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Seitan: Homemade Wheat Protein

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Collection of information I'm getting on the cheapest source of protein I can find in the supermarket.

In looking at the various costs of protein, I'm seeing that the cheapest of cheap protein that's readily available is the protein hiding in flour. Plain old flour.

A 5 lb bag of "Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour" came up the cheapest at $2.59 for 5 lbs. At a serving size of 30g * 75 servings per container with with 15g of protein per serving = 300g of protein hiding in that bread flour.

That works out to: $.009 per gram of protein - less than a penny. A days supply of protein - 50 grams - would run you 43 cents!

BUT: What about all of those carbs in the flour? What the heck do you do with them?

Simple. You wash them down the drain.

Huh? Yup. And it's nothing new. Buddhist monks have been doing this for thousands of years and it's a staple in a lot of oriental cooking. "Mock Duck" is the most famous product.

I'm about to venture into the world of do-it-yourself super cheap protein but before I lose all of the resources I've found on it, I'm going to collect it here... try it a few different ways and when I have a success, I'll let you know how it goes.

--Ken, Naples, FL

Homemade Wheat Protein resources in no particular order:
Country Fried Seitan Steak and Gravy

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 recipe for seitan steaks oil for frying breading: 1 cup bread crumbs 1 teaspoon basil 1 teaspoon oregano dash of salt & pepper 1/2 cup soy milk flour (enough to coat all the steaks) gravy: 1/2 medium onion, sliced 3 tablespoons flour 1-1/2 cups soy milk 1 tablespoon vegan margarine


Sides of mashed potatoes, corn, and green beans all go wonderfully with this dish.

1. Prepare the seitan steaks according to the recipe you use (there are several great recipes on this site to choose from).

2. While steaks are boiling, prepare the breading. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, basil, and oregano. Add salt and pepper if you wish. Then, pour soymilk into a second bowl, and place flour into a third bowl. I like to have these set up right next to each other, to make breading simple.

3. Once the steaks have absorbed all of the broth, remove them from the pan. One at a time, coat each steak with flour, then dip the steak in the soymilk, then coat it with the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat until all steaks are breaded.

4. Pan fry the breaded steaks in vegetable oil over medium heat until brown and crispy. Place the fried steaks onto a plate covered with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Reserve the frying oil when you are finished to make the gravy.

5. After frying all the steaks, add onion to the pan, and fry in remaining oil over medium heat until soft (you may want to add a little more oil if there is not enough left). Add 3 tablespoons flour and stir until mixed. Slowly add the 1-1/2 cups soymilk and 1 tablespoon vegan margarine to the pan, and stir well. Cook and stir until gravy bubbles and thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve over steaks.

Serves: 2 to 4

Preparation time: about 90 minutes
The material that is washed down the drain is more than likely not gluten. Wheat flour is made up of 12 % protein, 80 % carbohydrate, 2 % lipid and the remaining 6% as ash and water. For example, if you use 100 grams of flour to conduct your gluten experiment, one would expect that 12 grams (or 12 %) of the material would remain as proteins.
Quick & Easy Homemade Gluten

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 cup gluten flour 1 cup water


Stir gluten flour & water together, adding more water if necessary. You want a nice thick dough. Knead to get the gluten elastic and squeeze out the excess water. (I do this right in the bowl I mixed it in, or a colander would work to drain off the water.) Break in small (1) pieces and simmer in a vegetable broth at least 1/2 hour. Note: The longer you knead and simmer the gluten, the tougher it will become, so you can pick your own texture. This recipe is a lot simpler than the old-fashioned way!

Serves: ?

Preparation time: about 1 hour

What do you do with gluten and what is it good for?

Archived comment by: I found I had to pack the flour to make a cup and use a lot less water. maybe 1/2 to 1/3 cup water. I make it according to the directions and the dough was extremely sticky and miserable to work with. This recipe does howe'ver, cook nicely and is alot less time to make. Brittany

via: - read the comments on that page - very useful!


* A little less than three pounds of white wheat flour is poured onto a water-repellent section of the kitchen counter. Then with her hands, Doña María forms this heap of flour into a low, broad-mouthed "volcano" about eighteen inches across, and with a rim about one and a half inches high. A pint of cold water is poured inside the volcano's rim.

* Now the idea is to mix the flour with the water. When the flour inside the crater is well mixed with water, then more flour is scraped from the crater's wall into the pool. She mixes until she has a moist dough of the kind used in baking bread. She kneads the dough vigorously until it's nice and gummy. Often Señora Bercián uses the same hand-action that Indian women use when washing clothing on rocks. Anchoring the slab of dough's bottom with the left hand, the palm of the right hand stretches the rest of the dough toward the top. Doña María says that she knows her dough is ready when, as she pushes her right-hand palm up through the dough, she can hear sharp little puffs of air escaping from it. Also, if you prod the dough with a fingertip, it bounces right back, leaving not a trace of the poking. The Señora accomplishes this perfect state of doughiness after twelve minutes of vigorous kneading. Probably most of us will knead around twenty.

* Finally the well-kneaded dough is formed into a ball and deposited into a dishpan into which cold tapwater is run until the ball is completely submerged. Now the idea becomes for the starch in the dough to leach into the water, leaving just gluten -- the part that will be used to make "meat."

* The Señora lets the submerged dough sit overnight. The next morning I'm back again to see that the water has turned milky white. This milky water is poured off, and new tapwater is introduced. For about five minutes Sra. Bercián squeezes and kneads the dough with her fingers, trying to get as much starch to go into solution as possible. New water is added and the squeezing and kneading process is repeated for seven or eight times, until the water remaining after squeezing is more or less clear. By now the dough has been reduced in size to a little less than half of what it was originally. And it looks like pale, stringy, sticky... lung tissue.

* Finally we cook some dough, which now can be referred to as gluten. Into about a quart of water, Doña María pours a cup of soy sauce, adds the broad, leafy tops of two sticks of celery, about half a clove of garlic, and a quarter of a medium-sized onion, half-heartedly sliced or semi-chopped. This mixture is brought to a boil. Then the gluten is cut into tenderloin-sized hunks -- the whole hunk of gluten makes four or five of them. With her fingers the señora forms these hunks of gluten into flattish shapes and drops them into the boiling broth.

* After about five minutes of boiling with the pot's top on, the hunks of gluten puff up and look like spongy sections of liver. The cooking continues for twenty or thirty more minutes -- until the pieces of gluten more or less have the texture of meat.

* At this point we remove the cooked gluten, drain it (helping it drain by pressing on it with a large fork) and store part of it in the refrigerator. The rest, we fry. Before frying the gluten, Sra. Bercián smears and smashes a fresh clove of garlic across a four-inch-long, smooth rock she keeps in a drawer, and then rubs the rock across her small hunks of gluten. Then she coats the gluten with a mixture of pungent, powdery ingredients that certainly never could be gathered together in most U. S. cities. Probably the best we can do is to coat our U. S.-made gluten with our own home-designed mixes, using spices that sound good. Three important ingredients in Sra. Bercián's, which are available in the U. S., are half a cup of brewer's yeast, a cup of whole wheat flour, and a cup of ground toast.

* While coating the gluten, a heavy, cast-iron skillet has been heating on the gas stove. The skillet's bottom is covered with about one eighth inch of cooking oil. When the oil becomes so hot that a drop of water splatters dangerously, then we put in the coated gluten and fry it for about ten minutes.

1Ingredients & Tools You will need:

--Water --Whole Wheat Flour --Vegetable Broth --Food Processor --Crock Pot / Slow Cooker --Large Pot

NOTE: The Flour and Water need to be in a 2:1 ratio. This means if you have 2 cups of flour, you'll need 1 cup of water.

The amount of flour and water depends both upon the size of your food processor and how much you want to make. I used slightly more than 2 cups of flour and about a cup of water. These measurements don't need to be very precise.

new site: Vegan Nosh. Sunday, March 15, 2009 Lazy Dave's $5-bread-machine Turkey-flavored Seitan Bread machine seitan. Yes, mamawafflin' seitan in the gol-darned bread machine. As in "dump all this stuff into the thing; press button; go away." Yeah. Life is good.

We've been making seitan loaves ever since the revered Seitan o' Greatness grabbed the Net by the tubes a couple years ago. But we're simple former carnivores, so we used animal-flavored recipes instead of the vaguely Middle Eastern, a-scoshe-too-much-cinnamon SoG. "La Dolce Vegan" has some pretty good spice combos that turn ordinary seitan into chicken-, turkey-, beef-, or ham-flavored seitan. To make the "loaf" version, we just moved the spices from the boiling broth into the dough (usually doubling or tripling the spices), rolled the dough up into loaves wrapped in foil, and baked at 325F for 90 minutes. It was a bit of a pain to make, because we always made a ton and you have to turn it every 20-30 minutes to keep one side from getting hard, but the result was worth the work.


The other day, I peeked into the upstairs appliance utopia at Union Gospel Mission in Tigard and saw... a bread machine. A bunch of 'em, actually, with a gleaming, state-of-the-art (10 years ago) Toastmaster, complete with manual/cookbook, for $5. Nineteen quarters, a dime, two nickels, and all five of my pennies made that little sucker mine, all mine. It's now made much bread, acres of pizza crust, hamburger buns, bagels, and baguettes, sparking many ideas in the process.

One of the ideas, as you may guess from the title of this entry, was seitan. And tonight, despite my trepidation that it'd burn, it worked.

Recipe (probably a modified version of the one from "La Dolce Vegan," but maybe a modified version of somebody else's recipe)


Wet stuff (goes first in my machine):

* 4 t vegan Worcestershire sauce * 1/2 cup soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg's * 1.5 to 2 cups water

Dry stuff

* 2 cups vital wheat gluten (I use Bob's) * 1/2 cup garbanzo flour (Bob's, again) * 1/2 to 3/4 cups nutritional yeast * 4 t onion powder * 2 t dried sage * 2 t dried thyme * 2 t salt (I use less) * 2 t smoked paprika


1. Dump the wet stuff into the bowl. 2. Dump the dry stuff into the bowl. 3. Push the button, Frank.

My Toastmaster has a cycle called "Basic Medium" (as opposed to "Basic Light" and "Basic Dark"), so I tried that one. Seems to have worked fine.

The resulting loaf is moist and meaty, with an interestingly crispy (not hard) skin on five faces. Because the bread machine's cycle is set up for bread (mix, let rise, punch down, let rise, punch down, let rise, bake) it lets the dough settle a couple times and then spins it again with the mixing blade. Result: the center of the loaf is stringy in an almost spooky approximation of turkey.

To serve:

Slice it; dice it; tear off a hunk and eat it raw.

The sliced version makes tasty sandwiches (Wildwood Garlic Aioli and romaine, please) and barbecue (Bone-suckin' Sauce, if it has to come from a jar).

The diced version makes a chewy, flavorful protein for stir-fry, curry, stew, soup, mac'n'cheese, and doro wat.

You make Seitan by hand you add water to flour, mix till it forms a ball, then knead 5 to 10 minutes.

To make it in a bread machine, put 3 cups (15 oz / 420 g) of wheat gluten flour into a bread machine. Press start, on dough only cycle. When the machine starts moving the paddle through the flour for the kneading cycle, slowly drizzle in 2 cups (16 oz / 250 ml) of cold water. When the water is all in, check the time and let it knead for 10 minutes. If it appears that your bread machine's motor is labouring too heavily, abort and complete by hand. Otherwise, when the kneading time is up, remove.

However you have made the dough, there is then rinsing and simmering steps. Some people rinse then simmer, some just simmer.

Rinsing washes away excess starch. You do this by working the dough under running water for about 10 minutes (presumably you're not worried about the planet's water resources at this point.) If you used whole-wheat flour, you will be washing away both the starch and bran, but you won't get all the bran out -- some grittiness will always remain. Start off the rinsing under a very gentle stream of water, or you might wash half it down the drain.

The dough will seem stringy at first. It will hold together better as more and more starch gets washed away, and then you can increase the water flow. The dough becomes stickier, yet more stretchable. The water should eventually run clear.

Instead of rinsing it under running water, you can put the dough in a bowl, fill the bowl up with water, and knead carefully at first, so it doesn't just break up and dissolve in the water. When the water is cloudy, empty the water out, refill with fresh water, and repeat many times until the water stays fairly clear.

You then need to cook the dough by wrapping it in cheesecloth, and simmering in something flavourful. The dough needs to remain covered with water while simmering.

Some people don't bother with the rinsing at all. Instead, they cut the dough into 2 inch (5 cm) squares, and add them to a large boil of boiling water, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally (they may puff up during this time, but will reduce again in size once cooled.) Then you remove the Seitan from the water, drain, let cool, then use as directed in recipes. Some people prefer to simmer it in their crock-pots.

Even after the simmering, Seitan is still considered a "raw" ingredient that then needs further cooking in dishes. It can be sliced and shaped. In China, it is often cooked by deep-frying, steaming or baking. It is often marinated before further cooking. has fantastic pictures of seitan while its being made... what its supposed to look like, etc.

Ingredients: 14 cups water (more may be needed) ¾ cup tamari soy sauce 3 fresh garlic cloves, crushed or finely minced ½ yellow onion, finely chopped ½ celery rib or stalk, finely chopped 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root 1 (3-inch long) piece of kombu (a type of seaweed) (optional) 8 cups whole-wheat flour

1. In a large pot over high heat bring 10½ cups of water to boil. Add tamari, garlic, onion, celery, ginger and kombu cooking over low heat and continue to simmer for 25 minutes. Set timer.

2. In a large bowl combine flour and the 3½ remaining cups of the measured water stirring to make firm but not sticky dough adding a little more water if necessary so it is not too dry.

3. Knead dough by hand on a smooth flat surface for at least 10 to 12 minutes until it has an elastic consistency.

4. Place the dough in a large bowl filling up the bowl with semi warm water until the dough is completely underwater and let it rest for 25 minutes.

5. After the dough has rested, put the bowl with the dough and water in the sink and knead it by hand until the water turns cloudy and starchy white. Drain the milky water replacing it with fresh cold water and knead until the water becomes milky. Repeat this process several times until the water remains clear after kneading and the dough becomes firmer and more elastic.

6. Place the rinsed and drained seitan in a dry bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes before cooking.

7. Cut seitan into smaller chunks and place it in the broth. Simmer over low heat for 1½ hours. The seitan should remain underwater. Do not let it come to boil. Continue to reduce heat if necessary. Set timer.

8. Store the seitan in its broth in a tightly covered container and keep refrigerated. Use within a week or freeze with or without broth. via:

I collected these snippets here because a few webpages that might have had exactly what I wanted are GONE - and I hate when good information disappears. I haven't tried Seitan yet, but I may try it today.

There's more than one way to accomplish anything and I want to truly UNDERSTAND something before diving into something new for me that so many ppl say, "Just spend more money and get the wheat gluten".

I'm not looking to be vegan. I like meat. I'm not a high school powerlifter so I don't need 150g of protein a day.

But what I am is:

a) Cheap

b) a scientist

I want to get to the basic nature of things. I asked myself, "If the cheapest source of protein at the sweetbay supermarket on CR 951 in Naples, Florida is "Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour" at less than a penny a gram of protein -- how do I get rid of that OTHER crap in there - the carbs? When I started this educational journey I had no idea that ppl have been doing this for thousands of years... that my mother played around with it in the 70's... see, it's all new to me. And it's all based on my cheapness.

I figured, to lose weight, just make sure I get enough protein and don't worry so much about the carbs and fat. Focus on the protein and use portion control on the other stuff.

My plan of action is this:

1) Take about 3 cups of whatever flour I have hanging around that I haven't used in forever.

2) Stick it in my old bread machine that I don't use anymore.

3) add 1-1.5 cups of water.

4) Put it on the dough maker cycle, making sure that it forms a nice dough ball.

5) Take the dough ball out. Put it in a colendar and put the colendar in a pot.

6) Put the dough/colendar/pot in sink and start running water through the dough ball until the pot is filled with water and the dough is submerged.

7)Either a) let it sit for a 1/2 hour to start washing off the carbs or b) start squishing the carbs out of it.

I don't know which way yet.

8) Repeat the rinsing and squishing and sitting 5-10 times, and change the water a few times being careful not to lose the dough until the water is clear and not milky white.

This means the carbs are GONE! WOOHOO!

10) Take that mess and stick it in a broth in my pressure cooker or maybe slow cooker or maybe just on the stove.

The broth will either be some kind of liquid broth-in-a-box I have hanging around, or I'll make a concoction I see a lot for seitan using soy sauce. Either way, It's going to have some salt in it. Looks like a quart of whatever combinations of things I choose will work fine.

I will probably break the seitan up into chunks or cubes - perhaps 1 inch cubes or just tear it into little bits and pieces so that more of the broth flavors the gluten.

11) Pressure cook for 10 minutes or simmer for 30 minutes.

12) Stick it in the freezer. Be scared of trying it for a few days, then fry up some chunks with spinach and feta cheese, or with some ground turkey meat (so that I can get the missing amino acids in there via the turkey).

So, that's my game plan.

Kenneth Udut Naples, Florida 12/07/2010


Udut, Kenneth on Dec. 8 2010 edit · delete
Basic Seitan *wheat-meat!*

1 large yellow onion, quartered

1 large carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

¾ c soy sauce

2 bay leaves

16 c water (more if needed)

4 lbs. flour (about 9 cups)

Combine first 6 ingredients with 12 cups water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer while preparing seitan. (Alternate: instead of making broth this way you can just use 12 cups pre-made veggie-chicken broth or use first 6 ingredients, 6 cups water and 6 cups veggie-chicken stock) Place flour in a large bowl, add last 4 cups of water, & stir to form a firm dough, adding more water if too dry. Knead dough on a floured work surface until smooth and elastic about 10 mins. Place dough in a bowl and add warm water to cover completely. Let sit for 20 mins. Place bowl in sink and knead until water turns white (it’s the starch leaving the flour and going to hell). Drain the milky water, cover with fresh water and knead again until the water turns white. Repeat the process until the water is almost clear. The contents of the bowl may be quite loose and messy, but eventually you’ll have a smooth ball of raw seitan. Divide seitan into smaller pieces and add to the simmering stock. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour, keeping the seitan submerged. Do not boil! When seitan is cooked remove from pot and cool on baking sheet.

To store seitan, place in its own stock in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. It will keep about a week. You can also freeze it alone or in its stock and it will stay good for several weeks. Use seitan in anything calling for meat (It makes amazing chicken nuggets, just cut into bite size shapes, dip in flour, dip in soymilk, then dip in seasoned breadcrumbs and fry till golden brown). Use the stock in anything calling for veggie stock or chicken stock.
Udut, Kenneth on Dec. 8 2010 edit · delete
More Seitan online finds:


"Add seitan to 4 cups of broth in a large pot and bring to a slow simmer. You can add extra spices or flavors to this broth as well. I like to add around a quarter cup of soy sauce, a few pieces of fresh ginger and several slices of onion for extra flavor.

For a "fishy" seitan, add crumbled nori or other seaweed, or, for a chicken-flavored seitan, add some poultry seasoning and use a chicken-flavored broth. "

Good. Simplicity. I've had this ball of spongy wheat gluten I made last night just sitting in a measuring cup full of water and hoped I'd find a Super Simple Simmer (that'd I'd speed up in the pressure cooker. This looks good. Beef Broth, soy sauce, some onion and ginger. Bingo. Easy. I'll let you know how it goes.
Seitan: Homemade Wheat Protein Collection of information I'm getting on the cheapest source of protein I can find in the supermarket.