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In Hungary, they sell "rétesliszt", strudel-flour. What makes it better for strudel? Is it higher gluten? Lower? Softer? Harder? Which flour in a typical (USA) supermarket comes closest to rétesliszt?

I know from experience that all-purpose flour sucks for making strudel dough, and for that reason I usually just buy the frozen fillo (phyllo) stuff, but it's really not the same thing at all - it's too paper-thin and the sheets are too small. In a pinch, puff pastry rolled out real thin can also work, but the result will be a very German-style strudel.

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Your best bet is a stone ground bread flour or hard flour in the US that means finding a local mill. At your standard supermarket a high protein bread flour is your only option if you can find it there. I generally have to venture out to a Whole Foods market to find that as my "local" grocery store doesn't carry it. You could also try Tipo 00, I have run across it in some specialty stores. You are looking for the highest gluten content you can find so that you can get the elasticity you need to make proper strudel.

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    Italian Tipo 00 is a rating of fineness of the grind. There are 00 pastry flours with very low gluten content and 00 pizza flours with much higher protein. Looking at pannonmill.hu/indexen.php?f=31&pr=6 I'm pretty sure it needs to be high protein. Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 1:13
  • Thank you for that bit of information, I was under the impression that Tipo 00 was only a high protein flour, I did not know they also had softer varieties.
    – Varuuknahl
    Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 5:35
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(Since I haven't gotten an authoritative answer in the past twelve years, I'll post what I've been able to figure out.)

Most sources agree that rétesliszt is ground less finely than plain flour: it's not quite as coarse as wheat farina ("Cream of Wheat"), but it's definitely enough of a texture difference that you can feel it in the flour. Plain flour clumps when you pinch it; strudel-flour does not.

Some sources also say the strudel-flour has more gluten than regular flour, but that's not a difference that the average consumer can discern via a pinch test.

What I still don't know is how to substitute for or approximate strudel-flour if you live in a country where they've never heard of such a thing, but that might be a separate question.

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In Los Angeles-- California Milling-- 50 lb sack of BENCH BOSS-- Can be rolled and stretched as thin as a sheel nylon

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