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Tips for Working with Phyllo Dough

Fine Cooking Issue 69
Photo: Scott Phillips
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• Tissue-thin sheets of phyllo dough can be frustrating to work with because they can dry out quickly and tear. Here are some tips for making your phyllo experience a happy one.

• Phyllo sheets thaw more evenly and are less likely to stick together if you let the unopened package thaw in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep unopened, thawed phyllo in the fridge for up to a month.

• Don’t open the phyllo package until you have all the other ingredients prepared and you’re ready to work.

• Unroll the phyllo sheets and lay them flat on a dry surface. Immediately cover with plastic wrap and then a damp towel. (Covering with just a damp towel will moisten the sheets and make them stick together.)

• Keep the phyllo covered when not working with it, and don’t leave it uncovered for more than a minute at a time.

• Work as fast as you can.

• Use a soft-bristle pastry brush to lightly coat the sheets with melted butter or oil. Start at the edges (to keep them from cracking) and work in toward the center.

• Roll up any unused sheets, wrap well in plastic, and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Or, wrap in plastic and then foil to freeze for up to two months.

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