I made apple strudel today- I chose not to use phyllo pastry; I made the strudel dough from scratch- combined a few different recipes. It was an attempt to recreate the strudel I remember from my childhood- my family was in the bakery business and I have very distinct memories of what the end product looked and tasted like.
The flavor was spot on- but the texture of the strudel dough left a lot to be desired. Instead of several beautiful, thin, flaky layers of strudel, the pastry was quite firm and chewy. I had no problem pulling/ stretching the dough, so I don't think that the gluten was over developed. Although it was delicious, it was disappointing. Any thoughts?

  • Posted by: ADS
  • November 6, 2010


bella S. November 7, 2010
I may not be traditional, but I have made strudel with a cream cheese and butter dough, similar to what I use for Rugelach. It is very rich and flaky. Yummy too.
amysarah November 7, 2010
I've never made a strudel other than with phyllo, but your question struck a chord because one of my earliest memories is watching my Hungarian great-grandmother make strudel (which she did for every special dinner or holiday.) I vividly remember, as luvcookbooks described above, her covering her dining room table with a clean floured cloth (I think it was a sheet?) starting with a circle of dough about the size of a small pizza, then moving round and round the table, methodically stretching it gently until it not only covered the entire surface, but draped over the sides like a tablecloth. This of course seemed like magic to me as a child. I recall her trimming the edges with a scissor as it hung there and using the scraps to bake us some kind of quick sugary treat. Anyway, that probably doesn't help you much, but I do think that using extra fine flour with a lot of gluten would be essential...as would practice - I should mention that my grandma had to be in her late 80's by then and probably had been making strudel regularly for over 50 years. (Not that I think it will take you that long to master!) Another thought - if you have a German or Hungarian grocery in your area, they could probably recommend the right flour, possibly even sell an imported one for that purpose - in NYC there's of course Yorkville (or what remains of it,) but I don't know where you live.
luvcookbooks November 7, 2010
Made strudel with a friend 25 years ago. It was very good and not too hard to make. Pretty sure we used regular flour. The key was stretching the dough so thin you could read a love letter through it. We rolled it out on a dining room table covered with a very clean cloth (I guess that was to keep it from sticking to the table? or tradition?) and covered the entire dining room table with a single recipe of dough that made one strudel. I brought a few slices home at the end of the afternoon. It was amazing. Be in touch with King Arthur about this, they're the best on baking. Please try again and don't be discouraged.
Soozll November 7, 2010
I've been itching to try my hand at strudel but haven't done it yet. Everyyone raves about it but I haven't had a good one, apparently. Every time that I've eaten it the pastry is chewy, and I can't imagine that it's supposed to be that way! I know that the top is usually brushed with an egg wash then it's sugared. I'm wondering if that has something to do with it. Sometimes the egg washes are applied too heavily and it makes the top have sort of a gluey feel. What is the dough recipe you used?
Mr_Vittles November 6, 2010
Maybe it was the type of flour you were working with. I know there can be real differences in between bread, all-purpose, cake, and "00" flours. Maybe try using a pastry specific flour. These types of flour have slightly more protein than cake flour, but much less than bread and all-purpose flours. This level of protein will render the proper amount of gluten in the finished strudel and deliver that flaky texture you desire. I know King Arthur makes a pastry flour, and they're the gold standard when it comes to flour in my book.
nutcakes November 6, 2010
That's very ambitious of you, I have only had the nerve to make rough puff pastry, so no help here. I suggest you check answers back tomorrow, and meanwhile read up on some of the good baking sites like baking911

they say:
Strudel dough is different from most other doughs because you encourage the development of gluten, which causes elasticity -- in most pastries, you try to minimize gluten to keep them tender and light. But this dough gets its magical texture from its elasticity and thinness.

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