Classic Stretch Strudel Dough (and apple filling)
Stretch strudel can be made in a few ways: by hand, mixer, food processor and best of all, bread machine. Do not worry if you do not stretch it transparently thin. Even not-so-thin strudel dough will produce lovely pastry.
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 cups bread flour
CLASSIC APPLE FILLING
My favorite apple filling relies on Cortland and McIntosh apples which are still abundant in November in these parts. But you can use varieties that are good to bake with, in your area. I also love Tollman Sweet apples, which I get from my friends at Apple Journal (www.applejournal.com), where the variety of apples never ceases to amaze me. Tollman, as well as some other new, and heirloom apples, seem destined for strudel, as they are naturally sweet and juicy and bake up perfect as a filling. This is enough filling for one third of the strudel dough. To prepare dough, fill and bake, see Classic Stretch Strudel Dough Recipe.
6 cups apples, peeled, cored, and pared
1 cup, or less, sugar
1 teaspoon, more or less, cinnamon
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins, optional
FOR BRUSHING STRUDEL
1/2 – 2/3 cup unsalted, melted butter
Bread or graham cracker crumbs, to dust strudel
For a food processor, add water, lemon juice, eggs, salt, sugar, and oil and pulse to combine. Add flour and baking powder process until a smooth mass forms. Add more flour as required. Dough should be smooth, elastic and slack. Remove from work bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let rest one hour before using. Otherwise, place in a ziplock bag, refrigerate until required (1-2 days) and allow to warm to room temperature before stretching.
For the bread machine, add water, lemon juice, eggs, salt, sugar, oil, baking powder and flour to mixing receptacle. Run on dough cycle. After first knead, remove dough (you do not have to let it sit there for the complete cycle), wrap in a ziplock bag and let rest one hour. Otherwise, refrigerate 1-2 days. Allow to warm to room temperature before stretching.
For the mixer (paddle and dough hook), add water, lemon juice, eggs, salt and sugar to blend. Add baking powder and flour and mix until mixture is a mass. Attach dough hook and knead, 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Proceed as above.
TO STRETCH DOUGH
Divide dough in three portions. Gently roll dough with a rolling pin to flatten. Let dough rest 5 minutes. Begin stretching strudel. Use your fists to do this (make sure you are not wearing anything that might tear the dough or make holes) and stretch dough from center out – much like pizza dough. Stretch, move your hands around the edges, lift and stretch each new section. Every once in awhile, rest (good for you and the dough). Cover dough with a damp tea towel or clean, damp tablecloth for the rest. Use your fingertips to stretch dough when you can no longer use your fists (dough may be too large at some point to get at from sides into center). Always allow dough a chance to rest so that it will not resist your efforts. Once you get a rectangle of some 18 by 12 inches you can fill dough.
You can start with small portions of dough and just use it to practice. Once you feel more confident, line a large kitchen table with a floured clean sheet or clean, table cloth (you do not mind getting floured up) and make your strudel on the large surface. This is a great activity to do with kids or even have friends over to give you a hand – much like barn raising of old days!
Prepare apples. Toss in a bowl with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Add in raisins, if using. Brush surface of dough generously with melted butter. Sprinkle on bread crumbs or crushed graham crackers. On edge closest to you, spread about six cups of filling. Using the table cloth to lever the dough up and start rolling strudel into a log. Do this until the loaf is about 3 inches thick. Trim and gently lift up log onto prepared baking sheet. Brush top with melted butter. Make small air slits. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Bake at 375 F. (on a doubled up baking sheet, lined with parchment) until golden and juices begin to ooze. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Cut on the diagonal into single portions.
Each log of strudel yields about 8-10 slices, depending on size