Phyllo (FEE-lo) dough

In Greek: φύλλο, pronounced FEE-lo

Freshly made phyllo dough (also spelled "filo") is always preferable, and it isn't difficult. You can accomplish this one of two ways, either by use of a pasta machine or by hand. Use of a pasta machine to make sheets of thin to thick dough gives you the ability to use the dough for a wide range of recipes from pitas to pastries. The alternative, rolling it out with a rolling pin, takes time and experience to master (you have to be patient). I find that having a friend over to do it with me makes the experience fun and the repetition solidifies the process in my mind so I understand the feel and look of the product as it comes to fruition. This way I will know exactly how to do it the next time. This dough is ideal for small fried and baked pies, as well as pan-sized pie crusts.

Pasta Machine Method:

8 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of white vinegar
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/4 - 1 1/3 cups of hot water
flour for work surface and hands
Note: The key to the recipe is hot water. Use hottest tap water.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand until it holds together. On a floured surface, knead by hand for 15-20 minutes until soft and malleable, with a smooth feel. Alternatively you can mix the ingredients together in your stand mixer using the paddle attachment to start out with. Once the mixture has come together, switch to the dough hook and on a low setting, knead for 4 minutes until dough cleans bowl and is soft. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before using.
To make phyllo sheets for pastries, run it through the pasta machine (with settings from 1-10, with 1 being the thickest), gradually working it down to setting mark 9 on your machine. For phyllo sheets to make small fried pitas, use setting number 6.
Unused phyllo can be kept in the refrigerator, in air-tight wrapping, for up to 10 days after making.

Rolling pin method:
To roll out with a rolling pin: (about 20 large thin sheets to fit a 16X 13-inch or equivalent to a half-sheet pan in size)

Add 8 cups of flour to a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add water (start with 1 cup) and vinegar. Combine with a fork. Add the olive oil and continue mixing, adding more water if needed to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand, oiling hands if needed, until the dough is soft, malleable, and smooth, about 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 40 equal pieces and roll each piece out to a rough oval shape, about 18-19 inches across between two Silpats, placing them in the refrigerator to cool if necessary to remove dough OR sprinkling the work surface and phyllo with flour to keep from sticking.
Note: Sheets will be about the thickness of 2 sheets of copy paper. Over time, as you become familiar with the texture and rolling process, dough can be made even thinner; however rolling out to the thickness of commercial phyllo dough - which is done with a machine - may never be achieved. It should be noted that even the thickness of copy paper will produce a fine and flaky crust.

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