I have had a few people have some issues with making their own seitan and ask me for my opinion. Some were using my recipes and some were not. I wanted to offer some tips for those of you that have run into a few problems. As other issues come up, I will continue to edit this post. I will also link if from some of the other posts that have my seitan recipes for easy access. If you have any questions, please ask.
Is your seitan mushy?
There are two common reasons that your seitan could come out mushy, both are simple to correct.
1.) Too much water may have been added. Use less water than wheat gluten. If you use 1 cup of seitan, you want to use slightly less than 1 cup of water (or broth). If adding a significant amount of another liquid (soy sauce, hot sauce, etc), decrease the amount of water (or broth) used.
2.) Occasionally, adding to may non-binding ingredients (spices, nutritional yeast, herbs, etc) will cause the wheat gluten to not set correctly. It may fall apart a bit and have a somewhat mushy texture. This is just finding a balance of flavor and texture you are comfortable with.
Is your seitan too tough?
There are two reasons that I have found that seitan could come out too tough.
1.) Not enough water is a common reason. The less liquid that is added to the wheat gluten, the more firm it will become. Gluten is extremely binding and finding the balance of liquid to gluten is important. See image above.
2.) The other common reason that sietan gets tough is too much kneading. After the liquid has been added and mixed in, you will need to kneed the dough. The dough will have pockets of air inside and the kneeding will help to get rid of this.If you kneed it for too long or too aggressively, if may become more firm.