I finally made seitan that didn't remind me of spongy brains! I read the comments on this post at the PPK and realized that the sponginess was the result of too much water. So I decided to err on the side of not enough water. And behold! It totally worked. My other changes were the yield (I halved the recipe) and the amount of salt (many people commented that the original recipe was too salty for their tastes). It's still a bit like magic how instantly the gluten transforms from a flour to... something quite different. As Isa suggests, I pan-fried the strips of seitan with garlic before doing anything else with them.
I used the seitan in a stir-fry with garlic, onions, and shiitake mushrooms (and tamari, and mirin, etc). The umami was overwhelming.
Seitan and Mushrooms Stir-Fry
(adapted from the post punk kitchen)
1/2 c vital wheat gluten flour
1.5 TB nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 c cold vegetable broth
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1/2 TB olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed or grated on a microplane grater
For the simmering broth:
2 c vegetable broth
2 c water
1 TB cup soy sauce
Instructions1. Fill a stock pot with the water, broth and soy sauce, cover and bring to a boil.
2. In the mean time, in a large bowl mix together gluten and yeast. In a smaller bowl mix together broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Pour the wet into the dry and combine with a wooden spoon until most of the moisture has absorbed and partially clumped up with the dry ingredients. Use your hands and knead for about 3 minutes, until it’s an elastic dough. Divide into 2 equal pieces with a knife and then knead those pieces in your hand just to stretch them out a bit. Let rest until the broth has come to a full boil.
3. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the gluten pieces and partially cover pot so that steam can escape. Let simmer for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Turn the heat off and take the lid off, let sit for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from broth and place in a strainer until it is cool enough to handle. Slice and use as desired--pan-fry with some garlic before adding to recipes. Makes about 1/2 lb seitan.