Seitan - method i

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
6 cups Whole wheat bread flour (Stone-ground), -=OR=- Hi-gluten unbleached white
3 cups Water (or more), (depending on the amount of gluten in the flour)
½ cup Tamari
12 slices Fresh ginger (each about 1/8\" thick)
1 \N Piece kombu, about 3\" long

Yield: 14 ounces uncooked; 16 ounces cooked Time: 1 hour preparation; 2 hours cooking

Mix the flour and water by hand or in a machine to make a medium-stiff but not sticky dough. Knead the dough by hand on a breadboard or tabletop, until it has the consistency of an earlobe, or by machine until the dough forms a ball that follows the path of the hook around the bowl. You may need to add a little extra water or flour to achieve the desired consistency. Kneading with take about 10 to 12 minutes by machine. Allow the dough to rest in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the stock. In a large pot, bring to boil 3 quarts of water. Add the tamari, ginger, and kombu, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. This stock must be cold before it's used. (The cold liquid causes the gluten to contract and prevents the seitan from acquiring a bready texture.) You will be using this stock to cook the seitan later.

To wash out the starch, use warm water to begin with. Warm water loosens the dough and makes the task easier. Knead the dough, immersed in water, in the bowl. When the water turns milky, drain it off and refill the bowl with fresh water. In the final rinses, use cold water to tighten the gluten. If you wish, save the bran by straining the water through a fine sieve; the bran will be left behind. Save the starch by allowing the milky water to settle in the bottom of the bowl; slowly pour off the water and collect the starch, which you can use for thickening soups, sauces, and stews.

When kneading, remember to work toward the center of the dough so that it does not break into pieces. After about eight changes of water, you will begin to feel the dough become firmer and more elastic. The water will no longer become cloudy as you knead it. To make sure you have kneaded and rinsed it enough, lift the dough out of the water and squeeze it. The liquid oozing out should be clear, not milky.

To shape the seitan, lightly oil a 1-pound loaf pan. Place the rinsed seitan in the pan and let it rest until the dough relaxes. (After the dough has been rinsed for the last time in cold water, the gluten will have tightened and the dough will be tense, tough, and resistant to taking on any other shape.) After it has rested for 10 minutes, it will be much more flexible.

Seitan is cooked in two steps. In the first step, the dough is put into a large pot with about 3 quarts of plain, boiling water. Boil the seitan for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until it floats to the surface. Drain the seitan and cut it into usable pieces (steaks, cutlets, 1-inch chunks, or whatever) or leave whole. Return the seitan to the cold tamari stock. Bring the stock to a boil, lower temperature, and simmer in the stock for 1-½ to 2 hours (45 minutes if the seitan is cut into small pieces). The second cooking step may also be done in a pressure cooker, in which case it would take between 30 to 45 minutes.

To store seitan, keep it refrigerated, immersed in the tamari stock.

Seitan will keep indefinitely if it is brought to a boil in the tamari stock and boiled for 10 minutes twice a week. Otherwise, use it within eight or nine days.

VARIATIONS: Instead of boiling the seitan in plain water and then stock, let the seitan drain for a while after it has been rinsed.

Slice it and either deep-fry or saute the slices until both sides are brown. Then cook it in the tamari stock according to the recipe.

Seitan also may be cooked (at the second step) in a broth flavored with carrots, onion, celery, garlic, tamari, and black pepper, which will give it a flavor similar to pot roast. Shiitake mushrooms may also be added to the stock.

Source: Friendly Foods - by Brother Ron Pickarski, O.F.M. ISBN: 0-89815-377-8 Typed (mistakes and all) by Karen Mintzias

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