Daring Bakers: Phyllo & Baklava

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

That's right. She wanted us to make phyllo dough from scratch!  Phyllo dough, that thinner-than-paper dough used to make flaky pastries. In order for me to do this, I had to go over to Sacatomato Ann's house to use her Kitchenaid. The dough required considerable kneading with a dough hook (versus about half an hour doing it by hand). I then took it home and spent over an hour rolling out the paper thin sheets.

I had gone to the hardware store to buy the wooden dowel suggested by phyllo makers. My goal was to get each sheet thin enough so that I could see the wood grain of the table through the sheet. In the end I rolled about 20 sheets.

For the filling I used a combination of walnuts and pistachios. The baklava was four sheets, then filling, four sheets, more filling, etc.

I felt pretty good with how it came out of the oven. You pour the honey syrup over it while it is fresh from the oven and it boils away and soaks right into the pastry. Let it soak overnight so that it gets absorbed thoroughly. I had added orange blossom water to mine, but probably needed more because I didn't taste it.

In the end the baklava was delicious, but didn't get as flaky as I would have liked. Because of that, I can't see any advantage to making the phyllo myself when it is so easy to buy it ready-made. 

Here is the link to the first baklava I made, using store bought pastry, with recipe.