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Phyllo dough


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I could have sworn that there was already a topic devoted to phyllo dough, but I searched and I couldn't find it. I also tried other spellings. Anyway, if there is already a topic, then please merge.

I've been working with phyllo since I was a kid. When I was in elementary school my mom would make trays and trays of spanikopita for my school's spring fair, and I would help with the assembly. I still consider it one of my specialties, but I make mine in individual turnovers rather than one large pie. Anyway, my reason for starting this topic is that the last few times I have made spanikopita I've had a seriously hard time working with the phyllo. I thaw it in the fridge for a couple of days, but when I unwrap it, it's been completely stuck together, usually in the middle so that trying to separate it results in sheets with huge holes in the middle.

This weekend I made a big batch of filling. I got out my phyllo dough and tried to assemble my turnovers. Well, I literally got 8 usable sheets out of the whole package...not nearly enough for all my filling. I didn't want to go out and spend another $3 on another package that would probably have the same problem. So, I decided to make my own phyllo. I have several greek cookbooks including The Foods of the Greek Islands by Aglaia Kremezi. She suggests using a pasta roller to roll out the dough, so that's what I did. The whole experience was very frustrating. I have the pasta roller attachment for my kitchen aid mixer, and I never go to the last setting on it for pasta, as you can see through the sheet even on the 6th setting (it goes to 8). But I did go to the last setting for the phyllo. The sheets kept sticking together or tearing and then the ones that were usable were still an awkward shape for using. I think it might have been easier to roll them out by hand, but I don't know how you could possibly get them thin enough with a rolling pin.

I think I've blabbed on long enough, but I want to ask a few questions.

For anybody who makes their own phyllo: are there any tricks to make it easier?

the recipe I used said to use the phyllo right away, but it definitely seemed to be easier to handle once it had dried out a little. What do you do? Can you store homemade phyllo after it has been rolled out?

And for anybody who uses packaged phyllo...any hints for how to avoid the problem of sticking?

The homemade phyllo was really, really good. If I can figure out how to make the process more manageable I would be happy to never buy the commercial stuff again.

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oh, I almost forgot to post the pictures of my results. I actually remembered to take some for once! Unfortunately, I couldn't take any pictures of the process (not enough hands as it was), but here are the finished pies before baking.

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I made them in coils because that seemed to work best with the long thin strips from the pasta roller. I've never made them this shape before, but I like it.

Here's a picture of one baked, plated with some leftover steak and arugala salad.

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As I said, they were really good. I still have quite a few in the freezer, too.

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I made a little pictorial with captions on dehr schstreudel* dough. To answer your question about how to get it thin enough, you stretch it out on the back of your hands. I've never had that happen with store bought phyllo though where it all gums up so bad but I don't use it that often either.

Go to my webpage www.acmecakes.com (link there at the bottom of this post) then scroll over halfway down to "Welcome To The Library Of The House of Acme" keep scrolling a bit and choose Magic Dough. Or I think this will take you there.

* this phrase is spoken with gusto where s's and saliva dit dot's fly hither and yon :biggrin:

Your spanikopita look heavenly!!!!

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Wow, that is a great slide show! However, I don't have enough room anywhere in my apartment to do that. Also, it certainly seems like more work than I did. I really like the idea of the pasta roller, I just want to make it a little easier. How long does it take you to get the dough that thin? How often do you do it?

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It takes maybe 15 minutes to get it stretched out. That was the first batch I made since about 25 years previous. I make/sell it for Christmas presents.

I lived in a small tree house (garage apartment) where I first lived when I made it. You need some kind of table top is all. Where you can go 'round and 'round. For the batch in the pictures I used my dining room table. But for subsequent batches I used my stainless steel table top which is 48x36.

I have a pasta roller and that just wouldn't work for this stuff. But key is the resting of the dough under the heated upturned bowl.

I made several batches last year. It's soo good. Many thanks to Bernard Clayton Jr for explaining it so well in his book, The Complete Book of Pastry Sweet and Savory.

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Wow, that is a great slide show! However, I don't have enough room anywhere in my apartment to do that. Also, it certainly seems like more work than I did. I really like the idea of the pasta roller, I just want to make it a little easier. How long does it take you to get the dough that thin? How often do you do it?

From what I can tell, to make real Phyllo dough, you really need a LOT of room. When I have seen old greek ladies making it, they drape it over all 4 edges of a table and stretch it out... it almost looks like an elasticised fitted bed sheet that they are trying to fit over the table.

I guess if you are making small spanokopitas then having an enormous sheet may not be essential, but I thought the idea behind this was to get it unbelievably thin so that you can have thousands of layers by the time it is buttered/folded giving it a unique airy crispness...

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I'm not seeing that a table top is that indordinantly large of an amount of space. You do need to be able to get all the way around it to stretch stretch stretch.

The hassle is getting your modus operandi operandied (I kinda made up that last word). But I mean there was a 25 year lapse in making the stuff. I started on the dining room table like I did 25 years hence. But apparently I had a smaller table back then. So after that first batch I switched to a more compact table. But truly getting all the meandering ducks in a row is the big deal, the right table, a sheet or tablecloth that can be tied on, all the ingredients.

Stretching it out is wonderful fun.

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Hi :biggrin:

Is there any other brand of phyllo available? Living in Greece I am lucky enough to have a big variety of ready doughs to choose from and I never really have a problem working with the sheets, I just defrost overnight and the next day separate the sheets and use with no sticking whatsoever.

Phyllo is the one thing that is really a hassle to make from scratch and believe even in Greece very few people attempt to, it's much easier to by the ready made stuff, but then again we have a variety to choose from but I have never really heard of anyone having trouble with it here.

Greg

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I made them in coils because that seemed to work best with the long thin strips from the pasta roller. I've never made them this shape before, but I like it.

Now that you mention it, this probably explains why whenever my aunt makes her "home-made" pies they are in coils, she claims to make her own phyllo from scratch :raz:so maybe she does.(She is a bit wacky and most of the time gets food from takeout place viz.roast chicken and claims she made it!!........only she doesn't remember to throw the packets away and they are in full view on the kitchen counter :biggrin:

She does cook occasionally and she is capable but lazy so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt with regards to her pies, I know she has a pasta roller so maybe she does make the pies herself...with phyllo in strips :wink:

Edited to clarify

Edited by GreekCook (log)
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Wow, that is a great slide show! However, I don't have enough room anywhere in my apartment to do that. Also, it certainly seems like more work than I did. I really like the idea of the pasta roller, I just want to make it a little easier. How long does it take you to get the dough that thin? How often do you do it?

From what I can tell, to make real Phyllo dough, you really need a LOT of room. When I have seen old greek ladies making it, they drape it over all 4 edges of a table and stretch it out... it almost looks like an elasticised fitted bed sheet that they are trying to fit over the table.

I guess if you are making small spanokopitas then having an enormous sheet may not be essential, but I thought the idea behind this was to get it unbelievably thin so that you can have thousands of layers by the time it is buttered/folded giving it a unique airy crispness...

In addition to K8memphis's slide show, I think I do remember seeing demonstrations of people making phyllo that way on TV. However, none of the cookbooks that I have describe making it this way---they all say just to roll it out, except for the recipe which I used that suggested the pasta machine. It was unbelievably thin---that's why it was so hard to work with.

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I'm not seeing that a table top is that indordinantly large of an amount of space. You do need to be able to get all the way around it to stretch stretch stretch.

For most people this is true, but I live in a tiny NY apartment, and I do not have a table that I can walk all the way around. Actually, I don't even have a table that is ever completely clean (as in nothing is on it).

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I'm not seeing that a table top is that indordinantly large of an amount of space. You do need to be able to get all the way around it to stretch stretch stretch.

For most people this is true, but I live in a tiny NY apartment, and I do not have a table that I can walk all the way around. Actually, I don't even have a table that is ever completely clean (as in nothing is on it).

But you have a floor. So you can just dump everything that's on the table under the table.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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I'm not seeing that a table top is that indordinantly large of an amount of space. You do need to be able to get all the way around it to stretch stretch stretch.

For most people this is true, but I live in a tiny NY apartment, and I do not have a table that I can walk all the way around. Actually, I don't even have a table that is ever completely clean (as in nothing is on it).

But you have a floor. So you can just dump everything that's on the table under the table.

Or, move the table and make the phyllo on the floor! :rolleyes:

My Grandmother used to put both leaves in her dining table, then put a form-fitted cover over it which I suspect she'd made out of old bed sheets. She could stretch the dough by hand so thin you could read a newspaper through it!

My Mother and Sister have tried on several occassions to make phyllo, more for tradition's sake than anything else, but they had a hard time working fast enough to get a consistent thinness like Grandma used to.

SB (wouldn't even dream of trying it himself :blink: )

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I'm not seeing that a table top is that indordinantly large of an amount of space. You do need to be able to get all the way around it to stretch stretch stretch.

For most people this is true, but I live in a tiny NY apartment, and I do not have a table that I can walk all the way around. Actually, I don't even have a table that is ever completely clean (as in nothing is on it).

But you have a floor. So you can just dump everything that's on the table under the table.

Or, move the table and make the phyllo on the floor! :rolleyes:

My Grandmother used to put both leaves in her dining table, then put a form-fitted cover over it which I suspect she'd made out of old bed sheets. She could stretch the dough by hand so thin you could read a newspaper through it!

My Mother and Sister have tried on several occassions to make phyllo, more for tradition's sake than anything else, but they had a hard time working fast enough to get a consistent thinness like Grandma used to.

SB (wouldn't even dream of trying it himself :blink: )

Steve, I think if I increased my recipe I could cover the big dining room table. I thought about this during last year's stretchings but I didn't attempt it. But I will try it this year. I also have to sew two sheets together. I'll start with a regular batch on the little table first to get the hang of it again.

Yeah the stretching it over the edges is the real deal. I just need to make more dough for that. And it works so perfect as it is I'm kinda scared to diddle with it. But it would be cool to make eight or twelve struedels at a time. My recipe covers a 48x36 inch table top. Yeah working fast enough to get it all stretched is key. I wonder if I can pull it off. I'm gonna try it later in the year. I'll report back.

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Yeah the stretching it over the edges is the real deal. I just need to make more dough for that. And it works so perfect as it is I'm kinda scared to diddle with it. But it would be cool to make eight or twelve struedels at a time. My recipe covers a 48x36 inch table top. Yeah working fast enough to get it all stretched is key. I wonder if I can pull it off. I'm gonna try it later in the year. I'll report back.

I suspect there's something about the elasticity of the dough that it can only be stretched thin enough when done to large dimensions? Kind of like how it would be hard to make a hand-tossed 6" pizza crust. :hmmm:

When I see my Mom tomorrow I'll ask her is she remembers any of Grandma's "tricks". :smile:

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Yeah the stretching it over the edges is the real deal. I just need to make more dough for that. And it works so perfect as it is I'm kinda scared to diddle with it. But it would be cool to make eight or twelve struedels at a time. My recipe covers a 48x36 inch table top. Yeah working fast enough to get it all stretched is key. I wonder if I can pull it off. I'm gonna try it later in the year. I'll report back.

I suspect there's something about the elasticity of the dough that it can only be stretched thin enough when done to large dimensions? Kind of like how it would be hard to make a hand-tossed 6" pizza crust. :hmmm:

When I see my Mom tomorrow I'll ask her is she remembers any of Grandma's "tricks". :smile:

Cool!

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I'll take that challenge!!!

I've always worked with the frozen stuff that comes folded up, and tends to crack. Just recently, Athens has come out with a new packaging that is flat, and already buttered, and ready to go! I like it much better, but still, not all that easy to handle.

Thanks for peaking my couriosity, and so I took the bait to see how difficult it is to make it from scratch...

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Well, not bad for an old Greek Grandmother, I guess? The phyllo couldv'e been a little thinner, and my filling was way too salty, from the feta. Arthur says to soak the feta in milk to rid the cheese of the salty brine, which I'll do next time. All in all, not bad for a first go around.

Edited by Stevarino (log)
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Let's get this into perspective, Stevarino.

I took 18 ounces of dough and stretched it out in this pictorial to 28x36 inches and I discarded 5 ounces of dough.

So I stretched 13 ounces of dough into a 28x36 inch rectangle that you could read the newspaper through seen on slide #16.

This was my first attempt after a 25 year hiatus. I made several more batches after that on a smaller table top of 30x48 and they fit much better.

My challenge is to make one the size of my dining room table w/leaves which is gonna be 39x62+18+18 or 39x98. <faint>

How many batches of 18 ounce dough should I use?

If you wanna do this now, I can toss the cat off the table but I gotta gather up the rest of the ingredients too. I usually make this for Christmas but twist my arm. :biggrin:

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Huh? If you give me till Chistmas, I can probably figure it out? :laugh:

I think the answer is 68.25 oz or 5Lbs of dough, allowing for trim?. Are you going for the Guinness book for the longest strudel, or what? :shock:

Let's get this into perspective, Stevarino.

I took 18 ounces of dough and stretched it out in this pictorial  to  28x36 inches  and I discarded 5 ounces of dough.

So I stretched 13 ounces of dough into a 28x36 inch rectangle that you could read the newspaper through seen on slide #16.

This was my first attempt after a 25 year hiatus. I made several more batches after that on a smaller table top of 30x48 and they fit much better.

My challenge is to make one the size of my dining room table w/leaves which is gonna be 39x62+18+18 or 39x98. <faint>

How many batches of 18 ounce dough should I use?

If you wanna do this now, I can toss the cat off the table but I gotta gather up the rest of the ingredients too. I usually make this for Christmas but twist my arm.  :biggrin:

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Huh? If you give me till Chistmas, I can probably figure it out? :laugh:

I think the answer is 68.25 oz or 5Lbs of dough, allowing for trim?. Are you going for the Guinness book for the longest strudel, or what? :shock:

Let's get this into perspective, Stevarino.

I took 18 ounces of dough and stretched it out in this pictorial  to  28x36 inches  and I discarded 5 ounces of dough.

So I stretched 13 ounces of dough into a 28x36 inch rectangle that you could read the newspaper through seen on slide #16.

This was my first attempt after a 25 year hiatus. I made several more batches after that on a smaller table top of 30x48 and they fit much better.

My challenge is to make one the size of my dining room table w/leaves which is gonna be 39x62+18+18 or 39x98. <faint>

How many batches of 18 ounce dough should I use?

If you wanna do this now, I can toss the cat off the table but I gotta gather up the rest of the ingredients too. I usually make this for Christmas but twist my arm.  :biggrin:

Egh, hmmm, why indeed. I guess it's like a climber to Mt Everest type of thing. Once you get a few batches going, you realize you can actually do much more. So I will. In the fall. :biggrin: To be continued...

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Well, not bad for an old Greek Grandmother, I guess?

I think all Greek Grandmothers have this magical talent to make things like phyllo which the rest of us can never get right. :raz:

The pie and the phyllo look amazing :biggrin:

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I've heard there's whole wheat phyllo but I've never seen it.

I sell it at my store, but I've never used it. I think the fragility of regular phyllo would be compounded with whole wheat. If I ever get the motivation I'll do something basic and post the results.

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