Phyllo dough is used in so many types of recipes—spanning a variety of cuisines—why not try making our own? Used in everything from desserts (like Turkish baklava or Egyptian konafa cake), to meat dishes (think Moroccan B’Stilla and Greek spanakopita), and any pastry calling for light, crispy layers of dough, phyllo is a great ingredient to have on hand. It’s simple to make and if you have a mixer with bread hook, takes very little effort. Besides, what’s more fun than stretching soft, elastic dough as thin as you can possibly get it?
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt to combine. Create a well in the center of the flour for liquids, and then add the water and vinegar. Use a fork to mix the flour down into the liquids. Add oil and continue mixing.
If you have a mixer with a bread hook: attach the bread hook and mix until the dough is soft, pliant and pulling away from the edges. Add water or flour in ½ teaspoon increments as needed, to ensure dough is moist but not sticky or crumbly.
If mixing by hand: transfer the dough to a large working surface, lightly dusted with flour. Knead dough by hand until smooth and soft (about 8 – 10 minutes).
Place dough in bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 45 – 60 minutes.
Making phyllo sheets
Divide the dough into golf-ball sized pieces. Roll into cylinder shapes. Begin flattening cylinders with a rolling pin, pressing firmly and gently and turning dough or pin to evenly spread the dough.
Carefully pick up the flattened sheet of dough and hold it up, allowing the weight to stretch the dough and check for thickness. Continue rolling until dough is paper-thin.
Place phyllo dough on sheet of wax paper and lay a clean kitchen towel over the top while rolling out the next sheet of phyllo. Continue rolling out thin sheets of phyllo, laying them down in layers with wax paper between each layer. Cover each new layer with the towel to keep dough from drying out.
Use fresh phyllo dough sheets in your favorite recipe.
Note: this is a fun recipe, so no fretting allowed. If your dough breaks when finding the threshold of how thin you can take it, use the sheet anyway. It will still be super yummy, will crisp up and crack when baked anyway, and will help you to find that indescribable line between too much and not enough. Go with it. And laugh. A lot.