Traditional Viennese Strudel Dough

Viennese Strudel
Charlotte Tolhurst / Getty Images
  • 01 of 10

    Mixing and Filling Strudel Pastry Step-by-Step

    Ready-to-eat Strudel
    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    Making and rolling out the dough is the most nerve-wracking part of making a strudel for most home cooks. It doesn't have to be difficult as long as you have a good dough recipe and a little patience.

    The tools you should have on hand to make strudel pastry are: a clean cotton towel with no nap, a baking sheet large enough for the strudel, parchment paper, rolling pin, a pastry brush, bowls, and a board to roll out the dough.

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  • 02 of 10

    Mixing the Dough

    Tacky Dough
    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    Dough recipe for one large or two small strudels:

    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (300 g.)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon neutral oil (30 mL)
    • 13 tablespoons lukewarm water (200 mL)

    After mixing all ingredients together initially with a spoon you will want to knead the dough by hand for several minutes until it is tacky, not sticky (whole wheat strudel recipe demonstrates "sticky").

    The picture shows tacky dough (all-purpose flour recipe). This dough is ready to form into a ball, brush with oil or melted butter and rest for an hour.

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  • 03 of 10

    Making the Fillings for Apple Strudel

    The Strudel Filling
    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    Strudel can have many different fillings. Here we are using:

    • 6 apples, peeled and chopped
    • Lemon peel and juice from one-half lemon
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • raisins

    The toasted breadcrumbs soak up some of the juices released when baking and lend a pleasant texture and taste to the finished product.

    Mix the apple filling and let stand until your dough is ready. Drain the juice before using the filling on the dough.

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  • 04 of 10

    Roll out and Stretch the Strudel Dough

    Strudel Dough
    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    After 1 hour, the dough should be firm and springy.

    Sprinkle a little flour on the board, smooth it out and roll the dough into its first 9-inch by 13-inch rectangle. You may divide the dough in half and work with half the amount (a 4-inch by 7-inch rectangle). Flour your rolling pin only enough to keep it from sticking.

    Switch to using your hands. Gently tug on all sides, to stretch the dough. Then, flour your clean cloth on one side, shake off excess, place it over the dough and, picking up the far edge of the dough with the cloth, flip both together and plop them down onto the board or table. Straighten out the wrinkles in both the cloth and the dough.

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  • 05 of 10

    Stretch the Dough Very Thin

    Stretching Strudel Dough
    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    Continue to stretch the dough with your hands from the middle to the outside edge until it's thin enough for your liking. Don't make it as thin as you can, but as thin as you are comfortable with. You want to avoid tears ​because they are hard to mend.

    At this point, the dough begins to take over the kitchen but never fear, you have enough filling to turn the dough into a neat package. You may make two smaller strudels with the dough but we find the results dissatisfying because the ratio of filling to dough is not the same. You can start to see the cloth (with kangaroos) underneath the dough in this picture.

    Brush melted butter over the dough.

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  • 06 of 10

    Place the Filling on the Dough

    Apple Strudel Filling
    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    Spread your filling as the recipe calls for it. We have buttered bread crumbs on one side and an apple-raisin mixture on the other.

    (The edges are a little thick so we cut those off.)

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  • 07 of 10

    The First Fold

    The Second Fold
    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    The first roll: Using the towel, fold about 1/3 of the dough over the filling. Always hold the towel and the dough together with your hands. Fold in both ends by hand to form an envelope (burrito-style). Brush melted butter over all exposed layers of dough.

    Fold over again, lifting the filling's weight with the towel. Brush melted butter where needed.

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  • 08 of 10

    Making the Last Fold to Form a Package

    Third Fold
    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    Fold the other side of dough so that it overlaps a layer of buttered dough by several inches. In the image shown, you would pick up the left side of the towel and fold the breadcrumb side over the dough. Brush melted butter over exposed layers for good measure.

    For me, the secret to a good strudel is to have no holes or steam vents in the strudel. The consistency of the fruit after baking is quite different than in a pie with vents, which gives it a special characteristic not found in a pie.

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  • 09 of 10

    Transfering the Strudel to the Baking Sheet

    Strudel on the Baking Sheet
    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    Put a sheet of parchment on your baking sheet. Place the baking sheet up close to the strudel (slide it underneath the cloth). Using both hands to grab the cloth like a hammock, pick up the strudel. Place everything, strudel, and cloth, onto the baking sheet and then roll your strudel gently off your cloth and onto the parchment paper, seam-side down. Brush melted butter over exposed layers of dough.

    Place the strudel in the oven and bake for 90 minutes to two hours at 350°F or until browned and apples feel done using a skewer through the top.

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  • 10 of 10

    Baked Apple Strudel

    Apple strudel cut in pieces on plate

    The pastry is finished! Brush melted butter on in the middle of baking and then once when it came out of the oven. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the warm cake.