Instead of using a pastry brush for coating phyllo sheets with melted butter, I like to use a 3-inch foam paint roller from my hardware store (they cost about $2). Not only does the roller eliminate the risk of tearing the delicate pastry sheets, but it coats much more evenly and is faster than using a brush—and time is of the essence when working with phyllo. Also, there are no loose bristles left on your phyllo.
After washing the foam roller, keep it in the freezer between uses to prevent bacterial growth. Let it come to room temperature before using it again.
Tracy Kellum, Arlington, VA