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- Sift flour and salt into a bowl.
- Gradually add water, stirring to make a stiff dough.
- Turn onto a pastry board. Place the oil in a bowl and spread a little of it on the palms of your hands. Knead the dough with a folding and turning motion, adding more oil to your hands when dough begins to stick. Continue until you have a smooth, elastic ball of dough and the oil is nearly all used.
- Then roll the ball of dough in the remaining oil to cover all sides, place a clean cloth over the bowl, and allow the dough to rest for two hours or more in a warm place away from drafts. A barely warm oven is satisfactory.
- Separate 1/4 of the dough and roll to 1/4 inch thickness on a pastry board rubbed with cornstarch. Cover with a clean cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Cover a table (cardtable or larger) with a smooth cloth and carefully lift dough onto it. Put your hands under the dough, palms down and gently stretch and pull the dough with the backs of your hands, working your way around the table, until the dough is as thin as tissue paper. Do not worry if it hangs down around the edges of the table, or if some holes appear, especially around the edges. Cut off the thicker edge and save the scraps.
- The phyllo is now ready to be cut into pieces with scissors if you wish to use it moist. If you prefer dry phyllo, allow it to sand until dry, about 10 minutes, then cut into desired sizes.
- The scraps of dough can be put into a moist bowl and kneaded and rolled again.
- When using phyllo dough, spray the sheets with olive oil or melted butter from a spritzer bottle. It's a fast, easy way to apply the fat in a very thin layer.
This recipes makes great phyllo dough. This is a bit of a difficult dough to work with. It's very stiff and tough to knead (like Asian noodle dough). It became easier to work with after it sat for a few hours. I rolled this out in a pasta machine. The pasta machine makes a very slightly thicker sheet but that was fine for this dough. It made AWESOME spanakopita. I used the leftovers as pie crust. Yum! Even though this dough was thick and a bit difficult to work with, I would definitely make it again. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe Helen.