Do not get me wrong. We find it quite nice when we are in interviews, as recently occurred but often, to be addressed, that we allegedly never cook with meat substitutes.
Apart from the fact that this is not even so correct: fresh vegetables, like regional and seasonal as possible, comes on us in any case on the dearest on the table.
But does that mean that we never bite heartily into the tofu sausage, which was previously loaded with about a kilo of mustard? No. We also do not find “meat substitutes” “disgusting” or demonizing the use of the words steak or schnitzel because we’re vegans. (Take that, Minister of Agriculture of all countries!) As a vegan, I put the forbidden words in my mouth.)
Even if we do not necessarily like the name, meat substitutes – in whatever form – are at least one ingredient for us that can make it easier for new vegans to make the transition, and otherwise just something that tastes plain and simple.
However, we only use finished products in exceptional cases. Although not all are so bad, so saline and fatty as we have been hewn by the media in recent years left and right around the ears, but let’s face it: homemade is always better.
And today it’s finally time. We devote ourselves to years, in which he had to spend on the blog actually rather a shadowy existence our dearest “meat substitute” and prove to you: To produce really good Seitan itself is extremely easy and in addition very favorable. Somebody is supposed to claim that living vegan is only something for the better-off.
Let’s first clarify what we are talking about here. Seitan is basically – Attention, there comes a trigger word – the gluten, ie the building block mix in the grain, which is responsible for making your bread dough from gluten-containing grain, ie from spelled, wheat, but also rye elastic and does not end up as an undefinable mass. Okay, rye dough is a bit of a different story. It will inevitably become sticky, but it still contains gluten.
The gluten is simply the main protein of the crop and the gluten that forms and holds together the tea scaffold.
Seitan is when starch and bran are washed out of the ground grain – mostly from wheat. What is left is a very high-protein food that is healthy for the vegan diet …
… if you do not suffer from celiac disease or “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” whose existence is still controversial. Unfortunately, there is no alternative to washing out the gluten protein, so you should not serve celiac disease patients with seitan.
However, people who are not affected by this gluten intolerance can clean up seitan products without hesitation and should not listen to catchy book titles or individual studies. Please, please, please.
For example, a 1-star Amazon review of our book Vegan can be argued that gluten is the “unhealthiest” food in the world. Such brutal-lauschalisierenden statements are simply wrong, but unfortunately you can hear it currently from all sides.
Hey, I have hay fever. Is this why I blame the birch tree and plead for burning down each of these dangerous trees? Nope, but I like to avoid it, because I know that we can not do so well together. It would be nice if we could talk about food at this level again.
WHERE DOES THE STUFF COME FROM?
Known is the use of gluten as a meat substitute, at least in China probably since the sixth century. Years ago I had read about the story of discovery, but I can not find the source any more. It’s entertaining anyway and that’s why I like to tell the story. Source or not. #sorrynotsorry
So: Supposedly Buddhist monks encamped on a hike their supplies near a stream and as Murphy’s law so, is just the bag with the grain for the noodles into the water. Since no one notices, the stuff dangles in the current until the starch is washed out and only the spongy gluten, which is now somewhat spicy, remains. I mean, let’s face it: Such a bunch of freshly washed seitan looks anything but appealing. But the monks were probably too hungry to just throw away the good grain and apparently they liked it, so today there is Seitan. Thanks, people!
As I said: Did the story turn out the same way? No idea. What is certain is that the use of gluten in the kitchen has changed throughout the dynasties in China as well. From the Song Dynasty, however, is reported by mian jin , which translated means “dough tendon” and thus points in the right direction. In any case, it came as a meat substitute for vegetarian Buddhist monks, but also for the authorities on the table, which has a vegetarian week a year. Incidentally, in Japan, but under the name “Fu” and in a slightly different form.
Incidentally , mian jin came to the West in the 18th century and was touted as a healthy food for diabetics, for example.
Nevertheless: Seitan, both the word creation, as well as the product, as we know it today, was coined only from the end of the 60s. And with George Ohsawa, who is considered the inventor of the macrobiotic kitchen and has coined the term Seitan. The syllables “sei” and “tan” most likely mean simply “made of gluten”.
From then on, Seitan went wild around the world and – who would have thought it – was marketed in the US as a meat substitute to vegetarians back in the 1970s.
THE BEST VEGAN PROTEIN SOURCE? NEARLY.
Gluten contains a lot of protein. Damn much even. To 100 g about 75 g. Is not surprising, because we have already learned that it is the gluten of the grain.
Now Seitan products, whether bought or homemade, of course, in their composition, flat rate one can therefore not speak of a specific protein content. A relatively simple seitan of gluten, water, spices and nothing else is still a good third of protein and thus even tofu, tempeh and other soy products depend …
… but also meat.
Seitan would be a good answer to the question of where vegans get their protein from. However, the matter has a small catch, because the protein profile lacks the essential amino acid lysine and the body can not even form.
Stupid? Just a bit.
It really does not matter if the entire amino acid profile is in a single food. As our friend and nutrition expert Niko Rittenau confirms, it simply depends on the much cited “balanced” diet. For example, lysine is particularly well supplemented with legumes.
So it means: Seitanaufschnitt for breakfast and lentil stew in the evening? Watch out! Side sausages in lentil stew? Even better.
Cereal is a great food. In order to complete its amino acid profile, it is worth eating legumes elsewhere during the day to optimize your own protein intake. Thus, the individual proteins complement each other and thus are inferior to animal protein in any way. That this combination must necessarily occur within a meal, however, is a myth.
NIKO RITTENAU, BA NUTRITIONIST
However, it is also possible to upgrade the seitan with regard to the amino acid profile. We have been mixing beans, chickpeas and legume flour into the seitan mass for years. Originally, because it changes the consistency, but it’s also nice if you also improve the value of the homemade sausage.
BUY OR DO IT YOURSELF?
There are definitely very delicious finished products from and with seitan and we would never tell you that you should definitely keep your hands off it.
However, these products have been under continuous media fire for several years now. Too much salt, too much fat and therefore not as healthy as vegans like to be.
In our opinion, that’s a controversy. Hey, eating only finished products is never a good idea. No matter which nutritional form you follow. May one treat oneself to the supermarket shelves now and then? Absolute.
Still, DIY is always better and making Seitan yourself is not nearly as difficult as it seems. And cheap yet. Gluten powder as a basic ingredient costs about 6 € per kilogram as a conventional product and about twice in organic quality. Spices and water? In the cost calculation actually almost negligible. In addition, a few cents for the energy used in the preparation. Bottom line: Great for the household budget.
Theoretically, you just take wheat flour and wash the starch out under running water. Finished.
Let’s cut the “theoretical” and the “simple” out of the sentence and you see me standing in front of the sink more than 10 years ago, as I am very practical and not so easy to handle with a dough lump. Because yes, the washing out really works, but has two major disadvantages.
On the one hand you waste a lot of water, on the other hand, the production just takes a long time. Can you spend better. For example with an episode “The End of the F *** ing World” .
In any case it is easier with gluten powder or “seitan fix ” as basic ingredient. This also has the advantage that you can mix spices and other ingredients directly, while you can control the taste of washed seitan actually only about marinades.
The raw pamp you stirred together is just as raw as bread dough is not yet edible. The raw material must be cooked before further processing – including roasting or grilling. And there are basically three options.
Boil in the broth
It is often advised in preparation instructions to cook the seitan in a (very) vigorous broth. Although the seitan takes on a great deal of flavor from the brew, the taste of the spices, which are processed directly into the dough, is also slightly washed out. In our opinion, the consistency takes some getting used to “spongy” and rather soft.
Baked seitan is in contrast to the cooked solid and is great for slicing. For almost everything else, however, the seitan in the oven becomes too tough.
Our favorite method. When steaming you drive so the perfect middle ground. The taste of the spices, which are already used in the preparation of the dough, remains intact and the seitan pieces are neither too soft, nor dry out and become tough.
We simply use a large pot with a matching steaming attachment, but of course you can also use a steamer.
Important: For all types of preparation, the seitan should then cool down urgently and, at best, be put in the fridge overnight. The consistency just gets better.
CONSISTENCY IS EVERYTHING
Where we are at the moment. The quality of home-made seitan stands and falls simply with the consistency.
Oha, terrible memories of the spooky-spongy lump that came out of the pot will wake up? Or the age-old shoe soles that “this vegan friend from the WG, where it always smells of patchouli or this herb that you can not smoke” and that could only be gotten off with a liter of ketchup?
Been there, done that.
But because I have already made my in-laws too tough, homemade mock duck, you do not have to and can learn from my mistakes.
The consistency of your homemade page depends largely on four factors:
- Of the cooking method, we have already learned that
- Of the duration of the meal and the time you give the Seitan to cool down. Sure, a bigger side roast just takes longer.
- The correct liquid content for the preparation. And that can only be found by trial and error .
- From the good old handwork
Sausages, for example, can tolerate more water than a cold cuts that simply give up without a certain firmness at the time of slicing and think: “Spending the short life as a blob is also okay”.
As a rule of thumb, you can remember that the liquid you add to the dry ingredients should be about 60/40. This applies both to the preparation in the steam tower, as well as for baked Seitanprodukte, which are already solid. Incidentally, the proportion of liquid also includes ingredients such as beetroot or the legumes mentioned above, which you usually mash with the preparation.
And then there’s the thing with the manual work (which you can happily hand over to a food processor).
For the seitan to get a good bite, it must be well kneaded. Strands are thus formed in the gluten, which then form the fiber-like consistency. But beware: Seitan can also be “kneaded”. As is the case with bread, the rule of thumb is that you should work really hard for about 10 minutes. Or just press the button of your food processor.
The final product is then molded. Sausages and cold cuts are wrapped in plenty of cling film or very strong “sandwich paper” and tied at the side with tight knots. Much helps here too, because due to the high moisture in the dough, it can quickly happen that the good sausages fly around the ears when steaming or at least burst open.
You can also roast. Here you can also fall back on a clean kitchen towel for reasons of waste prevention. Simply wrap, tie tight and off in the steaming attachment.
With Geschnetzeltem and Chunks for skewers I save the turning completely. Again, it is advantageous if you already have Brotbackerfahrungen. The dough is shaped and then folded several times inwards. So you provide a great surface tension that makes for a slightly nicer end result.
THE RIGHT SPICE
Seitan is a blank canvas
The gluten powder as a base first tastes very little, not to say nothing. Perfect basis for seasoning the stuff exactly to your taste.
You can mix in basic spices that bring umami into the mix, such as soy sauce, miso, yeast flakes or tomato paste. Dried herbs? Spices? Always in it. It always makes sense to mix dry ingredients directly under the gluten powder and add liquid seasoning to the water used to mix the dough. So nothing clumps and everything spreads evenly.
By the way, Seitan also takes good marinades. So there is nothing wrong with preparing a basic recipe and then marinating it to your liking.
Homemade seitan sticks, well sealed, in the fridge for about seven days. Make sure that the seitan is always covered with some liquid, so it does not dry out.
Seitan, however, can also freeze wonderfully and loses its thawing in terms of taste, consistency and appearance. So it pays to make a large amount of stock and then freeze it.
AND HOW DO I USE THE 5 KG SEITANVORRAT NOW?
As. You. Want.
Roasted, as chunks on skewers (for example, our souvlaki skewers from Vegan Street Food ) and grilled, thinly sliced on home-baked, fresh sourdough bread : Seitan behaves in the finishing as the perfect “meat substitute”.
Let’s get into the jar (yes, you can theoretically preserve Seitan that way, but we prefer the TK tray), the recipes. And I even have two of them for you today.
Once a relatively simple basic seitan, which gets along with a few ingredients and actually goes with everything and a chickpeas seitan, which is perfect as a sliced or as an alternative to Jackfruit in our Pulled Jackfruit sandwich is suitable because it is very nice in fine, fibrous Schnetzel lets pluck.
SEITAN – SIMPLE BASIC RECIPE
INGREDIENTS FOR 1 KG
PREPARATION 10 MINUTES PREPARATION45 MINUTES TOTAL55 MINUTES
Mix dry ingredients together. Stir in vinegar in 500 ml of water and bring it under the gluten mixture.
Knead well for 10 minutes, then rest for 10-30 minutes. Cut the dough in half and press the dough pieces slightly flat. Firmly fold inwards from all sides, turn around and form around. Make sure that the surface is well stretched and evenly shaped.
Put in the steaming bowl at the bottom and cook for 45 minutes over medium heat with lid.
Then allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for the best consistency overnight.
SEITANGESCHNETZELTES – CHICKEN STYLE
INGREDIENTS FOR 1 KG
PREPARATION 15 MINUTES PREPARATION45 MINUTES TOTAL1 HOUR
All ingredients except the Seitan Fix puree with 500 ml of water.
Add the liquid to the Seitan Fix and knead well for 10 minutes, then let rest for 10-30 minutes. Cut the dough in half and press lightly. Fold the dough pieces tightly inwards from all sides, turn them over and make a round shape. Make sure that the surface is well stretched and evenly shaped.
Place in the steaming bowl at the bottom and cook for 45 minutes over medium heat and with lid.
Let cool completely and pluck in Schnetzel. Refrigerate for the best consistency overnight.
You may notice that the recipes do not match the pictures, right? Right! We are such teasers. Unbearable, right? But do not worry, the recipes for the Meatballs, the Ribs and the roast come in any case. A burger is already in the pipeline.
Another recipe for really wonderful ribs with a secret ingredient can be found in our book Vegan Grill Anyone Meatballs for Perfect Sandwiches in Vegan Street Food . And our long-time favorites, the sausages are already here on the blog .
I have not been able to answer any questions about Seitan yet and which side recipe you really want to eat on Eat this! see? We organize in the comments a request concert and I am megagespannt on what you wanted to prepare schonmal ever with seitan.