Strudel adventures and the Case of the Mysterious Flour
I had never made strudel before the pandemic, but for some reason I decided at the end of April that I really wanted to try making an apple strudel. I am now strudel-obsessed. I have made 5 strudels and 2 related pastries. The first time, I definitely didn’t pull the pastry thin enough. However, I made major improvements on my next two strudels and was particularly pleased with a sweet potato strudel invention.
Then I seemed to really hit a stumbling block. On my next two attempts, the dough just kept tearing and tearing. When I started thinking about it, I thought the flour might be at fault. Before making the problematic strudels, I ran out of my King Arthur’s bread flour. And with the pandemic, their flour has been tricky to source! However, my mom was at a small local grocer and she picked up a couple plastic bags with the grocery logo that were labeled ‘King Arthur’s Bread Flour.’ Eureka! We all thought we were back in business.
However, as I thought about my pastry problems, I became suspicious that the flour in the makeshift plastic bag might be the culprit. Yes, I was trying to pull the dough super thin. But did it make sense that I had taken such a big step back after feeling like I was really getting the hang of strudel-making? I decided to try again with some bread flour from Anson Mills, a small mill in South Carolina. And it worked beautifully!
This weekend, I used some of the Anson Mills flour to make a wonderful Pastis Gascon. It wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was pretty good for being quite a strudel newbie. The key for making the pastis (as opposed to strudel) is to let the pastry dry for a while before cutting the circles. With strudel, the filling is enough to keep the pastry pretty taught. But with the pastis, the pastry can really shrink in if you don’t let it dry out.
The take home message: Make sure you have the right flour! I firmly believe the bag must have been mislabeled.
Well done. Looks similar to Bruno Albouze's Tourtier Landaise, an apple-fig pie with phyllo. He makes his own hand pulled phyllo, I made it with store bought.
Your creation makes a nice presentation.
Wow, that is so impressive.
I worked with a polish baker in Florida 40 years ago, he had the touch.
We used hi-gluten flour as I recall.
A 1 lb ball of dough covered 2 x 10 foot tables joined together and reached the floor all around.
We ripped off the excess and let it dry a few minutes before applying butter and sugar and making apple streudel.