Strudelfest at Rheinlander Bakery: Go for the dough!

If you're still mourning the end of Oktoberfest, I've got another fest to cheer you up: Strudelfest.

Held at Rheinlander Bakery through the end of October, the festival celebrates a dessert that was once so central to European culture, an old wives' tale claimed that young women were ineligible for marriage until their strudel dough could be stretched thin enough to read through. Thankfully, the stretch test has fallen out of favor -- except at Rheinlander, where bakers still have to pass it in order to make these popular fruit-, cheese- or nut-filled pastries. See also: - Best Store in Olde Town Arvada: Rheinlander Bakery - Cafe Berlin will move to the 16th Street Mall - Plum good: Golden Europe's schnitzel, spaetzle and strudel

During Strudelfest, the bakery offers more than seven types of strudel, ranging from standard flavors like cherry, poppy seed and apple to such seasonal delights as pumpkin and cranberry-cherry-orange. Depending on the filling, the dough might be extra flaky (phyllo), rich and bread-like (sweet dough), or light, flaky and buttery (laminated dough). Of the three, laminated dough is the most common at Rheinlander but also the hardest to make, requiring bakers to fold it and roll it until there are 144 layers of dough and 143 layers of butter, giving it that irresistibly crisp, buttery mouthfeel.

Edward Dimmer, Rheinlander's head baker and co-owner, says many customers grew up eating strudel and can't help comparing it to what they ate as a child. "We compete with a hundred million grandmas," he says, laughing.

That's a feeling that Marlene Garrett, owner of Café Berlin, knows all too well. "When people say, 'It's not like I had it in Germany,'" she recounts, "I say, 'Your meatloaf doesn't look like your neighbor's meatloaf.'"

Find out how Café Berlin's scratch-made apple strudel -- and the rest of the restaurant's hearty German fare -- stacks up when my review is posted here tomorrow.

In the meantime, Rheinlander, which has been baking strudel since 1963, opens at 8:30 a.m. The bakery is open seven days a week, but Strudelfest ends tomorrow. Rheinlander is located at 5721 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; for more information, call 303-467-1810.

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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz