Tonight, I am hoping to cook up three to four loaves of seitan for final prep three days from now. My intent is to form the dough, simmer in stock or steam, and then refrigerate. In three days I hope to use the seitan to make sandwiches after bringing up to temp while smoking on the grill and then slicing.

I have seen storage options including freezing, refrigerating wrapped in cling wrap, refrigerating while submersed in the simmering liquid, and a few variations in between. Three days is long enough that I would be concerned about spoilage, as well as picking up stray odors (I will be doing a bunch of bulk cooking of different foods). It is at once short enough that I don't think the texture would necessarily be compromised, but definitely see it as possible if stored in liquid. Likewise, flavor will last fine, but if it is in a simmering liquid, that is soy based, I am concerned it would leech every drop of saltiness and end up as some decaying, more-spongiform-than-usual, briny bread.

So I am looking for three possible things and the benefits/drawbacks of any methods;

  • What advance cooking method will work for a batch that will be reheated by smoking (low heat for about an hour or two)?
  • What storage method will preserve texture, maintain flavor, and lock out nasties?
  • What steps can I take when re-heating to preserve all of the above effort?

Essentially, what is the prep/storage/plate combo that will save me from turning a few pounds of simmered vital wheat gluten into cloudy clods?

3 Answers 3



my thoughts:

1) biologists use stock as a medium for growing bacteria. therefore, anything stored in stock; I generally like to boil/heat up a lot first before eating

2)the seitan should stay just fine; kept dry in the fridge in an airtight container

3) have you tried making steamed seitan, ala seitan of greatness from lachesis?

4) have you tried making "dry" seitan in a water bath (bain marie) in the oven: this is how it is done in the rfd (real food daily) cookbook. I make this a lot; both the "chicken" and "basic" (which reminds me of turkey)

  • And cooks use stock as a medium for making soup - which is usually considered an ordinary perishable food that belongs in the fridge and shouldn't be left there for weeks, or in the freezer. Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 0:48

In case anyone's still interested, I make seitan at least once a week, usually more. It's extremely sturdy and storing it isn't nearly the headache the op seemed to think. As a matter of fact, cooked seitan "ages" very well, to the point where I won't serve it until it's been in the fridge for a few days. The texture and flavor generally improve during the aging. However, I of course cook it again usually on the grill, before serving.

  • 1
    btw jill, the broth used in lab cultures is just a little different than veggie broth. 200% more salt for a start, which greatly hampers biotic growth. in any event, anything one keeps in the fridge, pantry, or cupboard could be used as a sample culture. pretty sure rotting meat is at the top of that list.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 16:47

From my experience, seitan is not more perishable than other perishable food, so 3 days in a 4°C fridge should be unproblematic.

Salt does not tend to attack gluten chemically (in fact, it helps form it), so salty storage liquids will not cause the trouble you describe.

Also, if too much salty liquid is absorbed, you can squeeze it out unless your seitan is on the very firm side (think dry-baked, or slow cooked, or oil-poached styles... which keep pretty well in briny liquids in the fridgen anyway).

Mind that saltiness usually strives for an equilibrium (everything equally salty) in a wet preparation. Osmotic effects that can counteract that (and cause mushiness/disintegration along with it) tend to be about cell membranes in whole meats and vegetable pieces, and subsequent bursting of cells. These are of no concern with seitan since it does not consist of whole cells.

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