Help! My Seitan Tastes Like Bread!
Seitan has become a well-loved meat alternative to elevate vegetarian and vegan dishes. However, many home cooks often complain that their seitan tastes like bread.
Fortunately, adding baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and mustard to the dough will help you prepare delicious seitan dishes that taste nothing like bread.
If you’re wondering why your seitan tastes like bread, you’ve come to the right place. This article will tell you everything you need to know to hone your baking skills and perfect your seitan recipe.
Read on to learn more.
Is Seitan Basically Bread?
Both seitan and bread are made from wheat, but that’s where the similarities end.
Whereas bread leaves a familiar floury aftertaste, homemade seitan products are usually flavorless.
Instead, it boasts a spongy texture that makes it an excellent addition in many recipes, where it absorbs the flavor and aroma of other ingredients.
While seitan is a staple in vegetarian and vegan diets, it has become popular among people seeking to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
However, store-bought seitan is sometimes packed with high levels of sugar or sodium, which give the product a more discernible flavor.
Another critical difference between bread and seitan is the preparation process.
Depending on the recipe, you may leave the dough to rise for longer periods, but you’ll rarely ever marinade or cook the bread.
With seitan, it’s essential to knead the mixture and wrap it in a cloth to ensure it preserves its shape and signature meaty texture.
After securing the dough in a cheesecloth, submerge the seitan in a marinade for approximately 20 minutes. Some recipes even call for leaving the dough in the marinade overnight.
While bread gets its fluffy texture from flour, seitan is prepared from either whole wheat flour or vital wheat gluten.
Most bread recipes allow you to simply add flour into your mixing bowl, but the process is a bit more complex with seitan.
Making seitan from whole wheat flour requires more time and energy since you have to handwash the dough to remove excess starch. As novice seitan makers may struggle with the process, it’s best to start with store-bought vital wheat gluten. Depending on the manufacturer, it’s sometimes also called gluten flour.
Unlike traditional bread recipes, seitan recipes allow for a lot of modification, so you can add ingredients to tweak the taste.
For example, if you’re looking for a new method to cut down on meat, try making your seitan taste like bacon. Then, throw in some yeast and tomato paste and top it off with a dash of soy sauce to prepare several slices of delicious mock meat.
If you prefer the taste of chicken, you can also spice up your recipe and boost the flavor of the dough.
Before kneading the mixture, add your favorite poultry seasonings and onion powder.
Then, form small pieces and leave them in the freezer to cool for approximately ten minutes. When you cook the seitan pieces in a broth, you can use them as a chicken substitute in any recipe.
Why Does My Seitan Taste Like Bread?
The main reason homemade seitan tastes like bread is usually deviation from the preparation steps. While you can add seasoning to taste, following your seitan recipe is essential.
This prevents mistakes and ensures that the final product has a meaty texture that doesn’t resemble bread.
Make sure always to knead, wrap, and cook the dough.
Remember to knead the seitan carefully so that enough gluten develops. Generally, you should knead the dough for approximately three minutes.
If you’re dissatisfied with the texture and want to make the seitan less rubbery, slowly start decreasing the kneading time. You’ll soon perfect the recipe and find the optimal time frame.
Don’t throw the dough directly into your cooking pot. Instead, cover it in a plastic wrap or a cheesecloth.
Let the block simmer in a broth when you’re sure the seitan is tightly wrapped.
The plastic or cloth cover gives the seitan an attractive oval shape and preserves its dense texture.
After you add the seitan to a dish and bite into a thin strip, you’ll treat your taste buds to a rich flavor that’s nothing like bread.
Although this step is optional, some home cooks have reported that it helps eliminate their seitan’s floury taste.
Before you cook the wrapped dough, freeze the seitan for a few minutes. Note that this sometimes causes the ingredients to separate, even when thoroughly kneaded.
Try incorporating this step into different seitan recipes and see where it yields the best results.
How to Make Seitan Not Taste Like Bread
Preparing seitan is no easy feat, and you may find that your seitan tastes like bread even after you’ve followed the recipe closely.
Fortunately, there are several ways to tweak the flavor and eliminate the doughy aftertaste.
You can use apple cider vinegar, baking soda, mustard, and handwashing to keep the gluten taste at bay.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar boasts a strong flavor and aroma, but it’s surprisingly imperceptible when added to seitan recipes.
Two tablespoons will help your seitan keep a soft, chewy texture with no gluten undertones.
Use less apple cider vinegar if you’ve added other acidic ingredients to your dough.
Another ingredient that combats excess gluten in seitan is baking soda. Depending on the size of your seitan dough, you’ll only need about half a teaspoon.
People often mistake baking soda for baking powder. Accidentally putting baking powder in the mixture will make the dough rise, resembling baked goods.
The bubbles that help the dough rise are responsible for the bready taste.
Also, avoid using acidic ingredients when sprinkling in baking soda to prevent bread-like results.
Mustard is an underappreciated ingredient in combating the taste of bread in seitan.
When using store-bought mustard, skip the baking soda since the mustard already contains vinegar.
However, combining mustard with apple cider vinegar won’t ruin your recipe.
Handwashing the Dough
Those who are more adventurous and want a new cooking challenge should try handwashing their dough.
Although the process is time-consuming, it’s a foolproof way of eliminating extra gluten from your dough.
After a few tries, you’ll master the method, and you won’t need to add other ingredients to mask the floury flavor.
When you start testing recipes, you may get frustrated because your seitan tastes like bread.
The good news is that you can eliminate the bready undertones by using ingredients you already have on your kitchen shelves.
Grab some apple cider vinegar, baking soda, or mustard to upgrade your recipe and get delicious results each time.
Those confident in their home cooking skills can handwash the dough and skip adding extra ingredients.