Strudel dough is, plain and simple, very easy to make. It is better than using pre-made and frozen phyllo dough or puff pastry, which will give you very different results. The dough is kneaded to create gluten, then left to rest. The dough is rolled out, stretched to a paper-thin film, brushed with butter and rolled up with your favorite fillings. This recipe is vegetarian.
Makes: enough for 2 large strudels or several smaller individual strudels
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the flour, salt and butter. Using a paddle attachment, blend the fat into the flour until it is incorporated and looks like little peas (similar to pie dough). Next, add an egg to the measuring cup filled with beer and whisk to combine. Add the mixture into the flour/fat dough and turn the mixer on to medium. Once the dough is formed, check its consistency. It should form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl, but should not be sticky. If needed, add either more flour (to make the dough less sticky) or add more beer (if the dough is too dry), one teaspoon at a time until the consistency is right.
Turn off the mixer and switch out the paddle for the dough hook attachment. Turn the mixer to a low setting and walk away for 15 minutes; this will form and stretch the gluten, creating a stretchable dough. After the dough has been kneaded, remove from the bowl and set on a lightly floured surface. Cover with a clean towel, letting the gluten rest for at least an hour, or refrigerate 2 to 24 hours (just let dough come to room temperature before rolling out).
After the dough has rested, create a large work surface, as this dough rolls out to a very large rectangle (3 to 4 feet by 4 to 5 feet). Take a large tea towel, clean sheet or tablecloth, and drape it over the work surface. Lightly flour the cloth to prevent sticking. The cloth will be used to help roll the finished strudel. Using a floured rolling pin or 22 ounce beer bottle, roll out the half of the dough to a large rectangle. Now, carefully pick up a corner of the dough, placing your knuckles (removing any rings) under the dough, and lightly pull your hands apart, stretching the dough.
Work around in a circle, repeating this technique to stretch the dough to a very thin film, thin enough to read a beer bottle label through. If a tear develops, pinch the dough back together. Once finished, the rectangle should be hanging off the work surface and be super thin. Brush the entire surface with melted butter; this will create a super flakey dough, full of layers when rolled up.
Once the strudel is rolled out, divide the dough into five even-sized parts or rows, without making marks. Add the filling of choice (making sure it is cool or room temperature, as the heat can melt the dough) to 2/5th’s of the surface, leaving enough dough to fold over the filling. When adding the filling, arrange it within the edges of the dough that will ultimately be the final size of the finished strudel, similar to that of making a burrito, taking into account the amount of filling relative to the length and width of the finished strudel and the baking tray. A standard sheet tray will hold a 18-inch-by-4-inch strudel.
Now, fold the bottom 1/5th of the dough over the filling. Fold over the sides of the dough to make the filling snug inside the dough. Lift the cloth underneath the dough and let the strudel roll over onto itself. Continue to roll until the dough is completely rolled. Make sure that the dough is not formed in a spiral, as the inside layers will not cook. Take the strudel, still on the cloth, and transfer it to a sheet tray lined with either a Silpat or parchment paper. If the strudel is too big to fit on the sheet tray lengthwise, shape the strudel into a horseshoe. Brush the top and sides of the strudel with the egg wash to give the finished strudel a golden brown crust.
Preheat the oven to 400°F | 204°C. Bake the strudel for 35-40 minutes, or until the outside of the strudel is the color of an English Mild (a golden brown hue). Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.