How to Work with Phyllo Dough

Phyllo (also known as filo or fillo) is a flaky dough that is used to make many Greek pastries, such as baklava and spankopitas. Phyllo dough is readily found in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Phyllo is a very fragile dough, so one must be careful when working with it. Care must be used in order to maintain its texture, which is necessary in order to get the best baking results for the recipe. It is one of the more challenging recipes in the culinary arts world since the dough is a bit temperamental to work with. Be sure that you want to use this dough, as it is finicky, and very hard to work with. But if you decide to use this dough, follow the directions closely. Take your time with the dough and do not be in a hurry. Follow this advice and you will find that you will not be disappointed. If you enjoy making phyllo dough, you may want to look into the variety of Washington culinary schools available.

 In order to work with phyllo dough, you will need the following items: at least one package of phyllo dough. The dough can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator, but at least 5 hours are needed in order to start working with it. You will also need a pastry brush, your choice of melted butter or olive oil (these items need to be very close to the work space),a dampened towel,  plastic wrap, a baking sheet, and a clear, smooth dry surface (at least 20 square inches) to work with the phyllo dough.

You will also need the ingredients for your phyllo dough recipe. It is best to have the recipe done up to point where you need to place it on the dough. Also at this time, preheat the oven as required by your chosen recipe.

Take the phyllo dough out of refrigerator and unwrap. Pull one sheet of the dough out and place it on the work surface. Cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap and dampened towel to preserve the texture of the dough. This step will be necessary each and every time you take out a piece of phyllo dough. Dip the pastry brush into the oil or melted butter and, beginning in the center of the dough, paint entire surface outward towards the edges. This will help keep the edges from becoming too soggy with excess oil or butter.

Stack a second sheet of phyllo on top of the first one – making sure to re-cover the remaining dough each time with the plastic wrap and dampened towel. Paint the second sheet of dough the same way as the first dough. Carefully continue doing this as many times as necessary as called for by the recipe that you are using. Finish the dough and top it with the filling. Cover the filling and bake as directed.

Taking extreme care of your phyllo dough before and during assembly is somewhat tedious and time consuming, but that’s also what makes this one of the most rewarding skills in the culinary arts to master. By following these instructions, it will protect the texture of the dough and should make for the great tasty, flaky pastry that is phyllo. Doing this also insures a great recipe and may even help you realize your passion for the culinary arts! Fortunately you are surrounded by many Washington culinary schools to choose from. Bon Appetit!

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