Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge May 2009 - Strudel Moodle

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.

You cannot rush a strudel. It is not something to do last minute, completely unprepared, and short of time. Doing so can result in a minor diva paddy, followed by complaints at the dinner table.

I only realised on Monday that time was running out (what happened to May? Where did it go?) and that I only had 24 hours left. I'd been looking forward to this challenge, too. Would have loved to make a sweet one, but as I'm trying to watch what I eat (I have little self control when it comes to sweet things, and I'd end up eating most of it) I decided on a savoury strudel we could all share for dinner. Shiitake and shimeiji mushrooms with garlic and herb infused cream cheese. I could hardly wait!

The dough turned out really well, but then the trouble started... I cut up an old (clean!) sheet to use for the cloth. It was all I had, but not ideal as was slightly pilled (actually,I think it was flannel cotton). Used plenty of flour, rubbed it into the cloth as instructed. Rolled the dough out no problem, beautiful and thin, picture perfect... however it STUCK to the sheet! Did my best and put the filling on ready to roll, the strudel was having none of it. Bit of shouting and stamping of feet, picked the whole lot ready to dump in the bin, but decided to scrape what I could onto the tray and make do. Now had I left myself ample time to tackle this challenge, I would probably had just thrown together another batch of dough and started again (with a better cloth), but after yesterdays episode if I am ever to make another strudel again it will be made with bought filo pastry! Am I going to show you what it looked like? Er, no. Here's a shot of the good end, just to show that I did at least have a go:

In spite of how it turned out, the filling was in fact delicious. From memory, here's what I put in:

1 pack shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 large pack shimeiji mushrooms, separated
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
a bunch of spinach, chopped
150g cream cheese
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon black sesame seeds

Fry the onion and pepper, then add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the spinach and season. Mix the cream cheese, garlic and thyme together. Spread the mushroom mixture over one end of the strudel pastry and top with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds after rolling.

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

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.


  1. I"m sorry your dough stuck to the cloth. Mine did stick a little bit too at first but with more flour, it turned out okay! I love how you made a savoury strudel!!

  2. Oh it looks delicious, I am thinking of spraying the working table with veggie oil and then work with it, I am still a bit SCARED and this is really, really intimidating.... bought filo... bought filo-- Wish me luck darling, at least the filling looks fab- Ooi ooi-- Chotto mendokusai ne?

  3. What a shame about the dough but great work with the save! It still looks delicious and the filling sounds absolutely divine! :)

  4. Hi Dharm,

    Heehee, I'm glad mine wasn't the only one to stick!

    Hey GJ - where's yours?!Not sure that oil would do the trick, babe... GOOD LUCK!! xx

    Hi Lorraine,

    Thank you - I couldn't bring myself to throw it away, and hey, there isn't any left! After seeing yours, I might just have to give it another go! xx

  5. Ooooh I'm a sucker for apple strudel but have never tried any other type. The mushrooms and herbed cheese combo sounds divine!

  6. Hi Heather,

    Well, I have to say that I far prefer a sweet strudel, however my waisteline disagrees! Mind you, I ate most of this one - ooops! xxx