In Japan, the products seitan and yakifu are really nothing more than just the gluten of flour - the actual starch is washed away - and when cooked with broth, provide a meaty chew for vegetarian diets.
Wheat flour is more of a staple in European and North American cooking, and much of the skill in baking stems from managing the formation of gluten. Take for, example, the prized difference between a Southern biscuit, and a pizza crust.
|Biscuit from Steinbeck's, Atlanta
|Pizza. Not very good pizza, so I won't say where I got this.
|My creation: the pizza scone
Note, you can vary this in many different ways. Anchovies, anyone?
Put about 2 cups of regular all purpose flour in a bowl, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, about 1 tsp of baking powder, and whisk until mixed. Cut 5-6 tablespoons of cold butter into small pieces, and cut it into the flour. Can be done with two knives, or a food processor, or a fork. Do so until it resembles coarse meal. Put in some chopped up roasted tomatoes, fresh basil cut into strips, and some chopped up mozzarella cheese, and stir well.
Then add about 1/2 cup of milk or cream, and mix under a fairly dry crumbly dough comes together. Add more liquid as necessary, but mix until it just comes together. Dump it out on a clean hard surface, and press together into a delicate dough ball. Shape into a disk, and cut into 8 segments, and bake in a 180°C oven for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
Goes well with some good pepperoni and other charcuterie.