This is the first DB bakers challenge I made very early on, but that has all to do with the fact that I’m co-hosting this month’s challenge 😉 I just found out I was pregnant when I heard I was to co-host this month’s challenge…and my due-date was actually the 21st of the same month! But I figured it would be ok since there were three of us to co-host. But as May drew closer both other hosts turned out to have other obligations and I was left alone. It seemed a bit too much to do it on my own with giving birth and all 😉 Luckily the first person I asked to co-host with me said yes 🙂 Thanks so much for that Courtney!
The main reason I joined the Daring Bakers was to explore new techniques. And as the challenges progressed I learned more and more. There was repetition of techniques too, making the challenge recipe itself a bit less challenging but there was always the choice of flavour or presentation to make it challenging.
My thoughts for this challenge was to make something that was all about technique, a technique not yet dealt with by the Daring Bakers: Strudel dough. Making strudel dough had been on my to-do list for ages but I never dared making the ultra-thin dough…until now that is!
Both Courtney (of Coco Cooks) and I made the dough prior to posting the May challenge. Though I was very apprehensive to make it, it turned out being less difficult (and stressful 😉 than I imagined. Making the dough and stretching went pretty smoothly. I made the traditional Apple Strudel and hoped to have energy to make a fancier one later on. Unfortunately I couldn’t force myself to make it again….not enough energy 😦
The dough itself is quick to make, the most time-consuming is preparing for the filling: making and baking the bread crumbs and peeling and slices the apples mainly. But the results were definitely worth it, the strudel tasted just wonderful! I don’t think I ever had a real (as in thin layers of dough) apple strudel before so I cannot compare but we will be moving to Vienna in about a month so I can check out the ‘real thing’ over there 🙂
I hope everybody had a great time trying out this month’s challenge, I know I did (once the stretching thing turned out going well 😉
And in case you’re wondering…no baby yet 😉
Apple strudel (from Kaffeehaus â€“ Exquisite Desserts from the Classic CafÃ©s of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers)
makes one big strudel
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 Â¼ 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 400Â°F (200Â°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 â€“ Exquisite Desserts from the Classic CafÃ©s 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.
Both Courtney and I did a trial run on making the strudel. Below are our notes:
– She could’t get it to stretch to 2 feet by 3 feet, it turned out more like 2 feet by 2 feet. But the dough was tissue thin nevertheless;
– She got some serious holes, but after rolling it wasn’t noticeable;
– She used a large cheese cloth which helped manipulate and stretch the dough more than a heavier cloth would have.
– I made the dough by hand, just mixed the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Kneaded it for about 5 min like you would bread dough. This worked as well. Haven’t tried using a standmixer so I don’t know how it compares.
– Instead of cider vinegar I used red wine vinegar;
– I used bread flour;
– Picking up the dough to let it stretch didn’t work well for me, holes appeared pretty much instantly. Instead I stretched the dough while it was lying on the tablecloth by putting my hands underneath and stretching it out further and further;
The May Daring Bakersâ€™ 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 CafÃ©s of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.