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daring bakers: strudel

Recipe: strudel

This month’s Daring Bakers challenge didn’t so much as creep up on me as stalk me all month. I finally settled on a savory version less out of inspiration and more out of necessity, as I only had two days before the reveal!

i am a daring baker and we bleeping knead to bleeping bake!

Here is the official line: 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. Of course, we must pay homage to our beloved, revered, and oh so beeeyootiful founders: Lis of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice.

simple dough: flour, salt, water, oil, and vinegar

the lumpy wad

I guess I was dreading the challenge (ask Tartelette, I was on the fence about punting the strudel all month) mostly because of the mess it involved and the fact that I didn’t want to clean it up. But when I decided to give it a go, I quite enjoyed kneading the dough from the lumpy mass into a smooth and silky dome. It helped get some of my frustrations out to slam it on the work surface (per the instructions, but I did give it a few extras for good measure…).


oiled and resting

While the dough rested for a couple of hours, I got the filling ready. The default recipe called for an apple filling, but we’ve got enough sweets floating around this house that I turned to my trusted Argentine empanada filling. Yes, dinner instead of dessert. I will always choose dinner over dessert, chips over cookies, salt over sugar, yadda yadda and yadda. Shut up, Jen and get on with it.

delicious beef empanada filling

rolling out the strudel dough

So the part that got my OCD self wondering if I really wanted to do this was rolling out the dough. Flour a tablecloth. I own one black tablecloth and I was not about to rub flour into it. After some scrounging about the house I found an old white curtain of sorts, and then some cheesecloth (hello! I bought you three years ago and you’re still in the nice plastic packaging). I set four layers of cheesecloth over the curtain on a work table and then floured the hell out of it. This worked well for me – no stickage. I employed Jeremy’s help to stretch the dough out until it was thin enough to see the texture of the cheesecloth underneath. Helen had given me a couple of crucial tips before I started the challenge (she probably knew I would have blown a gasket if it tanked): 1) knead the dough well to develop the gluten and 2) flour the bejeezus out of the cloth. I did not develop any holes. I heart Helen.

pulled as much as I could without making a huger mess

trimming the edges

After spreading melted butter over the dough by hand, I cut the large sheet in half so I could roll two strudels instead of folding one giant strudel into a horseshoe shape (that did not appeal to me). I blanked on making my own bread crumbs, so I sprinkled store-bought bread crumbs instead. Once the empanada filling was distributed, I rolled each strudel up and brushed with melted butter.

spreading the butter by hand

rolling the strudel

brushed with more butter

I actually enjoyed making the strudel dough and pushing (pulling?) the elasticity of the dough to its limits. The flavor of the dough itself left me indifferent, but I think there are many possibilities for future variations. Thank you to Linda and Courtney for expanding our horizons and nudging us another step outside of our comfort zones!

savory beef, potato, onion, olive, and egg strudel

[print recipe]
adapted from Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers

strudel dough
1 1/3 cups (200g) unbleached flour
1/8 tsp salt
7 tbsps (105ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tbsps (30ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 tsp cider vinegar

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. 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.

savory strudel
1/2 empanada filling
1/2 cup (60g) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe above)

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described above. Spread about 4 tablespoons of the melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the empanada mixture 3 inches from the short edge of the dough in a 3-inch wide strip. 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 (I cut my dough in half and made 2 that didn’t need to be curved). 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.

apple strudel
2 tbsps (30ml) golden rum
3 tbsps (45ml) raisins
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe above)
1/2 cup (60g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 lbs. (900g) 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). Make the strudel dough as described above. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the 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.

75 nibbles at “daring bakers: strudel”

  1. Tartelette says:

    You totally rocked this one! I know you would not tank it, doh:)
    Thanks for using the empanadas filling again, I remember saying “Yum!” the first time and I am saying it again (in French it goes “miam”…don’t ask).
    You are a dough stretching goddess!

  2. Rosa says:

    What a gorgeous strudel! That pastry is so thin and flaky! I love your choice of filling.



  3. Aran says:

    i feel like this month’s challenge also creep up on me, but i totally love what you did with it. in fact it sounds more appetizing that a sweet version!

  4. Andrea says:

    Oh, an empanada filling, nice choice! Your pastry looks perfectly thin and so flaky, lovely job!

  5. deeba says:

    What a great choice for the fillings, & I’m so totally envious of how beautifully your dough came about. I had a fab time slapping my dough back & forth too…

  6. Kathy says:

    It’s a nice change for lunch or supper. Great job as usual, Jen! :)

  7. Ria says:

    Loved the filling & I love the way you stretched the dough out! So perfect!! Wonderful work Jen!!! :)

  8. SallyBR says:

    I simply cannot believe ANYONE apart from my ex-husband’s Mom would make strudel dough from scratch.

    I am soooo tempted, but there is no way I could do it. No way.


    You pulled yet another masterpiece, and I love it that you went for a savory filling, by far my favorite kind!

  9. Mollie says:

    Well you know me an savory so I say outstanding! That empanada filling looks fantastic – I need to make your empanadas sometime soon! Sounds so tasty. I’m not so sure I’d have your patience with the strudel dough tho… :)

  10. Shellyfish says:

    I love your step by step photos! I was just commenting on another blog that I wish I’d made a savory version! Bravo!

  11. Kim says:

    Your pictures are beautiful and the strudel looks picture perfect. I think I’m going to try cutting the recipe into fourths and make a small strudel. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Laura says:

    Beautiful photos! Great job!

  13. courtney says:

    Thats a beautiful dough you have there. Perfect. Loving the meat filling.

  14. Susan says:

    Wow! Yours looks amazing! I halved mine before stretching it as I was too freaked out to try and stretch the whole thing at once – but you make it look simple! Get job!

  15. Dharm says:

    like it? I love it!! The filling is awesome and your dough is so thin. Great Job!!!

  16. Dianne says:

    Now I’m wishing I had made a savory version! This looks fantastic.

  17. kellypea says:

    Nice job on that GIANT sheet of strudel dough with no holes and no “stickage.” Wow. Loving that empanada filling too. I was dying to put meat in with my shrooms, but resisted. Perfect excuse to drape my kitchen in dough trying to make my sheet as big as yours. That studel is looking mighty fine!

  18. Valérie says:

    Wow, you really got a lot of layers out of the dough! Your strudel looks beautiful, and the filling sounds delish!

  19. Kristina says:

    I once went on a trip to Budapest, Vienna and Prague which we later dubbed “The Apple Strudel Tour” as we ate it everywhere (the best was in a little town outside of Prague).
    I had no idea that’s how strudel dough was made. I’m not sure I have the patience for that, but the end result sure looks good. I’m impressed and I like that you used an alternative filling.

  20. Arlette says:

    this is a prefect dough and a perfect photos, and I like the savoury stuffing.

    you did an amazing job my friend..

  21. jennywenny says:

    Good for you, it looks delicious. I couldnt face it, it just didnt excite me, and I know I’d end up with flour everywhere. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen but just couldnt find time for this. Hopefully I’ll get more enthusiastic about next month, since this is the first time I’ve skipped a challenge and I feel all miserable about it.

  22. susan says:

    wow your streudel dough making skills are impressive! i saw it once on tv and it looked soo hard. i’ll take a savory streudel over sweet any day. your post is making my mouth water at 8am in the morning.

  23. rose says:


    As always your challenge looks incredible!! I’ve been wanting to try those empanadas for awhile now! Well done!!!!!!!!!

  24. sara says:

    Wow, what a cool filling! Sounds really delicious. :) Gorgeous photos too!

  25. Lizzie says:

    Nice job with the dough. I am new to your web but find it vey entertaining and informational. From a baker/cook with way to many years to count you are doing a fine job. My brother in law’s Mother would make filo from a lump of flour and water dough that was stretched to cover the entire kitchen table. Keep up the good work

  26. Alana says:

    Beef empanada! Perfect… I too choose dinner over dessert, so I support your choice.

  27. DK says:

    I so wanted to make a savoury version, but ended up making the traditional filling since I wanted to try that..will make that next time. The pics look great :)

  28. Steve says:

    Holy Crow! That is one huge (and thin) amount of dough! Amazing that you were able to turn that into something delicious looking! Way to go on rocking the challenge Jen! One day, I will try rocking the daring bakers/cooks challenges too.

  29. Jayme says:

    The way you rolled/stretched that dough is amazing. It’s perfect! I’m anxious to try this dough with a savory recipe the next time.

  30. linda says:

    Yummy filling and perfect looking strudel!

  31. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    I loved the workability of this dough too, it was truly amazing, and what a perfect rectangle you pulled off! Your plated photo is just gorgeous.

  32. Fiona says:

    That looks really good. And your dough-stretching skills are incredible.

  33. Not So Vanilla says:

    I also had a crazy sense of strudel pastry stalking me around the darkened corners of my house this month. LOL
    Great filling idea. Empanadas without the frying…mmmmmm.
    Amazing photos as always. 1 heart your photos!

  34. Karen says:

    Nice going! Photos are beautiful!

  35. Sue says:

    Love ALL the step-by-step photos:) Looks beautiful and delicious-I love empanadas:) Great strudel variation!

    It was my first challenge and a lot of fun!

  36. Lisa says:

    Jen, the beef filling is making my mouth water, and as usual, you turned out absolute perfection, from the dough to the final result. You’re amazing!

  37. Singing Horse says:

    Your photos are simply divine! The strudel looks really really yummy! Thanks for sharing it and congratulations on creating such a beauty!

  38. Lisa is Bossy says:

    Jeremy is such a good sport! I’m not sure whether it’s my own problem that I’m too controlling (and bossy) and wouldn’t LET Mike help or whether he’d run screaming from the room and I know this; but I’ve never asked him to help me in the kitchen other than get something down off that tippy-toppy shelf… You lucky duck with Helen in your pocket – I probably should have kneaded a little longer to avoid the few sparse holes I got.

    Mike will be continuing his reign as Mr. Doggie Mom and will be staying home with Lucca while I travel with [babysit] my older aunties and parents. Good thing I have a cousin coming along ‘cuz lemme tell you (and perhaps I don’t need to…) the idea of handling 4 little ole Chinese ladies wandering the streets of Europe scares me to death. If you WERE closer you’d get to dogsit ANYTIME, Lady! And come over to play for that matter, too! Haha!

    *HUGS* Oh yes, the obligatory: Fantastic strudel!! (no lie!)

  39. Raje says:

    The strudel looks great. I will have to try the empanada variation. I did knead my dough well but I guess I did get a bit worried about developing holes and did not stretch it out enough.

  40. Eesh says:

    yum! my significant other is chilean (as well as japanese and canadian) and makes a killer empanada. but empanada filling in strudel is pure genius (although i’ll have to wait until i have a kitchen with enough surface area to roll out the dough). i’m so glad you didn’t punt the strudel!

  41. Zoë François says:

    I LOVE the savory filling! Now I’m so wishing I had this for dinner.

  42. charlane says:

    oh yum – this is a challenge that I admire you for doing. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, empanadas. my favorite.

  43. Dragon says:

    I can’t believe how much you stretched you dough! Great job on this month’s challenge!

  44. Caitlin says:

    Oh I am so glad you didn’t punt this month. Empanadas are wonderful things, so that filling idea is just plain awesome. And the end result? Just perfect!

  45. Y says:

    Jen, that looks a.m.a.z.i.n.g!!! I wanted to make a savoury one too, but I’m cooking for 1 at the moment, and honestly couldn’t be bothered going to all that trouble :P

  46. lisa (dandysugar) says:

    I love the empanada filling, it looks soo good! How did you stretch your dough that much??!! Amazing!! It’s nice to see a such a yummy savory strudel variation. Great step by step photos too!

  47. Margie says:

    AMAZING! But, I’ve come to expect that from you. :)

  48. Shirley says:

    Oooh… beefy sounds good.

  49. megan says:

    Great choice of filling. I might have to give that one a try. And your pastry looked so good. You definitly inspire me to give try #3 a shot! :)

  50. Bake in Paris says:

    Simply irresistable! Delicious……

    Clear and informative instructions! Great photography!!


  51. Mirthful says:

    Oh. Great idea! It didn’t occur to me to use anything but apples.

    And now I want empanadas… Hm…

  52. Whisky and other wonderful things » The Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel says:

    […] perhaps try a savoury version. May 28th, 2009 | Tags: apples, baking, cake, daring bakers, strudel | Category: Daring […]

  53. Esi says:

    I have to agree with you, slapping that dough was one of the most enjoyable parts. The cheesecloth is a great tip and if I should ever attempt this again, I will definitely use that! The savory beef filling sounds delicious.

  54. peasepudding says:

    delicious filling and what beautiful fine flaky strudel pastry!

  55. Anda says:

    When I first heard about empanadas, I started searching for a recipe and yours was the one to stick to my heart (or to my thighs :)). I made them for my birthday last year and they were devoured in a few minutes. I have been asked to make them again for every party we attended. This filling is absolutely delicious and I would have never thought about turning it into a strudel. Great idea and I will do it myself asap.

  56. gine says:

    Great pictures :-)! And the strudel looks delicious :-)! XOXO

  57. sandra says:

    What a fantastic idea: I love it!! Delicious filling (and side salad too!!)

  58. Kristin says:

    Homemade strudel dough?! I bow to you. You obviously have loads more patience than I’ll ever have. Looks yummy!

  59. Mary says:

    I hear you about the mess. Wait, no I don’t – ours had to be gluten free. This is the only time I can really enjoy that fact!

    My best kitchen tool for cleaning up flour, dough and stuff from the counter is a wide stainless steel drywall spreader or paint scraper from the hardware store. Fast fast clean up and nice sharp edge.

  60. Jillian says:

    Love the idea of using empanada filling! This looks so good!

  61. Hannah says:

    Man, your strudel looks so perfect in every way! That absurdly thin, flaky pastry really puts my efforts to shame.

  62. clumbsycookie says:

    It’s so perfectly round! LOVE that filling!

  63. Jenny Tan says:

    That looks so delicious!!! And your dough…gosh, it’s shaped so nicely, even b4 trimming! :)

  64. Melissa says:

    “I will always choose dinner over dessert, chips over cookies, salt over sugar, yadda yadda and yadda”

    You know I will too. I ADORE that you did a savory rather than sweet. Great job Jen!!

  65. sheila kingi says:

    simply WOW how long did it take from when you started rolling?

  66. Claire says:

    This looks fantastic! Yay for unknown cheesecloth. :-) So maybe my issue was not humidity and was the lack of kneading I did…but I just couldn’t knead that dough. Oh, well. Great job and lovely filling!

  67. Mrs Ergül says:

    I’m pretty terrified of the rolling out part!! You did a fantastic job Jen!! I love how lovely you made the challenge again!

  68. White On Rice Couple says:

    You are a strudel making machine, baby! How brilliant to use the curtain. And yes, we probably have a few lost bags of cheese cloth lying around somewhere!
    I would have loved to be taking pictures of you in your kitchen for this. Seeing that dough rolled out on the table, and all that yummy filling is like walking into a restaurant! Bravo on the final dish. It looks sooooo good!
    -hugs, diane

  69. Manggy says:

    Here’s the post where Jen transforms into a Hungarian mama :) I love that you were able to take out your aggression on the dough, hee hee! I love savory equally as the sweet, and that empanada filling looks good enough to eat straightaway with a spoon!

  70. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Now that is a filling for fabulous!!!
    I used the dough for an onion appetizer last night we loved. I was so surprised that I could do this.

    Your savory filling is wonderful.

  71. Asianmommy says:

    Ooh–this looks fabulous!

  72. Lindsay says:

    I love the way you talk…speak…write..think…? Unsure of the correct word but it’s great!

  73. jenyu says:

    Thanks everyone for your very nice comments! Go Daring Bakers!!

    sheila – it took me about 15 minutes from rolling the dough to stretching it out completely. Not that bad at all! :) And it was kinda fun.

  74. Holly says:

    I too thoroughly enjoyed stretching the dough. It was definitely the best part!

  75. Lizzie says:

    Years ago, I made streudel dough in the world’s smallest kitchen. I stretched it out on a bed sheet on the living room floor. Thought the doors to the room were closed — lets just say two cats had a field day. No way could the dough be salvaged (duh). Thanks for letting me visit this too funny memory!!

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