What Size Phyllo Dough Sheets Should I Use

Baking with phyllo is easier than you think. You just need to know where to start.

Whenever I’m teaching cooking classes — most often for spanakopita, but also for portokalopita, and other phyllo pies — students are always curious what thickness of the commercial dough they should use. So, I’m putting this post together as a primer for that. 

What is phyllo dough?

Phyllo dough, also known as filo or fillo pastry, is a paper-thin pastry that is commonly used in Middle Eastern, North African, and Mediterranean cuisine. It is made by rolling and stretching layers of unleavened dough until it becomes incredibly thin. Phyllo dough is versatile and can be used to make a variety of dishes, from savory pies and appetizers to sweet desserts.

The commercial dough comes in different thicknesses, ranging from extra-thin to thick. The thickness affects its texture, handling, and cooking time. Here are some of the most common thicknesses of the dough:

box of phyllo dough
Phyllo dough.

Extra-thin and Thin phyllo dough #4, #5

Extra-thin are the thinnest sheets available. They are paper-thin and delicate, and it is often used for delicate pastries and desserts such as baklava. Extra-thin phyllo can be a little tricky to work with because it tears easily. However, it produces a delicate, flaky pastry that is well worth the effort. Thin phyllo dough is slightly thicker than extra-thin variety. It is still delicate and flaky, but it is more durable and easier to work with. Use thin for savory pies, such as spanakopita and tiropita, as well as for sweet desserts like baklava. Certain brands also sell “all purpose” phyllo dough. My experience with these is that they are equivalent to the thin sheets

Medium phyllo dough #7

Medium phyllo is slightly thicker than thin sheets. It is still flaky and delicate, but it has more structure and can hold up to heartier fillings. Use medium sheets for savory dishes, such as borek and samosas. Medium is my favorite thickness to use for spanakopita.

Thick phyllo dough #9, #10

Thick phyllo dough (sometimes called Country Style or Hortiatiko) is the thickest type available. It is less delicate and flaky than the thinner types, but it is more sturdy and can hold up to heavy fillings. Use the think dough for hearty, savory pies, such as meat pies and vegetable pies.

Cooking tips

Phyllo sheets
Check your box to see how many phyllo sheets are in it. Then distribute them according to the recipe you’re making.

Dividing up the sheets

In the United States, phyllo will most often come in 1-pound boxes. I normally use one box for each pie. On the outside of the box it will let you know how many sheets are in the box. If I’m making a standard phyllo pie like spanakopita, I use half those sheets for the bottom of the pie pour in my filling and use the rest for the top.

Phyllo finesse

When working with the individual sheets, it is important to keep them moist so they don’t dry out and become brittle. To keep your dough moist, cover it with a damp towel while you’re working with it. You should also lightly brush each sheet with melted butter or oil to help it become crispy and flaky.

In conclusion, the thickness of phyllo affects its texture, handling, and cooking time. Extra-thin sheets are delicate and flaky and is often used for delicate pastries and desserts. Thin sheets are slightly thicker and more durable and is often used for savory pies and sweet desserts. Medium phyllo is thicker still and can hold up to heartier fillings, while thick or country style phyllo is the sturdiest and is often used for hearty, savory pies. Regardless of the thickness, phyllo is a versatile and delicious pastry that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sweet Greek Personal Chef Services © Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.