Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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filo is the Greek name for a dough of many paper-thin layers separated by films of butter. This structure is not obtained by repeatedly folding and rolling a single slab of buttered dough, as for pâte feuilletée, but by buttering and stacking separate paper-thin sheets (the method of baklava, börek, and spanakopitta) or rolling up one paper-thin sheet around a filling to create many layers (the method of strudel, rétes, and zavín). The sheets may be made thin by stretching the dough by hand (holding it by the knuckles, rather than the fingertips, to avoid tearing it) or by rolling a sheet (or for convenience a stack of sheets, separated by cornflour) until paper thin.