This vegan beaf made from washing flour is tender and juicy. After simmering, you can slice it cold for sandwiches, cut into shreds and fry them up for hot sandwiches, or coat with some salt, pepper, and a garlic-herb infused vegan butter and roast. The simmering liquid makes an amazing gravy or jus which can be thickened with a little bit of leftover starch water.
In a large bowl add 6 cups of bread or all-purpose flour (recommended protein of 11% or higher) and 2 cups of water. If your dough is not coming together (tough and crumbling apart) add a little bit more water. I typically add about another 1/4-1/2 cup as I knead. If you're dough is very sticky, add a little more flour. Knead for about 10 minutes or until your dough ball is cohesive and springs back a little when you push it. Cover the dough ball with cool water and let it rest for at least an hour, or up to 8. After resting in water your dough is ready to be washed.
If you're new to washing flour, you can follow this step by step guide.
While your dough ball is resting, prepare your simmering broth. If making from scratch you can add all the ingredients to your slow cooker or pot and start getting it heated up.
TIP: I like to use my slow cooker for this as I find it much easier to maintain the proper temperature. Ideally you want your broth to stay just under a simmer, at about 190F/85C for the duration of the cooking time. A couple bubbles here are there are ok, but higher cooking temps can lead to spongy results.
Once you've washed your dough ball (I wash mine to the cloudy/hazy water phase for this) let it rest in a colander to drain excess liquid and start to become stretchy. Add all of the seitan ingredients to a food processor or blender and blitz. If you don't have one you can add them all to a large bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine.
TIP: Save some of the starch water to thicken a gravy for this, or make this bacon!
Add the drained dough ball to the processor or blender and process until all the seasonings are fully incorporated. If using a bowl you can knead and/or cut in the ingredients with the aid of a knife or kitchen scissors.
Transfer the seasoned dough ball to a cutting board and let it rest again (it will continue to lose some liquid) until the gluten has reformed and is stretchy. This can take about 20 mins - 1 hr. Once you are able, tie the dough in a couple of knots for a shreddier texture and for a uniform cylinder, shape the dough into a log and wrap in cheesecloth/muslin and tie the ends tightly.
Simmer/poach in the broth and try to maintain a temperature as close to 190F/85C for about 2 hours. You'll know when it's done when it has become relatively solid/firm.
Allow the roast to come to room temperature and then refrigerate in the liquid for about 6-8 hours or overnight. From here you can pat dry and slice as-is for cold cuts, shave and sear/fry as cuts to make hot sandwiches, or allow to come to room temperature and bake as a roast.
If roasting, preheat your oven to 325F. Pat the seitan dry and season the outside how you like. I like to season with just salt and pepper, then baste with a little bit of reserved broth and some fresh herbs and garlic melted into vegan butter, though you can also use dry herb rub. Place the seitan on a little bit of the reserved broth to keep it moist and prevent sticking. Cover and bake at 325F for about 30 minutes to heat through, flipping and basting halfway through. Remove the cover and broil for a couple minutes on each side to get a deeper brown color.
The cooking broth also makes a fantastic gravy, which you can thicken with some of the reserved starch water. I like to make a quick pan gravy by slicing and sautéing some shallots in vegan butter, then add some strained broth, some fresh herbs such as thyme, salt, and pepper. Once the gravy is simmering then a little bit of the starchiest part of your water from washing and thicken to your desired consistency.