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Daring Baker’s: Strudel

Posted by jenskitchen on May 27, 2009

A few months ago I joined the Daring Kitchen. I loved the idea of receiving a challenge recipe that would help me try new techniques. Since one of my goals is to teach myself how to cook, this seemed to be a fun way to try things that were just outside my comfort zone. 

I received my first challenge on May 1 and WOW, was it outside my comfort zone! Even when I wasn’t eating low-carb and gluten-free would I have tried this. But, that’s what this is all about, right?

When I first saw the recipe, there were two immediate concerns. Strudel is not low-carb. Not even a little bit. It’s not even something I would want to try to make low-carb. So, my Atkins friends… this post is not for you. But, not to worry. I’ve got something ready for you all that I’ll be posting either tomorrow or on Friday. The second concern is that the strudel dough is very gluten-reliant. Gluten is not allowed in my kitchen. No, not even a little. This was definitely going to be a challenge – and way outside my comfort zone.

Did I succeed? Well, that depends on how you determine success. I can’t say that I ever ended up with “Strudel” – though one attempt was really very close. Did I say one attempt? Yes I did! I ended up trying this 6 different times. And, the first attempt was really the one I would say came closest to Strudel. It was more like a wrapped pie, since I just couldn’t get the dough as thin as you would in a traditional Strudel.

However, the Sous Chef’s and I sure had fun trying – and after nearly a year of lamenting about not finding a pie crust that I like, I have now found a great pie crust. The end result was tasty, so in the end, I would say I did pretty good for my first challenge. The only changes I made to the original recipe were to sub a gluten-free flour mix (that I purchased at Gluten-Free Creations). At the baker’s suggestion, I added potato flour to their mix. Being gluten-free flour it took more water and more oil to turn into pastry.

Here’s the challenge:

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

– Ingredients are cheap so we would recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn’t come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try;
– The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster;
– Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;
– To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;
– Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.


13 Responses to “Daring Baker’s: Strudel”

  1. Mary BC said

    You rocked your first challenge!!!!

    The gluten free recipe from CIA seems low carb and high protein ….? But I ate it too fast to think that one through.

    • jenskitchen said

      Thanks! After I looked at the CIA recipe, I started thinking that I could make a strudel low carb. I am definitely going to try the CIA recipe – I didn’t have all the ingredients to try it before – so I’ll be getting them soon.

  2. Natalie said

    Beautiful job on your first challenge! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  3. Lauren said

    Awesome job on your first challenge!! Your strudel looks amazing =D.

  4. Ah, how lucky you are to have such a cute little sous chef.

    Baking without flour seems like quite a challenge, but it looks like you figured a way around it. Nice work!

  5. It definitely helps to have a willing little sous chef for several attempts! He’s a cutie for sure. Love the rum, raisins, and walnuts as ingredients–yum!


    • jenskitchen said

      And, luckily the sous chef’s ate the majority of what I made so it didn’t go to waste (or my waist)!


  6. marika said

    CONGRATS on your first DB challenge, and welcome 🙂 I have so much respect for the GF bakers…especially with challenges like this month’s strudel – Well done!

    • jenskitchen said

      Thanks! I had a lot of fun with my first challenge – excited for the future challenges. Gluten-free baking has been a little intimidating, so this will encourage me to try new things.


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