You Should Be Careful When Thawing Frozen Phyllo Dough

If you love Greek or Turkish food, you have to be familiar with phyllo dough. It is an ancient pastry, thin and crispy when baked, which the Greeks used for centuries to wrap both their sweet and savory meals. Phyllo is traditionally made from wheat flour and water (though some patisserie chefs may add the additional egg or block of butter these days) and shaped into thin sheets using a rolling pin (via Greek Flavours).

Phyllo dough is used to make several classic Greek dishes such as the spanakopita, baklava, galaktoboureko, bougatsa, and many more. It is an essential part of cuisine not only in Greece but throughout the Mediterranean. Phyllo making is a long, laborious, and harrowing process so now even the most hardcore bakers prefer buying premade phyllo rather than making their own. 

Packages of phyllo are kept in layered, frozen sheets until sold and are only thawed once they are ready for use, but thawing frozen phyllo dough can be a tricky and disastrous process.

Be gentle when handling

First and foremost: If you are handling phyllo dough, it should be thawed out. Phyllo dough is inherently delicate and prone to ripping and tearing, and frozen phyllo is even more brittle. In fact, it is known to crack in the most inconvenient manner. The best way to ensure that your phyllo dough remains whole is to let it thaw before using and unrolling it, and to keep it covered under slightly damp kitchen towels to keep it from drying out at room temperature (via My Greek Dish).

As for the proper way to thaw out frozen phyllo dough, Athens Foods recommends removing the sheath of phyllo from its box and storing it in the refrigerator overnight and only bringing it to room temperature two hours before it is used. At this point, the sheets should be completely thawed and ready for use, but still, remember to be careful while handling them. Even thawed phyllo is delicate. Crafty Baking claims that if you find that your phyllo sheets are stuck together, odds are the package was thawed and then frozen again and are no longer usable. However, sometimes you can trim the bad parts and salvage most of the sheets.