From the Kitchen of Serendipity Ranch
Be prepared! I do not do well with recipes. My family always cringes when someone asks me for a recipe! I dump! Anyway, here is the best I can tell you, although I may have to also describe it in person!
I have a Kitchen Aid mixer, which is so much better than by hand. One trick I learned actually came from a baker and had to do with bread, but the concept is what I use for gluten -- the more you beat the flour, the more the gluten will work. If you have a mixer like a Kitchen Aid, you can "beat it to death," and it will come out even better, but I made it for years by hand, so don't worry over that. If you can pound it with something for a minute or two, it really toughens it up more. Good chore for your kids when you want to wear them out and not have them punching each other! ! !
Anyway, you must be sure to get vital wheat gluten flour. You will not be happy with anything else. Furthermore, anything else really needs to be washed, and I hate watching all of that money go down my drain!
I take 3 cups of cold water - do not use lukewarm water
1 cup of whole wheat flour (can add more if you decide later you like it more tender, but don't add more than two cups)
1/2 cup of yeast flakes
1 Tablespoon of seasoning (if desired!) I have just started trying this and am still in the experimental stage. I have tried McKay's Beef Seasoning and it comes out tasting like Linketts! I started with cayenne pepper because Mommie said she would like it hotter than what I was getting it!
Vital wheat gluten flour! I have no idea how much. I would guess at least two or three cups. I keep adding it until it is no longer really sticky. In the mixer, until it doesn't stick to the side or the dough hook. If I do it by hand, I keep adding it with one hand and mixing it with the other hand until it doesn't stick to my hand that is mixing.
If I am using my mixer, I let the mixer pound the ball of dough when it just starts forming into a ball that way it does not overheat my mixer. (I burned out a mixer by waiting until it was not sticky, so have tried it earlier in the process and seems to do well.) If I do it by hand I wait until I have it totally mixed up, then I just use it like a punching bag and punch it as hard as I can over and over, rolling it around and punching it -- good cure for frustration! In the mixer I will let it pound for about five minutes; by hand, I quit whenever I get my frustrations out! No, seriously, I stop when I get tired of pounding, which is generally under five minutes.
Once completed I cover it with water and let it stand at least 15 minutes. While it is doing that I get one to one and a half gallons of water in a stock pot. In that water I dump soy sauce or Bragg or McKay's Beef Seasoning -- probably close to a cup of soy sauce or Bragg or half cup of Beef Seasoning. I also put in about 1/4 cup of garlic powder. Then I take a taste! You want it really on the salty side. Depending on my budget, I will either add more of which ever of the first ingredients I used, or I will add salt. Salt is cheaper, so that generally fits my budget. The main thing, you do want it to be a really salty tasting broth, more than you would normally drink as a broth, but not quite uncomfortably salty.
Once the broth is to a boil and the gluten has sat at least 15 minutes to cure, then I cut the gluten with a paring knife and drop into the broth -- be careful not to splash and burn yourself! If you are not rushed, cut the pieces about bite size or a tad smaller; if you are rushed, just cut them up! They do double in size while they cook in the broth, but you can cut them later when you use them, if you have to. Size of pot? Remember, they do double in size while they cook!
Boil for two hours! I don't keep the broth, unless I know that I am cooking more gluten within a few days. It retains some of the gluten flavor, which I really don't care for in soups, etc. I generally drain the gluten chunks and freeze them in quart bags, what we do not use immediately. They do great frozen! You can grind them up like I did for burger crumble, or you can fry them with a little flour and seasoning sprinkled on them.
My mom loved them with cayenne pepper sprinkled heavily on them when I fried them -- Buffalo Wings! In fact, the last time I saw her before she died, I had taken her some to the hospital and she ate all of them!
I am learning that the sky is the limit with what you can do!
Something I have done a few times, but have not gotten it perfected enough for everyone to like it as well -- Once your ball of gluten has cured for at least 15 minutes, put it in a similar broth as above in a roasting dish without cutting into chunks and let it bake in the oven at a low heat overnite. Bake it at 250. I put it in a roasting dish and almost covered with the broth. You can then slab it off and barbecue it like steak, which we called hippo steaks! We liked it, but we all like the chunks better!
Good luck! Hope you can figure this out.
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