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.
When I saw the challenge, I was excited! I've never made strudel, and the task did not seem daunting. I made a few changes to the recipe and decided to make 4 mini strudels: 3 with apple/raisin/walnut/rum filling and one with mango/strawberry/rum filling. (Take a look at what I did with leftover mango/strawberry filling!). For the dough, I used bread flour instead of regular, and sherry vinegar instead of cider vinegar.
The dough was relatively easy to work with. I had a few holes while trying to stretch the dough out, but did not worry about those. Unfortunately I had to wait till the morning after baking the strudel to take pictures and it was REALLY, REALLY sunny, thus the super bright photographs.
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. [I made my dough in a bowl and just used a wooden spoon to mix things.]
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. [As I mentioned earlier, I simply divided the dough in 4 parts and rolled each one on parchment paper, and then stretched it with my hands.]
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.
5. I first spread the dough with melted butter, then a combination of fresh bread crumbs and butter and then added the filling before rolling it and tucking in the edges a bit. The whole thing baked at 400 for about 30 minutes.
Below: apple/raisin/toasted walnut/sugar/rum filling