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Seitan from Scratch

Seitan (wheat-meat) is best when left to gently simmer for several hours and, once again, the slow cooker comes to the rescue. For a firmer texture, add ¼ cup of powdered wheat gluten to the mix. The cooking liquid may be strained and used as a stock in sauces, soups, and other recipes. This recipe calls for a 6-quart slow cooker. To make it in a smaller cooker, cook the seitan in less water with fewer vegetables—just enough to make everything fit.

Cooking Time4 min

Cooking Methodslow cooking

CostInexpensive

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Equipmentcrock pot

Taste and Texturechewy, savory

Ingredients

  • 1 large carrot, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ cup tamari or other soy sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2½ quarts plus 3 cups water, or more as needed
  • 6 cups whole wheat flour (about 2 pounds)

Instructions

  1. Combine the carrot, onion, garlic, tamari, and bay leaves in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add 2½ quarts of the water, cover, and turn the heat setting to High.

  2. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the remaining 3 cups water. Stir well to combine, adding a little more water if the dough is too dry. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl and add enough warm water to cover. Let it rest for 20 minutes.

  3. Place the bowl holding the dough and water in the sink. Knead the dough in the bowl until the water turns white. Drain the liquid, then cover with fresh water and knead again until the water in the bowl turns white. Repeat the process, using fresh water each time, until the water is almost clear. The dough should now be a smooth ball of wheat gluten, or raw seitan.

  4. Depending on how you plan to use it, leave the raw seitan whole or divide into 4 smaller pieces and add to the simmering stock. Change the heat setting to Low, cover, and cook for 4 to 6 hours.

  5. Remove the cooked seitan from the cooker and transfer to a baking sheet to cool. If you are not using the seitan right away, it can be stored submerged in its stock in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days or frozen for several weeks.

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