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How to Make Phyllo Dough from Scratch
Phyllo (or filo) dough—a paper-thin dough that you can use to make baklava and other flaky baked goods—is often purchased at the store, in a roll of sheets in your supermarket's refrigerated or frozen food sections. But did you know that making phyllo by hand isn't that difficult? Time-consuming, yes, which is why it's not surprising that most people buy the stuff. But making it is fun, and can give you an incredible sense of accomplishment. Paper-thin dough—YES, I made that!
The ingredients are very basic, and don't require any yeast or other sort of leavening. This recipe will make approx. 18-20 8"x8" sheets (you can scale up or down depending on your needs).
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup water (more if needed)
- 3 tablespoons oil (olive or vegetable), plus a bit more for coating the dough balls
- 3/4 teaspoon vinegar
Make the dough
- Sift the flour and salt into a standing mixer.
- Add the water, vinegar and oil in a cup.
- Start mixing the dry ingredients slowly in your standing mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Slowly add the liquid ingredients from the cup into the standing mixer.
- Mix until liquids are well-incorporated. Add a bit more liquid, if necessary, until you have one big, cohesive ball of dough.
- Swap out the paddle attachment for the dough hook attachment.
- Knead slowly in your standing mixer for about 10 minutes. You should have a nice, smooth, springy ball of dough by the end.
- Stop the mixer, pull the dough off the hook, and knead by hand for another 2-3 minutes. Be sure to slam the dough on the counter several times.
- Form the dough into small, golf-ball sized balls, and coat with a thin layer of oil. The recipe above, if not changed, should yield about 18 balls.
- Cover oiled balls with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rest for at least 2 hours.
Roll the dough
For this step, you'll need either a dowel (about 3/4" diameter is great) or a rolling pin.
- Put a little bit (about a teaspoon) of flour on your work surface. Place the ball of dough on top of that, and then sprinkle some more flour on the ball.
- Flatten the ball with your palm into a small circle. Keep on adding flour to avoid stickiness.
- Use your dowel/pin to flatten it considerably more.
- Sprinkle the dough with more flour, and then, from one edge, spool the dough about 3/4 of the way onto the dowel/pin.
- Place your hands on the dough in the middle of the dowel/pin, and rapidly rock the dowel/pin back and forth, massaging out the dough with the palms of your hands as you move your hands away from each other. (See the video)
- Unroll the dough, twist it about 45 degrees, and repeat. Use flour generously to avoid allowing the dough to get sticky.
- Repeat this process until you have an exceedingly thin patty of dough. Place the dough on a flat surface and cover with plastic wrap or a damp (but not wet) towel.