Take a more layered approach by adding phyllo dough to your kitchen staples – The Denver Post

There are plenty of times when I’m inspired enough by “The Great British Baking Show” to say, “I want to make that.” (And then I have!) Then there are the challenges that do exactly the opposite. “I will NEVER make that.” As in, phyllo dough.

Watching a bunch of charming Brits struggle to stretch epic sheets of thin pastry over entire counters is entertaining television, but it’s not something I’d dare try to replicate in my own kitchen — which, frankly, is probably not large enough to even attempt it.

Thankfully, not wanting to make phyllo (or fillo, as you might see it spelled in some places) does not mean not using it. That’s because this staple, often associated with such Greek fare as baklava or spanakopita, is easy to buy at the grocery store. It’s also quite easy to use, assuming you keep the following tips in mind.

The details

“It’s just a very basic, extremely thin pastry dough,” says Lauren Bellon, creative and media manager for the Fillo Factory, one of the brands you’re likely to see in the supermarket. It’s a pretty simple product, consisting of flour, water, salt, oil and, depending on the specific brand, additional starch or preservatives. Because it’s an unleavened dough, it bakes up thin and crispy.

Prepping

Most phyllo sold at the supermarket is frozen in 18-by-13 sheets that are rolled up into a cylinder and packaged in a thin, long box. It has to be thawed before you use it. Bellon says she often lets the dough thaw on the counter for a few hours, but if you want to be by-the-book, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. If you come home from the store and know you’ll be using the phyllo in the near future, you can go ahead and put it straight in the fridge. It can hang out there for a few weeks, although some varieties, such as Fillo Factory’s preservative-free organic dough, have to stay in the freezer to keep it from going bad.

Because it’s so lean, phyllo can dry out very quickly

Keep a damp towel draped over the sheets you’re not using while you’re working with it. You can even layer a piece of plastic wrap below the towel for extra insurance. Bellon also suggests having all your other ingredients ready to go “so you don’t have to turn your back on it.” She says extra sheets can be stored in the refrigerator or refrozen, as long as they’re tightly wrapped and kept in a bag with as much air squeezed out as possible.