Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge- Sweet and Spice and all things nice

I love baking.
It wasnt always like that. I remember my mom begging, pleading. arguing and using every trick in the book to get me to try my hand at cooking. I would flat out refuse.

Then one fine day I announced I wanted to go to university to get a degree in Nutrition. Mom almost fell out of her chair.
And then she couldnt stop laughing.

Its not like I had an epiphany or something. I dont even know what the turning point was.
I just started to enjoy whipping up desserts. Even then I knew I was more interested in baking than cooking.

Which brings me to why I decided to join Daring Bakers.
I decided that instead of doing variations of the same desserts all the time, I would join Daring Bakers- which would certainly make me stretch and challenge myself.

While my husband appreciates all the baking I do, he doesn't really have much of a sweet tooth. And it leaves me with trying to polish it all off. Not very good for me- wardrobe-wise.

With the monthly challenges I can switch it up a bit whenever possible- something spicy, something sweet...

And it would only be once a month which works out perfect for a busy working mom.

So with this month's Strudel challenge, I did an apple filling and a potato filling.

I had made Aloo chat and I decided to make a strudel with the filling. Sort of my version of an aloo chat samosa if you will...

I also made the apple filling. The apple strudel didnt turn out as flaky as I would have liked. I did stretch the dough so thin I could read a card through it. But it was a thicker casing around the filling.

So for the potato version I made sure it was REALLY thin. So thin in fact that I had a bit of trouble peeling the dough from the paper. But the end result was so flaky it could have passed for (2 sheets of ) phyllo.

Of course I couldnt stop crowing about it. Wouldnt you?

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.

Strudel dough

from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon 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.


Kathleen said...

I love the idea of a samosa-strudel! Mmmm....

Karen said...

I could do with a warm piece of your potato strudel right now as I'm sitting here in the winter's cold. *drool*

Lisa Michelle said...

Congrats on your first challenge..and a very well done one with that. Gorgeous strudel!

DJ said...

My very first visitors!! Thank you guys!!

Rachel said...

Congrats on a very well done challenge.

Aparna said...

Congratulations on your first challenge, well done. Welcome to the DB community.