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Old 01-14-2009, 12:46 AM   #1
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Mary Kozma's Almas Retes (Apple Strudel)

Mary Kozma's Almas Retes (Apple Strudel)
Retes (Strudel dough)

Ingredients:
3 cup Sapphire All-Purpose Flour
1 cup lukewarm water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons melted margarine, shortening, clarified
butter, oil, chicken or duck fat

Directions:
Make a well in the flour. Add all ingredients and mix well. Beat with hands in bowl until bubbles form and dough leaves the hands. Place in greased bowl and turn it over to grease the ball of dough. Cover and let stand for 20-30 minutes. Cover a 48 x 30-inch table with a 54 x 54-inch tablecloth, sprinkled with flour. Start by puling dough between hands into a circle.
When large enough, place on fist made with one hand and stretch gently with other hand. When too large to handle, spread in middle of tablecloth. Clench fists with thumb in center, fists down and knuckles up, reach under dough from center, working to outer edge of table stretching dough until paper thin and it hangs over edges of table. Edges will be thicker than
rest of dough. After the dough has rested and dried about 5 minutes, trim these thick edges; they can be reworked into another sheet, but it won't be as thin. Sprinkle Filling over dough. Fold over hanging edge to edge of table. Roll from edge of table to other end. Cut in length to fit a jelly roll pan, 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 inch. Grease pan well. Brush top of dough with
melted butter. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. Cut into 3-inch slices and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Apples (Almas)
Ingredients:
2 pounds apples
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup clarified melted butter, margarine, etc
1/2 cup raisins

Directions:
Sprinkle dough with some of the cooled butter, etc. Slice cored and peeled apples into 1/8 inch slices and sprinkle over dough. Sprinkle remaining ingredients over the dough and proceed as directed above.

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Old 01-14-2009, 06:13 PM   #2
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Need to cut back on the water with this recipe. I had to add almost another cup of flour. This was my first recipe using the Sapphire flour I picked up at the Amish bulk store, and I was able to stretch the dough to be "see-thru" with little effort (first time doing this activity as well).



I actually removed the big loop and cut it down before baking it. It made three nice rolls. I also put parchment paper on the pan so I wouldn't have a mess when the filling leaked out (which it did).





Tasted fine for my first attempt at strudel. Need to work on getting it into a wider profile for the next one, but as we say, we can eat our mistakes. I gave some away to a customer today while we closed on a contract for a new kitchen. I'm going to have to remember that trick! Taking the pie pan of samples to my fly fishing Board of Directors meeting tonight. they'll eat "anything!"
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:00 PM   #3
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The dough looks right. Sometimes at different times of year one can find differences as to how much water is needed when you make a dough like this. I am glad that you gave the Montana Sapphire unbleached flour a try. I love it!

What kind of apples did you choose? I like to mix them up and I tend to use white raisins for this recipe and only sweet butter.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PieSusan View Post
The dough looks right. Sometimes at different times of year one can find differences as to how much water is needed when you make a dough like this. I am glad that you gave the Montana Sapphire unbleached flour a try. I love it!

What kind of apples did you choose? I like to mix them up and I tend to use white raisins for this recipe and only sweet butter.
This was more than seasonal change. The next time I'll start at 6 oz and add as required. I also used golden raisins from the Amish bulk store. The apples were some weird cross breed I never heard of at Giant Eagle, and were the only ones available that were recommended for baking. They were not that great once they were peeled...lots of bruises under the skin and a funny texture as well. Plus, they were HUGE...3 apples weighed 2 pounds gross weight, which worked well for this recipe. Giant Eagle disappoints me more than they impress me with their fruit and produce department. It's like they have all the crap that nobody else wants. I need to get back to the West Side Market this Saturday to stock up on nice produce and fruit.

Learned a lot from this experience and will do some things differently with the next strudel. Maybe I'll do a cheese and a cherry next time. At least the filling will be more predictable and controllable.
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:00 AM   #5
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This looks really good, but I am not that good at stretching out dough like that! I might give it a try as the wife loves apple strudel, but don't be surprised if I show up on your door step with a big dough mess in my hands and an unhappy look on my face!!
I know it is cheating, but what if I just bought the filo dough? Would that work? And, do you have a recipe for the filling that is cream cheese like with white or red raisins in it? We get it at ALDI and she really loves it. It says it is a Bavarian Cheese and raisin strudel?
Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:41 AM   #6
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^Are you sure that I didn't answer that question? Or am I experiencing deja vu? I have a cheese filling with a tad of lemon rind and white raisins. I will look for it and post it in the pastry section, Mav.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:06 AM   #7
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You might have, but our search engine here is terrible so unless I responded to it I may never find it! LOL.
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick2272 View Post
This looks really good, but I am not that good at stretching out dough like that! I might give it a try as the wife loves apple strudel, but don't be surprised if I show up on your door step with a big dough mess in my hands and an unhappy look on my face!!
I did this recipe excercise bass-ackwards. I usually research lots of websites and review dozens of recipes and videos before mixing anything. It came out fine, but I was deficient in some knowledge which would have changed the outcome.
#1. (Not a criticism, just a clarification) You must work (knead) this dough for at least 10 minutes. Unlike bread dough which loathes overwork, this dough will actually stretch better the more it is worked when you initially mix it. The description of how to stretch was good and it worked well.

#2. My finished strudel was not light and flaky, but was crunchy instead, in spite of two butter bastings in the oven, and one when it came out. I learned from my wife that her mother and grandmother always buttered the entire dough surface before rolling it up, and this is what gave the nice flakey layers. I'll add that to my method when it goes on my website.

#3. The hydration of this dough is at 89% with the two eggs, assuming they each yield 2 oz of liquid. I did have Sherry Yard's (Wolfgang Puck's pastry chef) recipe alongside of this one, and the hydration of her dough was 71%. This seems more in line, but I will be adjusting the hydration through accurate measurement with my next batch real soon. I also used Sherry's addition of lemon juice for the apple mixture. I will reduce the water to 5.6 oz and go from there to stay at 71% so I don't have to increase the flour and have waste.

The most important thing I learned was that I could do this, and it has expanded my baking repertoire in a new direction. Thank you Pie Susan, Mary Kozma and Sherry Yard for this education. Strudel will now be something I make for Christmas and Easter, just like my mother and grandmother did, and will be something my children can look forward to at those holidays just like when grandma was alive.


Quote:
I know it is cheating, but what if I just bought the filo dough? Would that work? And, do you have a recipe for the filling that is cream cheese like with white or red raisins in it? We get it at ALDI and she really loves it. It says it is a Bavarian Cheese and raisin strudel?
Thanks!
Filo dough is just fine if you don't want, or are not able to make the dough from scratch. You'll just be like Sandra Lee...Semi-homemade. I don't have any other filling recipes yet, but they won't be too far away. I'll Google them and then pick through a bunch and cull the things I enjoy most from each of them. I encourage you to do the same. Half the fun of baking and cooking is coming up with things that you and your family enjoy.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:11 PM   #9
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JoeV, I thought that you would have known that gluten development was essential with strudel dough--it is how you can stretch it so that you can read a newspaper through it. Like I told Mav, if you have a large enough table you can use a bit of gravity and let the ends hang down and cut the thicker excess off. I also assumed that you would know to keep the dough moist and from drying out by brushing the entire surface with sweet melted butter. It is similar to how you treat phyllo dough that way. One can use lemon juice or one can also use different kinds of apples with different properties--tart and sweet. A caterer friend uses apple essence, too. I gave a link to the flavoring company. As for the amount of water, I copied the recipe as Mary gave it. I guess my mom knew to add more flour and could feel how the dough should be. I remember helping her roll it out when I was little and I have taken a strudel making class. It is a big job for one but doable. One usually has the apples peeled first and then, rolls out the dough. That is why two people make the job easier.

Also, I told Mav, I even have a cheat recipe that most people wouldn't know is a cheat. It still requires a lot of work but the dough is easier to work with. I would have to look for it; I don't have it at my fingertips.

The strudels at the West Side Market are wonderful--I bet next time you are there you can ask the ladies for some tips. They would be pleasantly surprised at your efforts and they are very nice.
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PieSusan View Post
JoeV, I thought that you would have known that gluten development was essential with strudel dough--it is how you can stretch it so that you can read a newspaper through it.
I'm a bread guy, and a neophyte at that. This recipe was my first attempt at making strudel, so I had zero knowledge of what to expect from the dough or how it should react (no yeast!). It was not difficult once I silenced the little voice in my head that kept saying this would be difficult. My dough was thin enough to read thru, so I consider that a huge success.

Regarding the hydration, I have noticed a lot of "hand-me-down" recipes came from someone jotting down what they saw someone else doing, and then trying to put that information into a recipe that could be repeated. Often, the scribe was the only one that knew the nuances that had to be adjusted while assembling the recipe, like having extra flower around to soak up the water. I even have one recipe (buried here somewhere) that describes my Great Aunt's green coffee cup that she used for measuring out flour, and a blue coffee cup for water. This was probably to keep the wet stuff wet, and the dry stuff dry, and being dirt poor, probably didn't have money to waste on measuring cups. It worked for her, but nobody could replicate her recipes very well.

So, we try the recipes from our predecessors and adjust as needed to make it come out well. This is why I convert most of my recipes to weight instead of volume. Then it's pretty much a no-brainer.
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