Homemade Strudel Dough
Like Phyllo Dough, this requires a little elbow grease; most strudel recipes call for store- bought phyllo or puff pastry, which both work inter- changeably with this dough for any strudel recipe. But the homemade version, as always, has superior flavor and texture, and it’s fun to stretch by hand. By the time you’re done, it should be thin enough that you could read the newspaper through it. Don’t skip the bread flour or the vinegar; both are key to making a stretchy but light dough.
Makes: About 1 pound, enough for 1 large strudel
Time: About 45 minutes, plus time to rest
3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Combine the flour, oil, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl with 2/3 cup lukewarm water. Knead by hand or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the dough comes together and is smooth and pliable; this should take about 10 minutes (longer if you’re kneading by hand). If you are kneading by hand, feel free to turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface once it comes together to continue kneading. Don’t worry about over- mixing — you want to really work this dough. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too dry.
2. Wipe the inside of a clean bowl with a thin layer of oil and add the dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for an hour, during which time you can prepare the strudel filling; you can also refrigerate it overnight and bring it back to room temperature before rolling.
3. Tear a big enough piece of parchment paper to cover a large surface (the kitchen table is ideal, but if that’s not an option, just use the biggest clean surface you can). Tack it down with paperweights or other heavy objects and put a tablecloth or large, smooth (not terry cloth) dish towel over the parchment. Both of these steps seem strange, but don’t skip them; as the dough gets thinner and more delicate, you’ll use the cloth to move it, and the parchment makes it easy to then transfer the rolled strudel to a baking sheet.
4. Lightly sprinkle flour all over the cloth. Put the dough on the cloth and roll it into a rectangle, working from the center outward. Use the cloth to rotate the dough on your work surface as needed to maintain an even thickness and dust flour to prevent it from sticking.
5. Once the dough is about 1/16 inch thick and you can start to see through it, let it rest for a couple of minutes, then carefully shimmy your hands under the dough so it rests on the back of your hands and work your hands outward to gently pull the dough (see illustration). Move up and down the rectangle, stretching it more and more; ignore any tears. When the dough is translucent and the rectangle measures at least 30 × 20 inches, trim the edges and fill right away.
Recipe from How to Bake Everything