November 22, 2009

Homemade fake turkey

Finally, we come to part 3 of my Fakesgiving holiday extravaganza. For the third part, I've got something very different. I've got a homemade fake turkey...loaf. Roast? Blob? Whatever you want to call it, I made it. I tried to take pictures, and I got a couple of process pictures, but my camera is bogus, so the finished product pictures didn't turn out very well. What you see in the corner of the page is the plate with a slice of each of the three fake meats. The Quorn Turk'y Roast is on the right (that's the pale, white-meat-looking, perfectly round one), on the left is the Tofurky roast with hideous stuffing in the center, and in the middle, looking vaguely phallic (sorry - unintentional) is the slice of homemade fake turkey-loaf. I'll put the recipe at the bottom of the review, in case you want to try it yourself.

The process of creating this wasn't too traumatic. I had to go to my local co-op to get many of the ingredients, since my friendly neighborhood Rainbow Foods didn't carry many of the ingredients, some of which I'd never used. I did my best to follow the recipe, since we got it from someone who had used it many times before, with good results. One thing I will say - I had some trouble coordinating all three of the roasts, since they all cooked at different temperatures, for varying amounts of time. So if you're going to do this thing, probably just pick one. It'll be easier for you.

I had trouble believing that this:

plus this:

which, when combined, created this:

could actually be tasty, or even remotely resemble meat. But, I went with it, in the name of science!

Here's what the diners had to say:
"pleasantly moist and squishy with nice crunchy bits", "bread-like", "texture like soft or soggy bread", "fair amount of turkey flavor, though tastes closer to stuffing", "loafy", "my favorite of the three", "somewhat bready flavor...mushier than I would like", "bitter aftertaste", "texture = spongy - not bad to me", "looks like a loaf of bread I found in a puddle".

Common consensus seemed to be that it was relatively pleasant (except for the person who said it looked like it was found in a puddle), although not very meat-like. Most people said it tasted like stuffing, which makes sense, since I put the same herbs into it that people usually use in stuffing. I'm not sure what could be done to make it more chewy and less bready, but there you go.

If you are reading this and you make this sort of things a lot, send me some suggestions, or recipes. I have a bunch of leftover vital wheat gluten, soy flour, and a small quantity of nutritional yeast flakes (but I know where to get more), and I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm also not afraid of it anymore, so send me recipes! If there's something you want me to try out, let me know - I take requests.

The experience:
Texture - B (not meaty, but fairly pleasant)
Flavor - B- (again, not meat-like at all, but pretty yummy)

I'm not sure I'd call this a fake turkey item, as it had no real resemblance to turkey. Maybe you could mold it to look more turkey-shaped? If you do that, please send me a picture!

Final grade for this attempt: B

And now the recipe, with my comments in brackets:

Homemade fake turkey loaf (or whatever you want to call it)
Makes about 3 pounds [I cut it in half]

2 C pure gluten powder (instant gluten flour; vital wheat gluten)
1/2 C full-fat soy flour or chickpea flour
1/2 C nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp white pepper

12 oz firm to extra-firm tofu [I used extra-firm]
1 1/2 C water
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil

2 C hot water
1/3 C "chicken-style" vegetarian broth powder [I didn't find "chicken-style" in bulk, so I just used regular vegetable broth powder - this probably made it not taste at all like meat]
2 Tbsp olive oil
OPTIONAL: 4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2-1 tsp poultry herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary), crushed well [I used about a teaspoon of each]


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix the Wet Mix ingredients in food processor until smooth. Add the Dry Mix and process briefly until it forms a ball on blade. Remove and, with wet hands, form into 2 loaves. Place each loaf in an oiled loaf pan and press down a bit with your hand. Mix the Basting broth ingredients in a small bowl and pour about 1/2 a cup over each loaf. Cover each loaf pan with foil and place in the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, add about half of the remaining Basting broth and bake another 30 minutes, basting the top now and then. Turn the loaves over, carefully loosening around the edges and from the bottom with a small, thin spatula first. Add the remaining Basting Broth and bake about 30 minutes more, basting frequently. The loaves should completely soak up the broth by the end of the cooking time. If they don't, cook until they do. [mine went an extra 15 minutes or so] Remove from the pans and serve or let cool. Can be frozen.

Slice this VERY thinly for sandwiches, or you can slice it into 1/4"-thick "cutlets" for scaloppine, into chunks for stews and pot pies, slivers for stir-fries, or oblong chunks for "fried chicken", or other "chicken" dishes, browning first in a little oil.

FOR A STUFFED "TURKEY", [I might be interested in trying this at some point]

Divide the dough in half and roll each half out on a damp, clean counter with a wet rolling pin to make a circle 15" across, more or less. Mound about 3 and 1/2 c. stuffing in the middle. Sprinkle the top with roasted sesame oil. Fold the dough up around the stuffing in a loaf shape, pinching very well to seal the dough. Smooth into loaf shape and place each loaf in a very well-oiled 9x5" loaf pan. Now proceed as in the basic recipe, EXCEPT make 1 and 1/2 times the Basting Broth recipe.


  1. Of the three fake turkeys, this one was definitely my favorite. I thought that it coordinated well with the cranberries and mashed potatoes and gravy - possibly because of its vaguely stuffingesque flavor.

    I think if the grading was based on "How good does it taste?" instead of "How closely does it resemble real meat?", then I would have given it an A (maybe A-).

    1. If you knead the dough for about maybe 3 min. it will develope the gluten strands that make it more meaty looking.

  2. I do tend to factor in the actual enjoyment of the item, rather than just "is it like meat?" The grade includes that, of course, but it's not just a descriptor of how well it replaces the meat product it claims to resemble. This loaf definitely wasn't meat-like in the least, but it got a B because I'd eat it again.