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.
Homemade phyllo? Now, that's a challenge. Challenge number one was when the recipe said to knead by hand for 20 minutes (the alternative when you don't own a stand mixer). I was resourceful and had my bread machine do the kneading. The dough was a bit sticky, but was wonderfully smooth and silky -- much nicer than it looks when I make actual bread!
After letting the dough rest for a couple of hours, I was ready to rock and roll. I thought getting the phyllo sheets paper thin would be no big deal -- I roll fondant and gumpaste that thin for flowers. This just was not the same. It seemed at some points that, while the dough didn't seem thin enough, the rolling pin wasn't doing anything, and I had to put my weight into it. As you can see in the picture below, I need to invest in a cute, frilly apron.
Eventually, I was tired of rolling phyllo dough. But finally, I had about 12 thin enough sheets of phyllo, which I was able to cut down to 18 sheets the size of my small baking dish. After the dough rolling, assembling the baklava was simple: layers of phyllo brushed with melted butter, alternating with layers of finely chopped nuts and cinnamon.
I knew going into the challenge that I was not a big baklava fan. I think if I made it again, I would go with my usual store bought whole wheat phyllo, and use something other than honey in the soaking syrup.
Thanks for the challenge (and upper body workout), Erica! Stay tuned for July's challenge.