the taste space

Apple Strudel (How to Make Authentic German Apfelstrudel)

Posted in Desserts, Favourites by janet @ the taste space on October 14, 2010


This past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving and I was happy to be able to go home and spend some time with my family. While I wasn’t involved in much of the food preparation this year, I helped to provide recipes for the weekend – namely pomegranate-glazed salmon, Ina Garten’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with a Warm Cider Vinaigrette and baklava (ok, I was allowed into the kitchen to make this!). Everything we ate was delicious. I was lucky to grow up with a family that can cook and bake so well.

My quest to search out those treasured family recipes was one reason I became more interested in cooking. My paternal grandmother passed away before I became interested in learning how to make perogies, paska and borscht. Sometimes recipes just aren’t as good as learning from your Baba.

One of the first recipes I didn’t want to die into oblivion was strudel. Authentic, German strudel. How my Oma makes it. Nothing else compares. Just as I had comments that my baklava isn’t truly authentic without hamur (homemade dough), I know that strudel without pulled strudel dough pales in comparison to the real thing. For the longest time, I couldn’t even fathom making it in my apartment because I didn’t have a kitchen table. Because that is how big the strudel dough must be pulled.

I hope to share with you how to make the best apfelstrudel. It looks daunting and kneading the dough takes some knack. I find that the most challenging. The first time, I kneaded it for over 30 minutes until I was able to get the desired consistency. I had to knead until it felt “like this”, my grandmother and uncle explained. The stretching takes time and patience. No worries about small holes, since it all gets rolled up and no one will be the wiser. I need to keep my strudel making skills up to snuff, with constant refreshers, and my dad promised me we’d make it together over Christmas. :)

Here are a few photos from my first time learning how to make strudel:

You start with a flat circle of dough, first rolling it out with a rolling pin

Once it is thinner, you paint it with some butter

Then you start to gently pull it at the edges

Then you pull from the centre of the dough, after tucking your hands underneath.
It helps to remove rings and watches!

Keep pulling until it falls off your table

A dark table cloth helps you to see how thin your dough is.
Clothespins keep everything in place.

Then you tear off the slightly thicker edge

Adding more butter to the dough (holes are ok, even Oma makes them!)

Adding your filling: breadcrumbs, sugar, cinnamon, apples and raisins

Yum!

Then you flip it over on the longer side.

Flip over both shorter sides as well

Now the fun begins, lifting the tablecloth to roll the strudel down

Don’t let it fall off the table!

Transfer to a baking sheet, cover with more butter and bake

Baked, in all its glory

This is what we’ve all been waiting for. Delicious! :)

This is my submission to this month’s Regional Recipes, featuring German cuisine, and to Veggie/Fruit a Month, featuring apples.

Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

Dough (for 2 strudel)

4-1/2 – 5 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp vinegar
1-1/2 tbsp oil
1-1/2 cups tepid water

1. Start with 4 cups flour in the mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the salt, egg, vinegar, oil and water.

2. Now combine the egg mixture into the flour in the bowl. Use as little of the extra flour as possible (about 1/2 cup) in the kneading to get a dough that flows when you hold it by the top half. Knead the dough until it is smooth and comes clean off of the hand. Depending on how hard you knead, this could take 10-20 minutes.

3. Divide the dough into two parts. Store in small, tight-sealing, oiled dishes. Rest the dough overnight at room temperature.

Filling (for 1 strudel)

1/2 lb melted butter
3-4 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped (1-1/2 pounds) – try to use a mix of tangy apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, etc)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 tbsp cinnamon, or to taste
raisins, dried fruit, optional, to taste

1. Melt about 8 ounces of butter in over low heat.

2. For the pulling, you need a large table. Spread and clip a clean cloth (a coloured table cloth works great) over a large rectangular table. Flour the cloth and turn the dough from one dish out onto the center.  With a floured rolling pin roll it out long and narrow, as much as possible. Brush the dough evenly with melted butter,.  Lift and stretch the dough to about double its size.  Brush the dough evenly with melted butter, concentrating on the edges. Lift and stretch the dough (including the middle) until it hangs over all the sides. When finished stretching, remove the thickened edge by rolling  it on a hand as it is torn off.

3. If the fruit is very juicy  squeeze some juice out. One one end of the long edge (about 6-10 inches from the edge), sprinkle with the bread crumbs, then sugar, apples, raisins and cinnamon.

4. Fold the dough over at the short sides, by lifting the cloth and quickly flipping the dough over onto itself.  Roll up the dough by grabbing the cloth on both ends of the filled side  and lifting it  so that the strudel rolls gently. Be careful not to roll the strudel over the opposite edge!

5. Lift the roll in an S shape into a  buttered  pan (can use vegetable shortening since it is less likely to burn). Brush the strudel with melted butter. Pull and fill the second strudel. Bake together in a pre-heated 400F oven for about 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350F. Bake until light brown for approximately another 25-35 minutes.

6. Let the strudel cool a bit before cutting it into pieces. Best served when still warm from the oven. Can be frozen and reheated.

One strudel serves 8-10.

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57 Responses

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  1. Lindsay said, on October 14, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    wow what a wonderful recipe to share! I love recipes like this. Unfortunately all of my grandparents passed away before I started cooking, so seeing you get to cook with your Oma must be pretty special.
    …now I need to get a table cloth so I can try this!
    thanks again.

  2. Megha said, on October 14, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    Just loved it!!! You are amazing :)

  3. Cara said, on October 14, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    Awesome post! I love the photo tutorial – I had no idea what was involved in making authentic strudel. I can’t say I will be trying it anytime soon, but what a fun (and delicious!) dish to conquer.

  4. Joanne said, on October 14, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    My gosh Janet this is incredible! You and your adorable grandmother did such an amazing job. This is the best strudel I’ve ever seen. And I thank you SO much for submitting it to Regional Recipes!

  5. fattydumpling said, on October 14, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    Wow, that is so intense, the resulting pastry looks so flaky and delicious…such a treat.

  6. Amy said, on October 15, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    Wonderful post and story — the strudel looks delicious, too!

  7. Pretty. Good. Food. said, on October 21, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    Oh my gosh this looks absolutely delicious! I don’t know if I could even get close to how these are supposed to look, you did a fabulous job!

  8. Soma said, on October 22, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    One AMAZING lesson !!! Such a delightful post. Don’t know if I can ever do it than thin and transparent but it was worth seeing how it is really done. Thank u thank u!

  9. Kelly @ It's a Food Life said, on November 3, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    Wow! I am impressed. This recipe looks amazing and the method is priceless!

  10. Phoo-d said, on November 8, 2010 at 8:09 AM

    Wow! I’ve never seen anything like this. What a cool method for making apple strudel! You are so lucky to have an adorable grandmother who can pass along the tricks and methods. The strudel looks marvelous.

  11. honeybeeluvsjackfruit said, on November 12, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Wow gorgeous! I wish Oma could come and make some for me!

  12. [...] For step-by-step instructions on preparing the strudel and the recipe for apple strudel, see my previous post here. [...]

  13. [...] I can bake homemade strudel and Turkish baklava, and cook spaetzle, I still struggle with rice.  Rob was very encouraging, and [...]

  14. [...] of Eastern European descent, I actually don’t cook many German or Ukrainian dishes (mainly special treats, though). However, Rob’s parents are very keen on traditional Polish food, and when [...]

  15. the good soup said, on November 23, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    What a beautiful set of pictures! just found you from Rosa’s site. Glad I did.

  16. rainer. susan. kim said, on December 9, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    thank you!!! {for sharing!!! {i will make the strudel on sunday

  17. Michelle said, on December 17, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    My father, now 83, has spoke his entire life that he could never find authenic strudel like his Tante Mitzie and Tante Madeline use to make. So glad I found this and cant wait to try my hand at it. Cant wait to suprise him and make it for him. He will be like a kid in a candy shop. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on December 18, 2011 at 5:01 AM

      Hey Michelle, Definitely let me know how it turns out for both of you. :) It sounds like a wonderful Christmas present. :)

      • Michelle said, on January 15, 2012 at 12:01 AM

        Made the strudel tonight and everyone loved it. My dad was so suprised and appreciative, his smile just lit up my heart. I had a lot more holes in my dough than your Oma’ though! He said his aunts use to also make it like a fatter loaf too but he was a kid so did not quite remember how. Thanks so much for sharing this post-you have no idea how much it meant for me to be able to do this for my father. :-)

      • janet @ the taste space said, on January 15, 2012 at 12:21 AM

        Michelle, I really appreciate your feedback. I am you were able to connect through the strudel with your father. it is definitely a labour of love… and oh so tasty. :)

  18. Katherine Newsom said, on April 1, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    The traditions of my Grandmother passes with her. I love to bake more than anything but have been unable to find a teacher to learn the techniques from my heritage. Thanks so much!!

  19. [...] took charge and delved into her kitchen to see what I could make….. While she typically makes traditional German food, I was delighted to discover she also had glass jars filled with oodles of dry beans, dried fruit, [...]

  20. Ronnie Lambeth said, on October 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I am attempting to make this strudel tomorrow, today I made the dough to sit out overnight and I hope it turns out as amazing as this one looks! It’s my first attempt so wish me luck!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 5, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      Good luck! And have fun and don’t stress out! No one will see any holes, and yes they can grow very quickly! Please let me know how it goes!!! :)

      • Ronnie Lambeth said, on October 5, 2012 at 4:30 PM

        I have a question regarding the dough. I leave it out on the counter overnight right? I just want to make sure i’m doing this correctly because other recipes I have seen they put them in the refrigerator and I don’t want my dough to get messed up or go bad. Just looking for reassurance! Thanks!

      • janet @ the taste space said, on October 5, 2012 at 7:28 PM

        Yes! Leave it out overnight at room temperature.

  21. Carol said, on November 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Thanks so much for sharing your Oma’s recipe. My husband and mother-in-law speak often and fondly of the strudels they grew up with. My MIL’s mother, Gram, would make them very similar to your Oma. They always say that no one could ever duplicate Gram’s strudels. I have Gram’s handwritten recipe but it was missing some of the details (e.g., how long to rest the dough, how much filling) but your recipe really helped in filling in the gaps. I’m making the dough this morning and will finish it tomorrow. Needless to say, both husband and MIL are eagerly waiting to try it.

    One question, did your Oma ever make a cheese-filled version? Gram made a version of it that was my MIL’s favorite. Her birthday is coming up in a couple of months and I was hoping to surprise her with one.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on November 5, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      Thanks! Please let me know how everyone liked the apple version. I know my Oma made a cheese version but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it. We also would make blintzes, which were crepes filled baked with a cheese filling topped with a fruit sauce.

      • Carol said, on November 6, 2012 at 10:19 PM

        Hi Janet! The apple version was a hit! They said the dough was spot on like Grams. I decided to make a cheese one using a combination of what my MIL told me and my cheese danish filling. MIL said is was also spot on like her mom’s. Happy campers all the way around. She’ll still get one for her birthday but at least I now know she’ll like it. Thanks again!

      • janet @ the taste space said, on November 7, 2012 at 10:06 PM

        No problem. Glad to hear it was a success! :)

  22. Apple Strudel Challenge « CAB Cooks said, on November 16, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    [...] The Taste Space with pictures and great directions. Janet was kind enough to share her Oma’s recipe, which was the closest to what I knew about Gram’s recipe. It all came together when the [...]

  23. Stephanie said, on December 1, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Oh thank you so much for posting this. I am desperately trying to master this to keep the tradition alive! My best friend’s grandmother always made this, but I too became interested in making it long after she was well enough to teach me. So thank you for sharing.

  24. [...] Apple Strudel (Germany) (learn from the best!) [...]

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  26. mabel said, on January 31, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    wow!! it s all properly pulled and soo thin!
    strudel looks incredible too

    feel absolutely the same about recipes dying into oblivion
    almost feel a kind of desperation about it: pass it on!!!!
    hmm, do you kno roughly how big the table is?
    just so i kno how stretched it needs to be if ever i try making it
    n thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on February 1, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      It is a standard table that fits 6 people… so maybe 3ft x 6ft or something like that? Please let me know how it goes for you. :)

  27. [...] One reason I became interested in cooking was so that I could learn how to make our family’s traditional meals. One of the first things I wanted to make with my grandmother (Oma) was apple strudel. From scratch, not from phyllo dough. We pulled the dough so thin to make the perfectly crispy and flaky strudel. The first time we did it together, I posted step-by-step photos to keep the tradition alive on my blog: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/apple-strudel-how-to-make-authentic-german-apfelstrudel/ [...]

  28. Tammi said, on March 22, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    The lady that used to babysit my sister and I made Apple Strudel just like this and I have been wanting to try and make it for sooooo long but had no idea how. The last time I watched her make it I was only 7 years old or so. She also made lots of home cooked German foods that are awesome!!! Janet you are an absolute angel for not being selfish and sharing this. I can’t wait to try it out and see how it goes. And the pictures are absolutely wonderful too, they help a lot with the visual.

  29. Lilly said, on May 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    I’ve been hunting high and low for an authentic recipe for strudel, and to might delight I found this one. I’ll be trying to make it on Sunday/Monday for a friend of mine. She absolutely loves strudel and she’s from Europe. This should be an excellent treat for her.. and for me!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on May 9, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Thanks for dropping by. Please let me know how your strudelling goes. :)

      • Lilly said, on May 13, 2013 at 9:25 PM

        Mmm! It was absolutely excellent! Stretching the dough out was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but I found that slow and steady wins the race and makes for better and thinner dough!

      • janet @ the taste space said, on May 13, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        Yay! Glad it worked out in the end. Practice makes perfect. :)

  30. Rachael Muirhead (@stoicbaby) said, on July 1, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Wow, Janet! Thank you so much for posting this beautiful recipe! All of my life, my mom has boasted about how wonderful her grandmother’s strudel was. By the time my mother learned how to cook, she lived in a different country and couldn’t easily get the recipe. It was so funny, my mom tells me this story all the time. She called her grandma on the phone and said, “Oma, how do I make your apple strudel?”

    Her grandma said, “Well, Katja, you take THIS much flower.”

    My mom replied, “But, Oma! we’re on the phone! How much is that? One cup? Two?”

    Her grandma said, “This much.” (hehe!!)

    By the time my mom thought to ask, my great-grandma was pretty out of it so we lost the recipe. Fortunately though, you so thoughtfully shared this recipe and I surprised my mom on Sunday afternoon with her first authentic apple strudel since she was a child. She said this tasted exactly like her Oma’s and seeing her so happy was just amazing. I’m glad that I read through the previous comments that people posted. I pulled the dough nice and slow and had barely any holes! I used a bigger table though, and had to add more filling! But rest assured, we ate it all up.

    Thank you again for sharing this. It has become an instant family favorite!

    • Rachael Muirhead (@stoicbaby) said, on July 1, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      Oh, and I forgot. My mom would also tell me that her Oma would steep her raisins in hot water for a while until they were nice and plump. So I brought water to a boil, took the pan off the heat, added raisins, and steeped them for about 10 or 15 minutes until they were fat and juicy. I drained the water and lightly dried the raisins off with a paper towel. It was perfect!

      • janet @ the taste space said, on July 3, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        Your comment just made my day. I really appreciate you leaving your feedback and story. Glad the strudel was a success and hopefully the strudel tradition will not fade away with the older generation. :)

  31. Mary Leitch said, on October 14, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Seen these made by Hungarian and Slovenian women in a Catholic Church in Ohio when I was young and made one myself later. Turned out great, but time-consuming. You need to be sure when you are pulling the dough that you are pulling by your finger knuckles and not the tips of your fingers possibly tearing the dough with
    your fingernails. It takes experience and is a whole lot better than that frozen dough you buy in the store.

  32. Lori said, on October 19, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    I was challenged by a German friend to make strudel from scratch. I have to admit I was intimidated, even though I am a pastry chef. This recipe was fantastic! It was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Came out great. So delicious. Trying round two tomorrow with apples that we picked today with the kids. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 20, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      Hi Lori,

      Thank you so much for the positive feedback. I am thrilled you took up the challenge. Any number of fillings can work, but this apple version has always been our favourite. Enjoy strudel number 2! :)

  33. margieandrobin said, on December 25, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Late to the party, but just had to comment that I tried this, and it’s an absolutely superb recipe. Very authentic. If anything, BETTER than my grandmother’s, a feat that I never believed could be possible. The dough is just beautiful, stretches like a dream to a transparent, filmy sheet, and bakes to crisp perfection. The gold standard is that you should be able to read a newspaper through pulled strudel dough, and you could do that with this one.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on December 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      Hi Margie and Robin,
      Trust me, you are never too late to the party (especially if you bring homemade strudel). I really appreciate you coming back to tell me about your strudel successes. Enjoy!

  34. […] 1. Apple Strudel (How to Make Authentic German Apfelstrudel) […]

  35. Vanessa said, on February 5, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    OMG i looove the story even more than the recipe..such a gift you were able to do this with your grandmother.

  36. Austria | Cooking Around The World said, on February 16, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    […] Apfelstrudel (recipe) […]


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