What can I say? I love vegan jerky! And apparently I'm not alone, because my original recipe for Teriyaki Seitan Jerky is the most popular post on the blog (thank you, jerky lovers!!). So let's get into some new flavors today, shall we? How about Buffalo and Thai Peanut?
How to Make Vegan Jerky:
The basic method for these two flavors is similar to the Teriyaki. It starts out like traditional seitan, but we actually build the flavors right into the dough. Once the dough comes together, we knead it, cut it into four equal-sized pieces, and freeze it for about 30 minutes. This firms up the dough and makes it easier to slice.
I like to use a chef’s knife to carve my jerky slices, but a serrated knife would probably work well, too. You want to slice the seitan as thinly and uniformly as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the more similar in thickness the pieces are, the more consistent the cook time will be. It's definitely okay to embrace the jagged edges and varied shapes, though, you know, to make it look like jerky.
Once the slicing is complete, the seitan takes a dip in sauce and is either draped across racks (if you have them) or put directly on parchment-lined pans. Then, bake it low and slow for about an hour-and-a-half. And just like that, you have delicious, healthy, homemade vegan jerky!
I got a tad impatient while slicing some of these because I was doing two batches at once. So some of the pieces were thicker than I usually like (see the one in the center of the above photo?). Even still, it really wasn't a problem. It just meant that I had to sort through the tray near the end of cooking, removing some of the thinner pieces that were done, putting the thicker ones back in the oven for a few minutes. No big deal!
The photo above shows the raw Buffalo jerky just after being dipped in sauce and right before going into the oven. The photo below shows them after 30 minutes of baking at 250 degrees. Even though that's only about one-third of the way through the cook time, you can already see how much drier and jerky-like they look.
The thickness of your pieces (along with a few other factors I'll mention below) determines the cook time, so keep that in mind. Check the consistency at the 30 minute mark (they should still feel pretty soft) and again at the 1-hour mark, and you'll get an idea for the progression of doneness. Check again 15 to 30 minutes later. When the thickest pieces no longer show signs of that raw seitan texture, you’ll know they’re done. Allow the jerky to cool completely, and store it in an airtight container.
Honestly, I'm not sure exactly how long the jerky keeps because it never lasts more than two days in our house! So use your best judgment. Considering it's not made from highly perishable ingredients AND it's dried, I would feel comfortable keeping it up to a week.
An important tip for successful seitan jerky:
As I mentioned in the Teriyaki Seitan Jerky post, storing the jerky in an airtight container for a few hours (or overnight) can correct any pieces that come out of the oven a little too crispy. When they're all cozy and closed up together, the moisture redistributes and helps make the jerky more uniformly chewy, or at least that's how it seems. Let's call it jerky magic.
The following is copied from my Teriyaki Seitan Jerky post. Hopefully these additional details will help you achieve jerky success on your very first batch!
Factors that affect the cook time of this vegan jerky
There is a bit of an art to knowing when the jerky is done. But if you read the tips below (also summarized in the Notes section of the recipe), you'll be ready to make jerky like a pro.
- Because we’re working with a flour (vital wheat gluten), the method used to measure it is very important. The wet-to-dry ratio of the seitan directly affects how long it takes to cook. I recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh the vital wheat gluten, but if you don’t have a scale, use the following method:
Pour vital wheat gluten into a large bowl and gently whisk (like other flours, it will be more compacted in its original package, causing you to scoop up more than is needed). Gently scoop it up with a measuring cup, and level off the excess using the flat edge of a knife.
Side note: if you enjoy baking and don’t yet have a kitchen scale, I’ve been using and enjoying this affordable one from Escali.
- Also, ovens can vary a lot. When you’re cooking something for well over an hour, even just a 5 degree difference in oven temperature can impact the cook time significantly.
- Finally, the thickness of your slices will determine whether the jerky is ready in an hour-and-a-half or closer to two hours! This is where the “art” of knowing doneness comes into play.
But before you start thinking, “Ugh, this sounds too hard!” rest assured that there isn’t ONE specific level of doneness, where anything outside of that means failure. Nope! There is actually a somewhat forgiving window. Here are my best tips:
- Check the consistency a few times, and you’ll start to get a feel for the progression of doneness. When the thickest pieces no longer show signs of that gelatinous, raw seitan texture but are still a tad soft, you’ll know they’re done. At this point, the thinnest pieces will seem firm, almost crisp. For me this is around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Right out of the oven the thinnest pieces of jerky might seem too crispy, but don’t despair! Store the jerky in an air tight container for a few hours (or overnight), and you’ll find that the remaining moisture magically redistributes, softening the crispier parts and making the thicker pieces firmer and more jerky-like.
If you make either of these seitan jerky recipes I would love to hear about it! Tag a photo @myquietkitchen on Instagram, or leave a comment below and let us know how it goes. Happy snacking!
If you're a fan of seitan recipes, you might also like Vegan Seitan Bourguignon With Rosemary Cauliflower Mash!
Vegan Seitan Jerky (Buffalo and Thai Peanut)
Buffalo Seitan Jerky:
- 2 cups vital wheat gluten (240 g) Use a kitchen scale for the most accurate measurement; otherwise, whisk vital wheat gluten before gently scooping it up with a measuring cup. Level off excess with the flat edge of a knife.
- 1 1/8 cups water
- 1/4 cup Frank's hot sauce or similar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- approx. 1/2 cup Frank's hot sauce (or hot sauce of choice)
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter, melted
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Thai Peanut Seitan Jerky:
- 2 cups vital wheat gluten (240 g) Use a scale for the most accurate measurement; otherwise, whisk vital wheat gluten before gently scooping it up with a measuring cup. Level off excess with the flat edge of a knife.
- 1 1/8 cups water
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter, salted
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger or 1 inch piece fresh ginger, zested
Thai Peanut Sauce:
- 3 Tbsp natural peanut butter, salted
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup or agave
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp sriracha, optional
- 1 to 2 Tbsp water, for consistency
The instructions are the same for both flavors:
- Line two baking sheets with foil. Place racks on top, if using, or cover the foil with a layer of parchment paper.
- Put the vital wheat gluten in a large bowl and set aside.
- In a blender or bowl combine the remaining jerky ingredients and blend/whisk until fully incorporated.
- Pour the wet mixture into the wheat gluten, stirring to combine. Move the dough to a flat surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut the dough ball into 4 pieces and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a blender or small bowl combine the sauce ingredients. After the dough has chilled, slice it thinly, dip each piece into the sauce, and place on the rack/pan. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper if desired.
- *If jerky is directly on a parchment-lined pan, flip every 30 to 45 minutes to ensure even drying.Bake the seitan for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, checking doneness a few times during the second half of cooking (see notes). Keep in mind, a wetter dough may take closer to 2 hours.
- Because the jerky cooks at such a low temperature, the cook time is somewhat forgiving. Depending on the thickness of your slices, as well as the exact moisture content of the seitan (this is why the method used to measure the vital wheat gluten is very important), you may need to experiment a bit to find your favorite level of chewiness. It's better to err on the side of slightly underdone than over.
- When the thickest pieces no longer show signs of that gelatinous, raw seitan texture, you'll know they're done. They may still be a bit soft while the thinnest pieces will seem almost crisp.
- Don't worry if the thin pieces of jerky seem too crisp right out of the oven; they will take on a more uniform chewiness once stored in an airtight container.
- Store jerky at room temperature for several days or in the refrigerator for up to a week (possibly more if very dry).
- Nutrition information represents the Buffalo flavor.