Here are a few tips to help you along when working with this fragile Greek pastry:
- Defrost your frozen dough in the fridge-not on the counter. This will keep it more moist as it thaws and prevent it from drying out faster once it’s opened.
- Before opening your phyllo, get out two dish towels and lightly dampen one of them. Make sure that the damp towel is not soaking with water or your phyllo will become soggy. It should be barely moist. Lay the dry towel on the counter. Open your phyllo and lay it on the dry towel, carefully straightening the dough. Cover the top layer of dough with the damp towel. This will keep your phyllo from drying out as you use it(and no one wants to work with paper-thin shreds!). As you use each piece of dough, remember to put the towel back over the remaining stack.
- Use a large basting brush for covering your pastry in butter or oil. The larger the brush, the quicker the space is covered, leaving less time for it to dry and crack.
- When making phyllo wrapped pastries or purses, make sure to brush the butter all the way to the edges(even past!) of the dough. This will ensure that when you fold your pastry over it will not crack and break and all your edges will be smooth.
- Can’t find the phyllo dough in your grocery store? Check the frozen section. Phyllo is usually kept amongst the frozen fruits, cool whips, and frozen desserts.