I decided to start this crazy seitan business with the Basic Seitan Dough from The Bold Vegetarian Chef by Ken Charney. This book offers a basic dough recipe, with choices for two different boiling liquids, one produces a "light meat" seitan and the other a "dark meat."
The book also offers a "free range" seitan recipe, which sorta freaks me out, but I guess the titles of the recipes aren't up for scrutiny now, just the results. I decided to go with the "light meat" recipe, since it looked simpler, I liked the spice combination called for, and I had everything at hand: garlic, nutritional yeast, onion powder, wine, fennel, mustard powder, celery seed and red chilies. The recipe was very easy to follow, but took a bit to prepare as there was a long list of ingredients. It also followed the "bland dough, but strongly seasoned boiling water" school of thought, which isn't my favorite. While the raw dough tasted nice*, it had a really good balance of sweet and salt, the seasoned liquid was unable to penetrate into the seitan to substantially flavor it. However, if you want a really firm textured seitan, this will give it to ya', though it's a bit squeaky and rubbery. Using cheesecloth to contain and firm the seitan worked incredibly well, even after simmering for two hours, it completely prevented the gluten from getting "brainy" or soggy. Since the results were really firm, but extrememly bland, I'll probably end up grinding it up in my food processor to use for Jamaican patties--I can easily season it up that way.
Here's the finished product, pre grinding.
*I like to chew on raw gluten, it's like gum--you're spit enzymes won't be able to break it down for hours and hours. I've even blown bubbles with some.