If you’re not familiar with the term seitan or wheat meat, it refers to a meat substitute that you can make from flour. Wheat meat has a “meatier” texture as a meat substitute than most others such as tofu. That was the consensus at least before the most modern substitutes like the inconceivable burger, or whatever it is called. Vegetarians who make their own wheat meat would typically just buy vital wheat gluten rather than starting with flour because it vastly simplifies the process. But if you’re a prepper, then you may have a few hundred pounds of wheat berries stored for making flour. You probably don’t have as much meat stored. At some point you may want or need to use a vegetable meat substitute. To make seitan, you go through a process of developing the gluten (proteins) in flour, washing away the starch and bran, and adding flavorings.
Below is a recipe for making seitan from Delectable Planet. Please note that the amount of starch that you wash away will affect your final texture. How well you cook it will also affect the texture. The higher your flour protein the better for this. If you can get locally sourced high protein wheat berries, you’re set. If you have to buy flour, then flours designated as bread flour will be your high protein sources- whole wheat flour will be best. You can find numerous recipes on the internet for making seitan/wheat meat as well as different tips for making it. All of the additions aside from flour and water are to improve flavor and consistency, so you can still make this if you’re missing some ingredients. Experiment and find the texture/flavor profile that you like best.
You can also save the rinse water that has the starch and bran and use it as a soup base so as not to be throwing away those calories. This starch water can also be used in making crackers and pizza crust. Additionally, if you set aside the rinse water in a large jar or container and let it sit, it should eventually settle out to three layers – water, starch, and bran. At that point you can pour off the water and then spoon out the starch and bran separately for use in things like gravy and bran muffins.
For even more detail on the process, consult The Amazing Wheat Book by LeArta Moulton which has several pages devoted to this process as well as using the rinse water.
Seitan is a high-protein food made from wheat gluten.Yields: Serves 8-10
For the Seitan:
2 1/2 pounds wheat flour (7-8 cups)
2 tsp spices
2 T nutritional yeast
1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
2 1/2 cups water
For the boiling stock:
2 T vegetable stock powder
3 tsp spices
1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
4 cups water
In a large ceramic or glass bowl, combine the flour, nutritional yeast and spices. Add the tamari or soy sauce and 3 1/2 cups of water. With a wooden spoon, begin mixing. When it gets too sticky, continue mixing with your hands. When it starts to come together, turn out onto a board or counter-top and begin kneading. Knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough no longer sticks to the counter-top and is like bread dough — adding small amounts of flour if necessary. Roll into a ball and let it rest in the bowl for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the cooking liquid. In a large stock pot with a lid, mix the vegetable stock powder, spices, tamari or soy sauce and four cups of water.
Take the bowl with the dough to the sink. Fill the bowl with warm water and begin gently kneading the dough inside the bowl of water. Keep the water running and knead for 15-20 minutes until the water becomes clear. As you knead, do your best to keep the dough together. Cool the water as you go so that by the time the water is clear, you are using cold water. At that point, let the seitan sit in cold water for a few minutes so it firms up.
After a few minutes, drain the seitan in a colander.
Boil the seitan whole, in pieces or form into logs or patties.
Add the seitan to the stock pot. Bring everything to a boil, lower the temperature, cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes. When it’s done, turn off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Drain the seitan. For a firmer texture, press out the water with the back of a spoon.
Store in a sealed container, with or without the juices, for up to a week or freeze in airtight containers for a month or two.
The spices can be any mixture you choose. Try onion, garlic and ginger for an Asian taste; basil, oregano, rosemary and sage for Italian; or garlic, cumin, cilantro and red pepper for Mexican.
If you don’t have vegetable stock powder, use your favorite pre-made stock from a carton.
Use the simmering stock for soup.
When washing the seitan, place the dough in a colander or seive 2 or 3 times during the process. Squeeze the dough and rinse to help remove a little more of the starch.
You can also bake, steam, deep fry or saute the seitan instead of boiling it.
Use seitan in stir fry, pasta dishes, simmer in gravy, smother with tomato sauce, bake in casseroles, and warm and add to sandwiches.
See also Wheat Meat Success from Preparedness Pro.