Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Not sure what it is about May, but I joined a LOT of groups! First I joined the Daring Bakers AND the Daring Cooks! Next I joined the Bread Bakers Apprentice Challenge! I had an extremely busy month and enjoyed every minute.

I was apprehensive about joining the Daring Bakers, but their challenges are always so technique based that I knew I would be learning a lot. I'm glad I did. The first challenge in itself has taught me so much!

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 Cafes of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

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

Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I did the entire thing by hand because I don't own a stand mixer. And everything came out okay!). 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.

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).

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.

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.

I did two kinds of strudel. One was the traditional apple strudel that was given to us by the Daring Bakers.

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
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)

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

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.

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).

Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands or a feather pastry brush (I used a regular pastry brush). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-wide strip.

Mix the apples with the raisins and rum, and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

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.

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.

The second one I tried was a spicy vegetable and cheese filling.

Vegetable & Cheese Strudel

1 cup Peas
1 cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped
4-5 Onions, slices
3-4 Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup Mushrooms, chopped
Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 cup fresh grated Mozzarella

Saute the vegetables together until tender. Add salt and crushed red pepper to taste.

Spread the vegetables about 3 inches from the rolled out strudel dough. Top with the mozzarella.

Roll the strudel as described above. Brush with melted butter. And bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

I actually loved the apple strudel, and a lot more than the veggie version. I'm sure I could've been more creative with the savory strudel. Next time I'm going to try it with mushrooms and feta cheese and maybe drizzled with balsamic...sounds delicious! :-)

There will definitely be a next time. Its far easier than it sounds and a lot of fun to do too!

Thank you for a fun challenge, and excited to be part of the Daring Bakers!


gdfd said...

Both strudels look yummy! I think your mushroom filling sounds GENIUS! Welcome to the Daring Bakers.

Superchef said...

both of them just look awesome! i especially loved the apple one :)

Lisa said...

More delicious strudels. I especially like the vegetable and cheese version! I bet it would be good with paneer too!

Priya said...

These look lovely, and I'll have a slice of the savory one over the sweet any day :-) Good luck with the challenges Arundathi,I'm sure you'll do great.

A_and_N said...

Have you been busy or what! And how was the trip, A?

Raaga said...

And then you ran away without telling me ;-)

both look great.

arundati said...

Welcome aboard the daring baker's ride!! it will be awesome!!they both look fab... i am yet to post mine!! *note to self: get off lazy a$$*

Aparna said...

So we are now birds of the same feather. :)
Your strudel layers are perfect and flaky. I felt the same way about my savoury strudel and preferred the sweet one too.

Did you come to Goa in the end?

Parita said...

Wow both the strudels look delicious..they have come ou the veggie and cheese version :)

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a fabulous job on your strudel and I love your fillings. Very lovely and I bet they tasted divine.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

Srivalli said...

now this is not make all this and you also disappear!..when you are coming back be sure to make it for us also pls..:)

DEESHA said...

that might have taken quite a lot of effort ..

isa said...

Your strudel looks delicious. Love the vegetable and cheese version.
Great job!

Lauren said...

Beautiful job on this challenge, your strudels look amazing =D.

Divya Vikram said...

Its raining strudels everywhere! Yours, look perfectly baked!

The Purple Foodie said...

YAY Arundathi! Congratulations on completing your first challenge :D THe strudel looks lovely.

natalia said...

Ciao Arundathi ! How wonderful are your strudels !! I wouldn't know which to chose !!

Usha said...

Your strudels look absolutely awesome and perfect !

DK said...

I was not aware that you joined the Dbers! Ok I have finally done the reader thing! So will be abreast of things...:)

William/The Author Of * said...

Wow you put a lot of work and detail in your wonderful blog. Glad I've found it!! Hope you don't disappear like so many.
What is the cultural or region of your "Indian" recipes? There are so many Goa, Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil, Kunkani

Arundathi said...

gdfd - Thanks!!

Superchef - So did we - thanks

Lisa - I'm sure paneer would be lovely

Priya - I'd love to do the savory one again with a different filling next time.

A&N - Just got back - it was fabulous!

Raaga - I know I know! I owe you!

Arundati - Thanks so much babe

Aparna - Nope, haven't gotten to Goa yet. Have to try the savory one again with a different filling.

Parita - Thanks

Sheltie Girl - They tasted pretty good - thanks.

Srivalli - Will definitely make it for you!

Deesha - Yes it did - but was easier than I thought it was going to be

Isa - Thanks!

Lauren - thank you very much

Divya Vikram - Thanks - I wasn't happy with the even baking but thats a fault with my oven

The Purple Foodie - Thank you! I'm very excited to have finished one challenge!

Natalia - Thank you!

Usha - Thanks

DK - yup, just joined this month. I hope you enjoy the reader. it's so much more convenient.

William - Hmm - I try not to have a certain niche. Most of my Indian recipes are south Indian (Tamil), but I do mostly non-Indian foods, I think.