Reader Brent writes:
Can you address sticking filo? Every time I work with it, the sheets stick together and rip, and what I end up with is an approximation of what I can buy. Is the trick in the filo defrosting? I usually do so in the refrigerator, but maybe I should actually bring it to room temperature.
That’s exactly the right instinct. Usually the problem with sticking and/or ripping filo is that it’s not fully defrosted. A longer defrosting period in the fridge (say, two days) will usually alleviate this. Otherwise it’s fine to leave the filo in the package on the kitchen counter for an hour or so — after a full defrost in the refrigerator — before you use it. If you find your filo layers are sticking as you’re working with them, simply cover them with your slightly moistened kitchen towel and allow them to sit for ten to fifteen minutes. The nice thing about baklava is that it can sit half-finished for an indefinite period, provided it’s well buttered.