth, then add the nutritional yeast and gluten until it is mixed it. 

Now you will place the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and gently knead just enough to make sure there are no dry spots. Then I use a rolling pin to roll out to a rectangle that is about 3/4" thick. I then I begin at one of the long edges and roll into a long tube, similar to making cinnamon rolls. Once it is rolled up tuck the ends under a bit to make them even and smooth. Then wrap tightly in a large piece of aluminum foil, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper. You do want to wrap this tightly - just like the other recipe, seitan loves to grow when it's cooking. If you don't wrap this tightly it will bust out one of the sides, and you'll have an awkard shaped, lopsided loaf. 

You can also cut the dough into pieces, and make smaller, sausage-style logs instead of one big loaf. 

Then you will place this in a large steaming pot and steam for an hour. The seitan will be great just like this, however to be a little more like tofurky, I open the foil, baste with half of the mixture described below, wrap in foil and bake at 375 degrees f for 20 minutes, then uncover, rotate, baste with the remaining mixture and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. 

Tofurky-style baste: 

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos 
1/2 tsp ground sage 
1/4 tsp ground thyme 

Phew! That should be enough seitan to keep you busy for this week. Next Sunday, for Sundays from Scratch,  I plan to have a post - with pictures! - of delicious lentil burgers with home-made buns!

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