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Just cause it's vegan doesn't mean it can't be beefy, spicy, juicy, and delicious! This Italian beef seitan made from washed flour will be a hit at your next party or potluck.

This recipe was developed as part of an experiment along with this variation made with vital wheat gluten. The pictures you see are from a combination of both methods. The taste and texture turned out to be remarkably similar to each other, so no matter which method you prefer to use, you will not be disappointed!



Ingredients

Washing Flour
 1 kg bread flour (approximately 7 1/4 cups)If using all purpose flour, add another 140g/1 cup
 690 ml water (3 cups)You may not need all of this, but if using AP flour you may need a little more.
Seitan
 1 tbsp porcini or shiitaki mushroom powderI find porcini to be much
 1 tbsp beetroot powderI've had good luck with this brand maintaining some redness on the inside, especially with washed flour.
 1 tsp smoked paprika
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp onion powder
 1 tsp salt
 1/2 tsp oregano
 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauceMake your own with this recipe. Store bought works, too.
 1/2 tbsp molasses
 1 tsp Marmite
Plus
 1/4 cup neutral oil for frying
 GiardinieraOptional, though traditional topping. I used this recipe but you can buy it, too.
 Provolone CheeseAlso optional, but if you save some of that starch water, you can make the perfect cheese to go with this sandwich.
Simmering Broth
 4 cups of your favorite beef-style broth. I used the beaf variation of this recipe. If using the broth recipe, you can either make it ahead or add all the ingredients to the slow cooker at the same time as the seitan.
 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
 ½ tsp ground black pepper
 2 tsp dried oregano
 1 tsp dried parsley
 1 tsp dried thyme
 1 tsp dried crushed rosemary
 1 tsp dried basil

Directions

Giardiniera
1

If making the Giadiniera, start with it the same day you wash your flour, or even a day before to give the flavors more time to come together.

Flour-Washing
2

Start by adding about 2 1/2 cups of water and mix it into your flour. If it's not forming into a dough, add a little more. It's easier to wash if it's a little bit sticky as opposed to dry and crumbly, but too much water can make it fall apart when washing. Make sure the water is fully incorporated. You can either knead it into a ball or simply let it rest in the bowl like this for 15 minutes. Then cover it with cool water and let it rest again for about an hour.

3

Wash that flour! If you're new to flour-washing, check out this step-by-step tutorial here. For this I washed to the cloudy water stage. I try to wash as much starch out as I can because I'm aiming for good shreds, but washing to clear water could make it a bit rubbery.

4

Once washed, drain your ball of gluten for at least 20-30 minutes. While it's draining, start heating up your broth in the slow cooker with the garlic, black pepper, and seasonings. If following this recipe, you can add all the ingredients for the vegetable base and beaf variation directly to your slow cooker.

Seitan
5

Give your drained gluten a good squeeze to remove any excess water, add it to a food processor or blender along with all of the seitan ingredients through the Marmite and blitz. If you don't have a processor you can use a knife or kitchen scissors to cut the mixed seasonings into the gluten. Place the seasoned gluten on a cutting board with grooves or in a place it can drain a little more and let it rest like this until it is strong enough to stretch, usually about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

6

Once the seitan has rested, stretch, twist, and tie it in several knots. I like to tie up two or three sections to make it easier to flip. Heat the 1/4 cup of oil on medium heat, and add the knotted seitan. You're looking for the dough to start to brown, but you want it to actually absorb the oil, not crisp up too much.

7

Add the fried gluten to the hot broth in the slow cooker. I had mine set to high, which produces a low simmer, but all slow cookers vary so keep an eye on yours that it does not bubble too much. If using an Instant Pot, set the slow cooker function to normal and do not tightly close the lid or it might get too hot. Cook this way for 2-3 hours, occasionally flipping in the broth. The seitan should feel pretty firm when fully cooked.

8

Let the slow cooker come to room temperature. I find it easier to shred while the seitan is still a little warm. Store the shreds out of the liquid, covered in the fridge overnight, but save the "juice" for topping or dipping your sandwich. When ready to eat, heat the shreds in a pan with a little oil, if necessary. Top your sandwich with Giardiniera, and serve with warm "juice" on the side.

Save that starch water to make this amazing provolone cheese. It's the perfect addition to this sandwich!

NOTE: This recipe was tested in two different slow cookers as well as the 6qt Instant Pot on the normal slow cooker setting. They each varied slightly but were all done in 2 hours, whether or not I kept the dough as one knot or separated into a few knots. Yours may need longer than the suggested 2-3 hours, and if it is cooking at low enough of a temperature, should even be fine to let cook overnight.

Ingredients

Washing Flour
 1 kg bread flour (approximately 7 1/4 cups)If using all purpose flour, add another 140g/1 cup
 690 ml water (3 cups)You may not need all of this, but if using AP flour you may need a little more.
Seitan
 1 tbsp porcini or shiitaki mushroom powderI find porcini to be much
 1 tbsp beetroot powderI've had good luck with this brand maintaining some redness on the inside, especially with washed flour.
 1 tsp smoked paprika
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp onion powder
 1 tsp salt
 1/2 tsp oregano
 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauceMake your own with this recipe. Store bought works, too.
 1/2 tbsp molasses
 1 tsp Marmite
Plus
 1/4 cup neutral oil for frying
 GiardinieraOptional, though traditional topping. I used this recipe but you can buy it, too.
 Provolone CheeseAlso optional, but if you save some of that starch water, you can make the perfect cheese to go with this sandwich.
Simmering Broth
 4 cups of your favorite beef-style broth. I used the beaf variation of this recipe. If using the broth recipe, you can either make it ahead or add all the ingredients to the slow cooker at the same time as the seitan.
 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
 ½ tsp ground black pepper
 2 tsp dried oregano
 1 tsp dried parsley
 1 tsp dried thyme
 1 tsp dried crushed rosemary
 1 tsp dried basil

Directions

Giardiniera
1

If making the Giadiniera, start with it the same day you wash your flour, or even a day before to give the flavors more time to come together.

Flour-Washing
2

Start by adding about 2 1/2 cups of water and mix it into your flour. If it's not forming into a dough, add a little more. It's easier to wash if it's a little bit sticky as opposed to dry and crumbly, but too much water can make it fall apart when washing. Make sure the water is fully incorporated. You can either knead it into a ball or simply let it rest in the bowl like this for 15 minutes. Then cover it with cool water and let it rest again for about an hour.

3

Wash that flour! If you're new to flour-washing, check out this step-by-step tutorial here. For this I washed to the cloudy water stage. I try to wash as much starch out as I can because I'm aiming for good shreds, but washing to clear water could make it a bit rubbery.

4

Once washed, drain your ball of gluten for at least 20-30 minutes. While it's draining, start heating up your broth in the slow cooker with the garlic, black pepper, and seasonings. If following this recipe, you can add all the ingredients for the vegetable base and beaf variation directly to your slow cooker.

Seitan
5

Give your drained gluten a good squeeze to remove any excess water, add it to a food processor or blender along with all of the seitan ingredients through the Marmite and blitz. If you don't have a processor you can use a knife or kitchen scissors to cut the mixed seasonings into the gluten. Place the seasoned gluten on a cutting board with grooves or in a place it can drain a little more and let it rest like this until it is strong enough to stretch, usually about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

6

Once the seitan has rested, stretch, twist, and tie it in several knots. I like to tie up two or three sections to make it easier to flip. Heat the 1/4 cup of oil on medium heat, and add the knotted seitan. You're looking for the dough to start to brown, but you want it to actually absorb the oil, not crisp up too much.

7

Add the fried gluten to the hot broth in the slow cooker. I had mine set to high, which produces a low simmer, but all slow cookers vary so keep an eye on yours that it does not bubble too much. If using an Instant Pot, set the slow cooker function to normal and do not tightly close the lid or it might get too hot. Cook this way for 2-3 hours, occasionally flipping in the broth. The seitan should feel pretty firm when fully cooked.

8

Let the slow cooker come to room temperature. I find it easier to shred while the seitan is still a little warm. Store the shreds out of the liquid, covered in the fridge overnight, but save the "juice" for topping or dipping your sandwich. When ready to eat, heat the shreds in a pan with a little oil, if necessary. Top your sandwich with Giardiniera, and serve with warm "juice" on the side.

Save that starch water to make this amazing provolone cheese. It's the perfect addition to this sandwich!

Slow Cooker Italian Beef | Washed Flour Seitan