Dear Past Molly,
You had a pretty tough time with phyllo dough. You pounded and rolled and pressed and shimmied your dough for hours, and in the end it was more bark dough than leaf dough. You may have phylloed the burn, but you certainly didn’t phyllo the dough.
That’s okay, I understand. You’re still mourning the loss of your aqua frog. Anyone would be a little delusional under such emotional strain. I’m here to tell you, it gets better.
You’re at a point in your culinary career where you have to Macgyver most kitchen appliances. Your rolling pin is the tube of your frosting piper, your candy thermometer is a glass of water, and your bread machine is a mixing bowl.
Don’t worry, our bread machine is still a mixing bowl, but now we actually have a rolling pin, and a candy thermometer, and a pasta machine, and an immersion blender, and a slow cooker, and a kitchen torch and a fortune cookie maker and a- the point is, we have a lot of appliances. Which made our second go at phyllo dough much better. Also, we read cooking instructions a lot better. Remember that part in the recipe that said to refrigerate the dough for at least half an hour before rolling it out? Yeah, you actually have to do that. I know you’re impatient, but trust me Downton Abbey will still be on Netflix a half hour later.
And your little footnote about the pasta machine at the end of a recipe? As if you thought it was shameful to take the easy way out. I can tell you the pasta machine phyllos much better than the rolling pin, and certainly much better than a frosting pipe. Sometimes the easy way out is really just the quality way out. You may have been able to get away with your bark dough in the baklava, but that’s not going to fly with every recipe. Now we make burek for people who actually lived in the Balkans, it’s time to take this how phyllo thing seriously. You can phyllo the burn for now Past Molly, just don’t burn the phyllo.
Present Molly Phyllo Recipe
4 cups Flour
1 tsp. salt
1⅓ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
- Mix ingredients until a dough forms, knead dough for 10 minutes (yes Past Molly, I mean 10 full minutes)
- Tightly wrap dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (you could even start your Downton Abbey episode while the dough refrigerated, if you’re that impatient.)
- Take a small handful of dough, and leave the rest in the saran wrap. Roll in out in a pasta machine until the dough the sheet is about 8 inches long. Use your hand on a lightly floured cutting board to carefully stretch the dough width wise until its 4-5 inches wides. You should be able to see through it (yeah Past Molly, no one was seeing through your bark dough).
- Repeat until you have enough sheets for your recipe. Use immediately, any extra dough will keep in the saran wrap for about a week