I’m as guilty as the next snooty baking-type of insisting that everything, everything be made from scratch. But phyllo (filo)-based preparations reveal me for the puffed up bag of wind I really am, sending me scurrying off to the frozen section of the nearest mega-mart in dark sunglasses and a trench coat. What can I say, I’ve never tried making it. The bakeries where I’ve worked have always purchased it wholesale, so I never had the experience. I suppose it’s the extreme thinness of the stuff that intimidates me.
Authentically phyllo is rolled with a pin part of the way, then gently stretched by hand, often using a technique that strudel-makers use: gently draping it over the tops of the hands and using the wrists to pull the dough outward. This way the baker avoids actually grasping the dough sheet with fingers, which could tear it. I’ve seen other methods that call for using a pasta machine, which while it would give you the thinness, wouldn’t offer the nice wide sheets that to me are the hallmark of filo.
Someday I’ll figure this out. For now I’m off to Kroger.