How to make seitan from skeletons

Vital wheat gluten flour

We all have skeletons in our closets.  And by closets I mean pantries.  And by skeletons I mean forgotten, weird ingredients we bought for one recipe and then shoved out of sight.

One of my “skeletons” is a bag of gluten flour.  I bought it to add to whole wheat bread recipes because I read that it helps wheat bread rise better.  It didn’t really work like I thought it would, so the bag was shoved into the bottom shelf of the refrigerator door.  There was no way I would be able to make enough bread to use all of the gluten flour, a few tablespoonfuls at a time, before we leave.  So it was time to get creative.

Seitan recipe

What else can you do with gluten flour?  Before I could get to google, I spotted something interesting on the side of the bag.  Seitan??  I’ve had that before.  I’ve gotten it in restaurants like The Land of Kush.  But seitan has never graced my kitchen.  Considering that the recipe called for 2 cups of the gluten flour, and would create a protein-alternative and save me from buying fish, this was a must-try.

I didn’t have all of the ingredients, so of course I found some creative substitutes.

Marian’s Basic Seitan


Seitan seasonings

  • 2 cups gluten flour
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pizza seasonings
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 bouillon cube

1. Bring water for the broth to a boil with the molasses and the bouillon.

Cutting seitan dough to cook

2. Mix together the gluten flour with all of the spices.  The spices can be adjusted.  I went for an Italian flair instead of the more basic flavorings recommended (because I didn’t have them).  Add water to the mixture and stir into a sponge-like dough.  This should not be an excessively wet.
4. When they are finished, remove from the broth and drain.  3. Knead the dough for a minute to make it tougher and more elastic.  Cut into 2 x 2″ pieces.  Mine were all kinds of shapes, and they all turned out fine.  Put the pieces into the boiling broth and cook for one hour.

Boiling seitan in brothStep 2 cooking seitanBoiling seitan stage 3Seitan finished boiling

So now we have seitan!  Yes, it looks like brown brains.

So what did we do with it?  I chopped it up into 1/2 in pieces and added it to spaghetti sauce, peppers, and spaghetti noodles.  Add a spinach salad, top both with some romano cheese, and voila!  Dinner is served.

Seitan spaghetti

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