|The factors that affect the quality of seitan are the choice of ingredients and the subtle aspects of the manufacturing process itself. Since seitan is mostly wheat gluten, the choice of wheat is particularly important. Mitoku's seitan manufacturer uses only hard winter wheat, which has more protein than soft wheat. The choice of shoyu, which is the main flavor component of seitan, is very important. Our producer uses only whole soybean, naturally aged shoyu, which imparts a rich flavor and meat-like character to seitan. Finally, the addition of kombu to the cooking broth not only adds important minerals, but also helps give seitan its distinctly meat-like essence.
It is hard to overestimate the importance that the manufacturing process plays in making delicious seitan. Just how much starch and bran remain in the finished product determines not only the mouth feel, but also seitan's capacity to absorb flavors. From years of experience, traditional seitan makers know just the amount of kneading and rinsing whole wheat flour needs to develop gluten with just the right texture. Raw gluten does not have much flavor, so deciding how much time it must simmer in its savory broth of shoyu and kombu is the last important decision our producer must make. Undercooking will produce a chewy seitan weak in flavor. Overcooking will make for a dark, salty seitan that will overpower other flavors when using it with other ingredients in recipes. Only by using the finest ingredients and long experience can wheat be transformed into a truly delicious and satisfying meat substitute.