[caption id="attachment_96" align="alignleft" width="250"]Stew with Seitan Stew with Seitan[/caption]

What does “seitan” mean?
Seitan is Japanese for “made from protein”. “Sei” means “be, become, made from” and “tan” is derived from the word “tanpaku” meaning “protein”. Authentic seitan is made with protein from wheat or spelt flour, not from wheat or spelt gluten isolates.

Why is seitan called “wheat meat” in English?
Seitan has an extremely pleasant bite, structure or texture for a meat substitute. Many people think it's the only high-protein meat substitute which closely resembles the structure of animal meat. People who don't like the texture of tofu often choose seitan. Because it's made from grains and is strikingly similar to meat, English speakers have dubbed this Eastern creation “wheat meat”.

Does seitan contain more protein than tofu?
Yes, and the difference is considerable. Seitan contains up to four times more amino acids (the building blocks of protein) than tofu. Per 100 kilocalories, wheat seitan contains 24,728 mg of amino acids, and spelt seitan contains 21,821 mg. When you consider that tofu contains only 5908 mg amino acids per 100 kcal on average, Bertyn seitan is the obvious choice.

Why do we talk about seitan being a “high-protein meat substitute” when beans, eggs, grains, etc. are also high in protein?
Because a truly high-protein meat substitute must contain the same 9 essential amino acids as “real” meat. Short explanation: our bodies need 22 amino acids to build various proteins. These proteins are necessary to keep our skin, organs, hormones, enzymes, etc. in good condition. Of these 22 amino acids, there are 9 which our bodies can't make for themselves. These must be obtained from food. You can do that by combining certain sources of protein, such as beans with grains (both of which contain different essential amino acids) or you can save yourself the hassle (‘Have I eaten some of every single amino acid?’) by just eating seitan. Organic seitan contains all 9 essential amino acids, as well as the rest! Seitan contains all 22 amino acids required by the human body!

Can I eat seitan if I want to lose weight?
Absolutely. In fact, we recommend that you do. If you want a healthy way to burn a few kilos or layers of fat, the best thing you can do is give fast carbohydrates a miss (that's white pasta, bread and rice) and eat protein (and healthy fats) instead. Protein helps maintain muscle and doesn't affect your blood sugar levels. The desire to snack disappears and the healthy muscles keep burning fat. Even better, seitan contains very little fat or fibre, so it keeps your bowels running smoothly.

Is seitan a healthy alternative to tofu for people with a soy allergy?
Yes. Because the soy beans used to make tofu increasingly tend to be genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the number of people with soy allergies is growing. The quality of soy is deteriorating; it is even becoming unhealthy for the human body. Organic seitan made from ancient grains, like Bertyn seitan, is the perfect alternative.

[caption id="attachment_98" align="alignleft" width="199"]Burrito with Seitan Tops Burrito with Seitan Tops[/caption]

What's the best way to use seitan in cooking?
Seitan is tremendously versatile. Unlike tofu – until now, seitan's biggest rival – seitan holds its structure much more easily. Dishes we have successfully made with seitan include cordon bleu, meatloaf, meatballs, marinated kebabs, and many more. Seitan lends itself perfectly to a wide variety of recipes. You can find some of these in the book Healthy And Happy With Proteins.

What is the difference between wheat seitan and spelt seitan?
Some connoisseurs might notice a subtle difference in flavour. Spelt seitan is particularly valuable as an alternative for people with a wheat allergy. It's also good for people who like a bit of variety in their diet, rather than always eating wheat products.

Can people with a gluten intolerance eat seitan?
People with coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance (only 2% of the global population) should not eat seitan. However, in many cases people with a gluten allergy can tolerate spelt seitan. Usually, when people have a gluten allergy, what they're actually allergic to is wheat gluten. Because so many foods contain wheat (such as pasta, cakes, noodles and bread), it is an increasingly common cause of allergic reactions. The body reacts much more positively to spelt, because it is a much less common food ingredient.

How is Bertyn seitan made?
Making Bertyn seitan is a labour-intensive and time-consuming process, because Bertyn seitan is authentic seitan made in the traditional manner. Ancient grains (Manitoba wheat or Oberkülmer ancient spelt) are ground up and mixed with water. This mixture is then kneaded into a dough and rinsed repeatedly with hot and cold water, until the protein is left as an elastic mass. The seitan is then formed into balls and cooked in a soy-sauce broth.
How long does it take to create a packaged product, ready for consumption? About two days on average.

Is all seitan on the market made from wheat or spelt flour?
No, you can also buy seitan made from wheat or spelt gluten isolates. This seitan is therefore a refined product, which by definition means that certain nutrients have been removed. The seitan is therefore much less nutritious for the body than unrefined, authentic seitan.

Can I make seitan at home?
You can certainly have a go at making seitan. According to the Bertyn chefs, you will need to spend about 1 day in the kitchen to make 1 seitan steak.

What is the shelf life of Bertyn seitan?
Because of the pasteurisation process, Bertyn seitan has a shelf life of 16 weeks. The use-by date is also clearly stated on every Bertyn product.

After opening, normal food safety rules apply: it should be consumed within one week.

Can seitan be stored in the freezer?
Unopened, in sealed packaging, seitan can be stored for up to 6 months in the freezer. After opening, leftover seitan can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can store it in the original packaging.

What is a protein diet?
A protein diet means that you replace fast carbohydrates with extra protein and healthy fats. Because organic, authentic seitan is high in protein, it's the ideal food to include in a protein diet.

Can you eat seitan before playing sports or exercising?
Research shows that a small amount of protein before physical activity, in combination with carbohydrates, can have a beneficial effect on performance. It also has a positive effect on your muscle function. Just look at Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and his chocolate milk (carbohydrates + protein).

Is seitan a good source of protein for strength training?
Yes, it's an excellent source. 83% of the kilocalories in seitan come from complete proteins. Seitan also contains only 1.5% kcal from fat per 100 g.(In general, Bertyn seitan contains between 90 and 118 kcal per 100 grams.)

Why are Bertyn products often sold with an accompanying sauce?
For several reasons. Tastes differ, and not everyone likes the same thing, but sauces make Bertyn products extremely user-friendly. All you have to do is prepare a few vegetables or some pasta and heat up the seitan, and you'll have a delicious meal in no time at all.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for more information about our products.