I'm making my own seitan from wheat flour, rather than using vital wheat gluten. I usually do about 4-5 washing steps when preparing my seitan. It is good, but I would like it to be more stiff/solid (not sure if this is the right word). I think this would make it a better meat-substitute.

I normally put the flour into a bowl and fill it with water so that it results in pastry. Then I knead the pastry under water. You can see the starch coming out and making the water more murky. I do this for about 3-5 minutes. Then I get rid of the water and fill the bowl again. As mentioned above I repeat these steps about 4-5 times. At the end I simply cut the seitan into pieces and cook it in broth. Usually I freeze the cooked seitan afterwards.

So if I want to produce a firmer consistency, is it about how often I wash the seitan or are there any other rules or tricks on how to achieve this?

  • 1
    This is a possible duplicate of an older question here: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/11184/… However, that doesn't mention a washing step. Can you add more information about the steps you're following, including a recipe if you started from one?
    – logophobe
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 13:17
  • @logophobe Thank you for the link. I also added all the steps I do to my original post. Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 13:30
  • @logophobe I have to object the "duplicate"-proposal. All they discuss in the referred question is about making seitan out of vital wheat gluten. I don't I am using just simple flour! Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 13:42
  • I think you should edit further to clarify that you're not using vital wheat gluten (as most of the recipes I found seem to recommend). In that case I'd agree with you that this is a distinct question, but you want to be clear about why previous questions don't answer yours. I'll have to do a little more digging around and post an answer later on.
    – logophobe
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 13:59
  • 1
    I went ahead and made a few changes per my previous comment. Feel free to edit further if I misstated anything. For anyone reviewing, I'd withdraw my duplicate flag if I could figure out how to.
    – logophobe
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


The texture and yield is governed two factors: developing the gluten completely and washing out the bran and starch effectively.

To develop the gluten, combine the flour and water into a workable dough and give it 50 light strokes. Cover the bowl and let it rest 10-15 minutes. It is during this time that water chemically combines with the flour and the strands of gluten form. After resting, return to the dough and you will notice it has a different feel. It is because the gluten has formed. Knead the dough 100 times. Immerse the finished dough in ice water or at least very cold water for at least 30 minutes. An hour is better.

To effectively wash out the bran and starch it is essential to work the dough under alternating hot (as hot as your hands can take) and cold water baths with 30 minute rest intervals each time you change the water. Start with hot, work the dough with a spreading motion for a few minutes. Pour the water into a bucket (not down the sink!), cover with very cold water and let it rest 30 minutes. Repeat and cover with hot water. Let it rest 30 minutes each time. Usually during the third round the dough will very soft and your hand technique should become one of gathering instead of spreading. If it feels like you are on your way to pancake batter, pour it through a fine colander to gather the gluten and give it a cold water bath. In the last couple rounds it will become increasingly firm and the strands of gluten are evident.

Finally you have a ball about 1/3 the size of the original dough. I divide this into baseball sized pieces and drop them into a boiling pot. Return to boil and cook until the pieces float to the surface. Remove and put in cold water. The shape of the pieces is now set but they aren't yet fully cooked. From here cook in a broth seasoned to your liking. I simmer them for 2 hours in a simple kombu, tamari and water broth.

I use fine ground whole wheat flour. Stone ground will work but yields are lower and texture is inferior. My dough formula is 2600 gr fine whole wheat flour and 1900 gr cold water which produces 2000 gr finished seitan. Hope this is helpful!

  • Very helpful.
    – logophobe
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 3:12

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