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Austrian through and through Austrian ingredients. Austrian recipes. Made in Austria.

The history of strudel dough

Strudel dough and strudel making have a rich and varied history. 

The wafer-thin, pulled dough originally stemmed from Asia, and was brought by the Arabs to what is now Turkey via Egypt, Palestine and Syria. In turn, the Turks brought it with them as far as the gates of the Austrian capital during the first siege of Vienna. Some of the Turkish captives were discovered to have a completely unknown foodstuff in their possession – what we now know as strudel pastry, chiefly in the form of baklava. These finely layered cakes with alternating layers of pastry and honey and nuts were used by the Turkish army to provide sustenance during long marches. However, the real breakthrough came with the second siege of Vienna in 1683.

And it is down to the cooking prowess of Viennese housewives that this simple dough was prepared with such a wide variety of fillings as early as the 17th century. In 1696, just 13 years after the second siege of Vienna, an anonymous handwritten cook book now kept at Vienna City Library mentioned a "Mülch Raimb Strudl”, or strudel with a cream and breadcrumb filling.

Only 50 years later, strudel featured on the dining tables of Empress Maria Theresa’s court, making the dish acceptable in polite society and adding it to the canon of Viennese pastries. From Vienna, the humble strudel would go on to conquer the entire Austro-Hungarian monarchy and eventually the rest of the world.

Stephansplatz in 1860 (Richard Moser / Wikimedia)

Making Milchrahm Strudel

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