Difference Between Puff Pastry and Phyllo Dough
When it comes to puff pastry, I’m equal, but that doesn’t mean all puff pastry is the same. Puff pastry and filo pastry are two important types of puff pastry. Both are popular, delicious, and readily available in the freezer of many grocery stores, but there are some key differences. To make sure you choose the right product for your culinary needs, it’s important to know a few things.
What is puff pastry?
Puff pastry, also called pâte feuilletée, is puff pastry, a pastry dough that is formed by carefully layering butter and dough, usually by folding and rolling the dough several times in a specific pattern. (This also applies to the quick puff.) The layers become very thin, but not so thin that the butter mixes with the dough. The layers of butter remain independent of the dough layers, so when it comes time to bake, the water quickly evaporates from the butter, creating a thin air pocket and the rest of the fat melts into the dough around it. This results in hundreds of steam pockets on more steam pockets that look like rapidly expanding dough or puff pastry.
Puff pastry has a high oil content (without fat it would not puff up), so it is very tender and has a very rich taste. Most recipes that include puff pastry are small appetizers such as flounces or Mille Feuille desserts. While you can make puff pastry at home, it’s time-consuming and not exactly fun for everyone. I usually buy it frozen from Trader Joe’s because I know they are completely creamy and taste better than the cheaper variety made with fat.
Using puff pastry
To use the puff pastry, make sure you thaw it (according to package instructions if it came in a box), but it should still be cool to the touch. This dough is very thin, and the oil in it will start to heat up from the temperature of the environment or your hands. If it gets too soft and mushy, put it back in the fridge for a few minutes to harden again, or you could crush the layers and stop it from puffing up. Using a sharp knife or cookie cutter so that you cut the lamination rather than crushing it, cut the dough to the size or shape you want. If you choose to use egg grease to finish the dough before baking, avoid cut edges as the egg will cook at a lower temperature than the dough and will fix the edges, limiting its expansion.
What is filo dough?
Filo, or filo, is a very thin, brittle, unleavened dough that can be layered several times. This puff pastry can be made at home, but because the dish often requires a lot of dough to make and dries out easily, many people choose to buy the dough from the store. Phyllo dough itself is not puffy. You need to add fat to it, as it is multi-layered. Unlike puff pastry, which is thicker and the fat is already woven into the dough in a certain way, phyllo dough layers differ depending on the recipe. The sheet of dough is usually smeared with a thin layer of fat and laid with another layer of filo. This layering pattern is repeated a total of five times, and more than fifteen times if the recipe calls for it. When the finished dish is baked, the butter melts into the filo dough, allowing it to brown more easily, as well as giving it more flavor.
Phyllo dough itself is quite soft and dry. The dough becomes more flavorful with butter, but unlike puff pastry, butter doesn’t really change the texture of the dough after baking. The texture becomes crispy as it dries in the oven, and the edges caramelize better due to the Maillard reaction , but dough sheets do not trap steam like puff pastry. It’s not bad, they shouldn’t. Layers of delicate dough break up charmingly with every bite, and ultra-thin flakes melt on the tongue. Phyllo is used as a pastry shell in many delicious recipes such as spanakopita and baklava .
Using filo dough
It’s best to set up the entire station before you start creating a phyllo-based dish. Prepare a pastry brush and all the melted butter or vegetable oil in a bowl to brush onto the dough. Before you begin, make sure your dough is completely defrosted (according to package directions if using store-bought). Unroll the dough and immediately place it between two damp kitchen towels. The tender dough dries within minutes and becomes impossible to lift when it is no longer flexible, wet towels will buy you time. Be aware that if your towels are too wet, the sheets will become wet and stick together. You will be pulling out the sheets as you assemble the dish, so check the condition of the dough and decide if the sheets need to be moistened or there are too many.
When should you use puff pastry or phyllo dough?
Puff pastry and phyllo dough make flaky, buttery pastry at the end of baking, and both are delicious when assembled properly. However, they are not entirely interchangeable. Puff pastry cooks more fully; The layers are already created and all you really need to do at home is thaw and bake them. Phyllo dough requires care, buttering and assembly, but you have more control over how it’s seasoned, how much butter you want to add if you want to add spice or sweetness to it, and how many layers you want. Alternatively, you can decoratively drape the phyllo sheets over the top to give it a flowing handkerchief look that I’m partial to.
If you’re following a recipe, use the dough they specify because all their directions are for that dough, but if you’re learning them on your own, you may have a bit of wiggle room. Think about what texture you want to achieve and how you fill it. Puff pastry is tender, absorbent and oily (sometimes with a mistake). Phyllo dough is crispier, drier and slightly tougher. Try both, follow the tips above, and you’re sure to come up with something damn tasty.