Timewise

Yes, yes, I know!!! “Who has the time?!”

and yes I know most requested recipes are for ‘Quick & Easy’! But, and while I do accommodate most of your requests and do post the quick, easy almost no cooking recipes lol, I also want to connect with the cooks out there. Those of us who are excited about real cooking. Those who are curious about methods and skills and this recipe here is for you guys. But, whoever you are, since you are here and you are reading this, is there a chance that I can intrigue you? interest you? lure you into giving this a try?

You know? It is making these recipes that gives us the sense of achievement in the kitchen. It is mastering these skills that set us apart as experts, talents or beginners. Quick and easy is the beginner’s way, and it’s OK but we also must cater for the more advanced needs!

Home-made Fresh Filo Dough is definitely not one for the faint-hearted. It requires Olympic rolling skills and needs a certain amount of skill to perfect. But hey, as with everything, practice makes perfect and no one was born with a rolling pin in hand!!

If you read my Borscht Soup recipe, then you already know how I got to learn the method of making fresh filo dough. Before that incident, I had tried making filo pastry many times but it quite never turned out perfect. As I had come to learn, it was all in the rolling technique. This is the step that determines the success of your filo dough. Therefore, in this post, I have included a video of ‘how to roll filo dough’ which I took, when I was learning how to make it. As you watch the video, make sure you notice how the lady’s hands move, and how she twists the end of the rolling pin with her right hand in order to stretch the dough more. Also pay special attention to how she rolls out the dough, firmly pressing down as she rolls the pin back towards her. You can come back and watch this video as many times as you need, while practising.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Kg all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • Water (usually 40% water, 60% flour. The quantity depends on the weather and type of flour, follow the recipe for instructions)
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil or melted butter to brush the dough

In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add water gradually and mix together, until thoroughly incorporated. If the dough appears dry, add more water. If the dough looks like it has come together and no flour is visible, as well as looks similar to bread dough; dry but soft, no more water is needed. Divide the dough into 3 balls, and sprinkle with flour to coat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

At this time, you must cover your table with the cotton cloth. Sprinkle the cloth with flour.

Take 1 dough ball out, place over the floured surface, and knead it using only your fingertips. Pull the dough out and push it in at the centre and repeat, till the dough is elastic, soft and is like bread dough.

Gather up the ball, tucking all the sides in towards the centre. Keep the seam downwards, sprinkle the table with flour, and place the ball (seam side down) and sprinkle the top generously with flour. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

After resting, start by pressing the ball down at the centre. Using the rolling pin, start rolling the dough to flatten as you would a cookie dough. Once the dough is flattened as much as you can flatten it, place the rolling pin at the edge, rolling the edge right onto it, using the left hand to lead the dough on the pin, and the right hand to twist the pin to secure. (see the video above)

Continue, twisting and rolling until you have the whole dough rolled around the pin. Lift the pin up and place back on the table. While pressing downwards towards the table, unroll the dough from the pin. You will notice that with each roll the dough is stretching and becoming thinner and wider. Repeat this process until you have a large thin sheet of dough, about 3 mm thick.

Now to stretch the phyllo dough, you first have to sprinkle the top with vegetable oil or melted butter as seen in the picture.

Then gently lift over the sides of the dough and flap towards the centre to distribute the oil over the whole surface, unfold back to position. Repeat with all sides, add more oil only if necessary. Once the whole surface is covered with oil (as in picture 6), you are now ready to start stretching the dough by hand.

Gently hold the edges of the dough and pull towards you ever so slightly, making sure not to tear it. You can pull a little, and stop then pull a bit more and so on. Continue to pull all edges, until the dough covers the whole surface. The dough should be 1 mm thick and about 2 meter square in total surface. The dough will become transparent as you stretch it, just careful not to tear it.

Once stretched, the phyllo sheet can then be cut to use straight away for filling or layering or cutting rounds for making phyllo tourtiere for instance…etc.

If you wish to store or freeze the phyllo dough, you will have to cover the tops with another cloth (100% cotton) to absorb all the moisture. Cover for about 5-7 minutes. Press all over the cloth to absorb all the moisture. Then remove and sprinkle the tops of the dough moderately with corn starch. Place the cloth back on and gently distribute the starch by rubbing your hands on the cloth. Remove cloth and cut into sheets, strips or squares, let them stand for 5 minutes. Wrap well with plastic and freeze for up to 6 months.

 

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Looking forward to hearing you say you tried this too!! Let me know how it goes, and come back soon for more 🙂

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