Why you should start baking with phyllo
Baking enthusiasts and food lovers alike are always on the lookout for new ingredients and techniques to enhance their culinary creations. If you’re looking for a versatile and delicious addition to your baking repertoire, look no further than phyllo dough. With its golden, flaky layers and delicate texture, phyllo dough offers a world of possibilities in the kitchen. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why you should start baking with phyllo and discover the endless culinary delights it can bring to your table.
A brief history of phyllo dough
Before we dive into the myriad ways to use phyllo dough, let’s take a moment to appreciate its rich history. According to Bakerpedia, phyllo dough originated in Greece in the third century B.C. Its origins can be traced back to Syria, where the first baklava delighted palates as early as the eighth century B.C. From there, the dough made its way to Turkey, where it was known as yufka. Finally, it found its home in Greece, where the dough was stretched and transformed into the paper-thin pastry we know and love today.
The joys of phyllo dough
Phyllo dough, also known as fillo or filo, is composed of layers of remarkably thin dough that bakes light, crisp and flaky with a delightful nutty flavor. Unlike many other baked goods, phyllo dough is relatively low in calories and fat. With just 180 calories per five sheets, it provides 5 grams of protein and contains no saturated fat, trans fat, or cholesterol. It also has a respectable 170 milligrams of sodium, making it a healthier alternative to high-calorie, high-fat options like puff pastry or pre-made pie crusts.
Endless culinary possibilities
When it comes to using phyllo dough in your baking endeavors, the possibilities are truly endless. Its versatility allows you to explore different appetizers, snacks, main dishes and desserts. Phyllo dough can be used as a substitute for puff pastry and other prepared doughs, providing a lighter and healthier alternative. The Pioneer Woman notes that while puff pastry and pie crusts are loaded with butter, phyllo dough is virtually fat-free.
Buttering each phyllo sheet as you layer it is a common practice in many recipes. However, The Spruce Eats suggests that butter-flavored cooking spray and olive oil can be used as alternatives, especially for savory dishes. Not only does this further reduce the fat content, but it also simplifies the preparation process.
Epicurious recommends using phyllo dough for a variety of culinary creations. It can be used to make pie crusts for both regular pies and open-faced galettes, as well as pot pies, strudels, tarts, beggar’s purses, napoleons, twists, nests, and wraps. The pre-made phyllo cups are perfect for sweet and savory appetizers, as well as crispy and toasty desserts. In addition, shredded and baked phyllo dough, known in Turkey as kadayif, can be used as a delicious topping for salads, pot pies, sweet pies, chilies, soups and stews.
Phyllo dough is truly a baker’s dream. Its delicate layers and versatile nature open up a world of possibilities in the kitchen. Whether you’re looking to create savory appetizers, flaky pastries or crispy desserts, phyllo dough can be your secret ingredient for success. With its low-calorie and low-fat profile, it’s a healthier alternative to traditional baking options without compromising taste or texture. So why not embark on a culinary adventure and start baking with phyllo? Your taste buds will thank you.
What is phyllo dough?
Phyllo dough, also known as fillo or filo, is a type of pastry made of layered, wafer-thin sheets. It is incredibly delicate and bakes to a light, flaky texture.
Where does phyllo dough come from?
Phyllo dough can be traced back to ancient Greece, with its origins in Syria. Over time, it made its way to various regions, including Turkey, before becoming the thin pastry we know today in Greece.
How is phyllo different from puff pastry?
While both phyllo dough and puff pastry are flaky pastries, they differ in composition. Phyllo dough is made up of several wafer-thin layers of dough, while puff pastry is made by repeatedly folding layers of dough with butter. Phyllo dough is also lower in fat and calories than puff pastry.
Can phyllo dough be used to replace other types of pastry?
Absolutely! Phyllo dough is a versatile substitute for puff pastry, pre-made pie crusts and other prepared doughs. It can be used in a wide variety of recipes, including pies, tarts, strudels, and appetizers.
How do I keep phyllo dough from drying out while working with it?
To prevent the phyllo dough from drying out, it’s important to keep it covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap while you work. This will help retain moisture and prevent the sheets from becoming brittle and difficult to work with.
Can I freeze phyllo dough?
Yes, you can freeze phyllo pastry! If you have leftover dough or want to prepare it ahead of time, simply wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container before freezing. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before working with it.