History of Seitan (1962-2022)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-948436-69-4

Publication Date: 2022 Feb. 2

Number of References in Bibliography: 685

Earliest Reference: 1962

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Chronology of Seitan

Gluten is a complex protein (composed of gliadin and glutenin) found mainly in wheat, but also in corn, barley and aye. It is best known for its ability to give elasticity and cohesiveness to bread, allowing it to rise. Vital wheat gluten, a cream-colored, free-fl owing power, is most widely used to fortify fl our and baked goods, but it also fi nds many other applications. One of the newest and most rapidly growing of these is its use as the main protein source in meatlike products. Seitan is a Japanese word, coined in 1961 by George Ohsawa (Sakurazawa Nyoichi), a Japanese-born teacher of macrobiotics. He gave this name to a meatlike product developed by one of his students, Mr. Kiyoshi Mokutani. The product was fi rst made commercially in 1962 by Marushima Shoyu K.K. in Japan. It was made by simmering raw wheat gluten in a broth, typically consisting of water, shoyu (soy sauce), kombu (a sea vegetable), and ginger.

Seitan was fi rst imported to the Western world in about 1969 by Erewhon, a macrobiotic and natural food company in Boston.

The earliest publication seen that mentions the word seitan is a 34-page macrobiotic cookbook titled Cooking Good Food, published in 1969 by Order of the Universe Publications in Boston. The author, whose name does not appear in the book, is Jim Ledbetter.

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