dcsimg

Get Fearless with Phyllo

Light, crisp, and delicious, anything made with phyllo dough is sure to please, but has a reputation for being difficult to work with. This guide will teach you to become fearless with phyllo, adding a little puff into your baking repertoire.

Culinary Arts

I Say Phyllo, You Say Fillo... Or is it Filo?

Anyone who's tried a piece of baklava can attest to the magical qualities that phyllo dough brings to a dish. This special dough, also known as fillo or filo, and sometimes confused with puff pastry, is most often used in the pastries and filled pies typical of Greek food. Whatever you call it, phyllo dough has a reputation for being both delicious and temperamental. While incredibly tasty, the thin and delicate nature of phyllo dough can scare off even seasoned cooks. Fortunately, with proper storage and handling, working with phyllo can be manageable and fun, with delectable results.

Buying and Storing Phyllo Dough

You're most likely to find phyllo dough in the frozen foods section of your local grocery store. Because it's a specialty ingredient, some smaller stores don't even carry it, so be sure to stock up before you plan a Greek food-fest. While you may be tempted to substitute puff pastry for phyllo dough, it's not a good idea because the two are noticeably different.

When you work with phyllo, advance preparation is key because you must allow it to thaw for a full 24 hours in the refrigerator before you can begin. Then allow the phyllo to come to room temperature before working with it, which helps ensure that the dough is pliable.

Handle Phyllo Dough Like a Pro

Regardless of the phyllo dough recipe you choose to prepare, following a few simple guidelines can help keep you on track.

Thaw Your Dough!

Thanks to new refrigerated phyllo dough products, you don't have to wait for your dough to thaw. If you're working with a frozen dough, however, follow these helpful tips for thawing it:

  • Allow fillo to thaw in box at room temperature at least 5 hours.
  • Do not open until all other ingredients are assembled and you are ready to work.
  • Carefully unroll fillo sheets on a smooth, dry surface.
  • Remove any fillo you don't need for your recipe, re-roll, wrap in plastic and set aside.

Be Prepared!

Before you open the package of phyllo, make sure you've done the following:

  • Completed preparations for the pie or pastry filling.
  • Melted butter or poured oil into a shallow bowl to brush each layer of dough (remember to brush from the center to edges).
  • Readied the baking pan, pastry brush, and any other necessary tools.
  • Cleaned a workspace where the phyllo leaves can be unwrapped.
  • Prepared a piece of plastic wrap and moistened a dishtowel, which you'll use to cover the dough as you work to keep it from drying out and cracking.

Working With Phyllo

Immediately cover phyllo with plastic wrap, then a damp towel to prevent the sheets from drying out. Avoid leaving the sheets uncovered for more than one minute at a time. Because sheets of phyllo are delicate, don't be surprised if a few of them rip as you pull them off the stack. Torn sheets are still useable in some recipes, so don't throw them away. Also keep in mind that gummed up or cracked edges can be trimmed off to save the rest of the dough.

Give It a Bit of Shape

Part of the fun of phyllo is its art. You can fold phyllo dough into a variety of different shapes, from cones and tubes to pouches to strudels. We recommend checking out Athens Foods' guide to shaping phyllo dough for pro tips.

The Zen of Phyllo Dough

Whatever shape or filling you choose, never forget that the number 1 rule of working with phyllo is patience. Work slowly (but not too slow-you don't want the sheets to dry out!) and carefully until you become more comfortable handling the dough. Take your time and remember, like any skill in the kitchen, practice makes perfect!

Greek Food and Beyond

Whether you're making a savory spinach pie, a light appetizer with goat cheese and olives, or a flaky, fruit-filled dessert, phyllo dough adds a special flavor and texture to your meal. Reading about phyllo can help you learn the basics, but the best way to master the art of cooking with this special dough is to try it yourself. Fortunately, with an ingredient this tasty, you should have no trouble finding taste-testers eager to sample the results.

About the Author:

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            Salter College , West Boylston
            • Offers training programs in preparation for professional careers in business, health care, and computers.
            • Provides associate and certificate programs in medical assisting, massage therapy, culinary arts, and more.
            • Places students in externships to gain real world experience before completing their respective program.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • 2 campuses in Chicopee and West Boylston, Massachusetts.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            4 Program(s) Found
            Virginia College , Chattanooga
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year from 2010-2014
            • Day and evening classes are available for flexible scheduling.
            • Offers bachelor’s, associate, and diploma programs in business, culinary arts, criminal justice, cosmetology, and more.
            • Takes a unique “Focused Learning” approach, where students typically take only one class per month to concentrate on one subject with one faculty member at a time.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid