Home » Homemade Gluten Free Filo Pastry (Phyllo Dough)

Homemade Gluten Free Filo Pastry (Phyllo Dough)

This gluten free filo pastry (phyllo dough) is the real deal: it’s paper-thin (so much so that you can actually read through it!), it bakes up beautifully crisp and tender, and it’s surprisingly easy to make. You can use it to make everything from gluten free apple strudel to baklava and spanakopita. Here, I’ve included a detailed guide to the PERFECT gluten free filo pastry: from how to make the dough and the correct way to roll it in order to avoid tearing, to storage instructions so you can prepare it in advance.

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Leafing through the sheets of gluten free filo pastry.

I’ve been promising you this recipe for absolute ages – and now, finally: here it is. The miracle that is gluten free filo pastry!!!

I know I’m (very) biased, but this recipe is truly a game-changer in the world of gluten free baking.

Just a few years ago, I could never have imagined that making proper, paper-thin gluten free filo pastry would ever be possible. After all, the traditional process of making “regular” filo pastry from wheat flour relies pretty much exclusively on gluten when it comes to achieving its extreme, delicate thinness. In the absence of gluten, filo pastry seemed like an impossible (if awfully appealing) dream.

But then, my gluten free flour tortillas happened. And while rolling them out, I noticed that adding psyllium gel into the dough made it much more flexible and supple, and it allowed me to roll them out to a thickness of about 1mm – which made me wonder: could I take this one step further and tweak the recipe to make it even thinner and even more delicate?

What followed was a long and often frustrating process of lots and lots of tweaking and fiddling with the ingredient ratios (and A LOT of dough that headed straight into the bin), but it was all so very, very worth it. Because now, I can finally share with you the game-changer that is this gluten free filo pastry.

It’s paper-thin, so much so that you can actually read through it!! This is something I’m really incredibly proud of – after all, the mark of a truly good, proper filo pastry is that it’s so extremely thin that you can see through it.

A sheet of gluten free filo pastry, so thin that you can read through it.

Leafing through the sheets of gluten free filo pastry.

Once baked, this gluten free filo pastry is wonderfully delicate and crisp, so that it shatters when you bite into it. Just like any proper filo pastry should.

And best of all: it’s SHOCKINGLY easy to make!!! You only need 7 ingredients (all of them gluten free pantry staples) and the dough comes together in no time. You don’t need any special equipment to make it (no stand mixers or anything like that), just a rolling pin and a good deal of patience.

The only tricky part of this recipe is rolling out the dough until it’s as thin as possible. I’ve managed to get it down to a thickness of about 0.5mm, which is really extremely thin. It took me quite a few batches of pastry to achieve that thinness – not because I had to change anything about the recipe itself but because I had to become more comfortable with the dough and knowing how to handle it to get it that thin without tearing.

All that’s to say: if you intend to embark on this (rather exciting and definitely very delicious) gluten free filo pastry journey, be prepared to be patient and definitely don’t expect perfection straight away. Your first few batches might be slightly on the thicker side and you might get a few tears here or there. It’s not the end of the world – the great thing about filo pastry is that you can cover up any tears by placing another layer of pastry on top.

Practice definitely makes perfect when it comes to filo pastry, and especially gluten free filo pastry. But because I want you to master it as quickly as possible, I’ve included lots of step-by-step photos, details and tips in the blog post and the recipe below.

Gluten free filo pastry sheets, folded into smaller rectangles, on a sheet of parchment paper, which sits on a wooden board.

What is filo pastry (phyllo dough)?

Filo pastry, also known as phyllo dough, is an unleavened paper-thin pastry frequently used in Greek, Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisines. It’s used to make numerous incredibly delicious dishes and pastries, such as baklava, spanakopita and börek.

Traditionally, filo dough is made from wheat flour, water and a small amount of oil or melted butter. Sometimes, a small amount of vinegar is added into the dough as well. It’s first rolled out and then stretched by hand into very large, extremely thin sheets. When using filo dough to make pastries, sheets of filo pastry are brushed with oil or melted butter and then stacked together (note that this is different from puff pastry or croissant dough, where the dough is first laminated with butter and then rolled out).

Filo pastry is also a crucial ingredient in apple strudel, a dessert popular in Austria, Germany, Bavaria and other European countries. In addition to the traditional apple filling, there are other types of strudel as well, such as cherry strudel and walnut strudel, all made with filo pastry.

Side note: strudel dough vs filo pastry

Here’s the thing: people can’t seem to agree on whether or not there’s any difference between filo pastry and strudel dough. 

Some try to ascribe some sort of difference to their different historical origins, others to the ingredients used, and many think that the two are basically the same pastry just called different names depending on who you ask.

I’m definitely part of that last group. I’ve always thought that filo pastry and strudel dough are one and the same. Feel free to tell me that I’m completely and utterly wrong in the comments below, but that’s what I’m going with.

So, you can use this recipe for gluten free filo pastry to make both apple strudel and pastries like baklava. It will be delicious regardless of what you call it.

The difference between homemade and store-bought, ready-made filo pastry

If you’ve ever watched a video of someone making filo pastry by hand, you’ll notice that the pastry is very soft, flexible and supple. That’s very different from the sheets of filo pastry that you can buy in stores (either chilled in the fridge or frozen), which tend to be drier, less flexible and more likely to crack when you roll or fold them.

This gluten free filo pastry falls somewhere in between these two extremes: it’s not quite as soft and malleable as wheat-based homemade filo pastry, but it’s also not as dry and delicate as store-bought filo pastry sheets.

Sheets of gluten free filo pastry on a large piece of brown parchment paper.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this amazing gluten free filo pastry – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Ingredients for gluten free filo pastry

You need just 7 ingredients to make this gluten free filo pastry, and all of them are gluten free pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Plain gluten free flour blend. You can either use a store-bought blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour) or you can mix your own – get the recipe for my go-to homemade gluten free flour blend here!
  • Sugar. You can use either caster/superfine sugar or granulated sugar. The amount of sugar in this recipe is pretty small, so the pastry itself actually isn’t noticeably sweet – so, you can use it for both sweet and savoury dishes. The sugar just helps the pastry to brown a bit better in the oven.
  • Xanthan gum. This acts as a binder (gluten replacement) and helps to give the filo pastry enough flexibility so that you can roll it out really, really thinly. Read more about the role of xanthan gum in gluten free baking here!
  • Salt.
  • Psyllium husk. Just like xanthan gum, psyllium husk also acts as a binder (gluten replacement) and gives a supple, flexible, extensible dough that you can roll out into paper-thin, large sheets. Read more about the role of psyllium husk in gluten free baking here! This recipe uses WHOLE psyllium husk, but you can also use psyllium husk powder – if you use the powder form, use only 85% of the amount listed in the recipe below (keeping the amount of water the same). Note that because of the psyllium husk, you’ll see little brown specks in the filo pastry sheets.
  • Warm water. You’ll use part of the water to make a psyllium gel, and then add the remaining water directly to the dough along with all the other ingredients.
  • Melted butter. The butter prevents the baked filo pastry from being too tough and gives it a wonderful richness. I don’t recommend substituting it with oil, as that would make the pastry a bit tougher and slightly rubbery. If you want to make the pastry dairy free, try using a vegan butter block, such as the Stork baking block.

Ingredients for gluten free filo pastry.

A note about the binders: it’s important to use both xanthan gum *and* psyllium husk

Initially, I tried making this gluten free filo pastry with psyllium husk as the only binder – that is, I didn’t use any xanthan gum. The result was pretty disappointing: the pastry, while very thin, ended up being very tough, leathery and rubbery once baked.

However, using a 1:1 ratio of xanthan gum to psyllium husk gives a dough that’s flexible enough so that you can roll it out into paper-thin sheets AND a pastry that bakes up beautifully – it’s delicate and crisp, no toughness or rubberiness in sight.

I’m pretty sure that the reason behind this is the difference in how xanthan gum and psyllium husk release moisture during baking. Whereas psyllium husk really wants to hold onto as much moisture as possible, even when exposed to the high oven temperatures, xanthan gum is much better at releasing that moisture.

So, when the psyllium-husk-only filo pastry entered the oven, the psyllium husk held onto a lot of the moisture, which meant that the pastry couldn’t dry out properly to give the crisp, delicate result that we’re accustomed to. In comparison, using a 1:1 mix of xanthan gum and psyllium husk allowed the filo pastry to lose just enough moisture to bake up perfectly crisp and tender.

How to make the perfect, ultra-thin gluten free filo pastry

Making your own homemade gluten free filo pastry is really incredibly easy – in fact, surprisingly so. It does require a bit of patience and time to roll it out until it’s super thin, but other than that, there’s really nothing complicated about the process at all. And to make things even easier, I’ll take you through the whole process step by step.

Making the dough

  1. In a large bowl, combine the plain gluten free flour blend, sugar, xanthan gum and salt.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together until well combined.
  3. Add the water, melted butter and psyllium gel.
  4. Use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients together.
  5. Eventually, the dough will start coming together in a ball.
  6. Once that happens, give it a thorough knead. I like to do this by squeezing the dough through my fingers, making sure to also scrape along the sides and bottom of the bowl to prevent any patches of dry, unmixed flour.
  7. Eventually, the dough will start coming away from the sides of the bowl.
  8. The final dough should be smooth and homogeneous, with no clumps of flour. It will be soft and springy, and it might be very slightly sticky to the touch immediately after you’ve finished kneading it. After a few minutes, the gluten free flour blend will have absorbed more of the moisture, and the dough will no longer be sticky. 

The first 4 steps of the 8-step process of making gluten free filo pastry dough.

The last 4 steps of the 8-step process of making gluten free filo pastry dough.

This recipe makes enough dough for three large, about 12×16 inches (30x40cm) filo pastry sheets. I’ve found this to be the perfect amount to make one batch of apple strudel, but you can easily scale the recipe up or down depending on your requirements and the recipe you intend to make.

Also, while it might be tempting to try to roll out the filo pastry as one ultra-large sheet (like you would with “regular” homemade filo pastry made from wheat flour), that’s not a good idea when it comes to gluten free filo pastry.

As you’ll see below, it’s important that you can easily manipulate and handle the sheets of pastry to prevent them from sticking to the work surface. That would be pretty much impossible with one huge sheet – and I speak from personal experience here. I tried to roll out the full amount of dough into a single sheet once and it was a complete and utter disaster. So, trust me when I say: smaller sheets are much more manageable.

If you’re a complete novice when it comes to gluten free filo pastry, you could even divide the pastry into a larger number of smaller sheets (anywhere from 4 to 6 smaller sheets for this amount of dough), to make things easier and less stressful. The great thing about filo pastry is that you can easily make a larger sheet from smaller ones just by partially overlaying them.

But if you’re comfortable with rolling the filo pastry into three sheets, you’ll need to divide the dough into three equal pieces. For best results, weigh them using a digital food scale, each piece should weight about 135g. While you’re rolling out one part of the dough, keep the remaining ones in a closed air-tight container or wrapped in plastic wrap (cling film) to prevent them from drying out.

Dividing the dough into three equal pieces.

Rolling out the filo pastry

As the filo pastry needs to be rolled out into large, thin sheets, you’ll need to work on a large surface, like a kitchen counter or a kitchen island. If at all possible, choose a work surface that you can access from at least three sides (that is, where you can move around the work station and work from at least three sides). You’ll see why that’s important in just a moment.

  1. First, generously sprinkle your work surface with the gluten free flour blend.
  2. Pat one piece of dough into an approximately rectangular shape. Try to keep the sheet as rectangular as possible throughout, but don’t stress too much if it’s not an exact rectangle – mine always ends up slightly circular in shape for some reason.
  3. Start rolling out the dough. Make sure to lightly flour the top of the dough as well, to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to it.
  4. While the dough is still fairly thick, you can rotate and move it around on the work surface, just to check that it’s not sticking anywhere.
  5. To prevent the pastry from tearing and creasing as it becomes thinner, it’s important that you use the rolling pin correctly!! Instead of rolling it across the pastry in any and all directions, make sure that you gently roll the rolling pin from the middle towards yourself. Don’t press down on it – instead, just slide it along the surface of the pastry so that it gently rolls over it. In effect, you’re not really rolling out the pastry by pressing down on it, but rather using the rolling pin to slowly stretch it.
  6. If you want to roll or “stretch” the pastry in another direction, don’t try to rotate the pastry. Instead, move around the work surface (in the case shown in the photos below, in the counter-clockwise direction, to the right) and again roll the rolling pin from the middle towards yourself. Never roll it away from yourself.
  7. Repeat again
  8. and again, until you’ve rolled the pastry from all four directions into a larger rectangle. Then, repeat these steps again and again, working your way around the pastry, until it’s less than 1mm thin.

The first 4 steps of the 8-step process of rolling out the gluten free filo pastry.

The last 4 steps of the 8-step process of rolling out the gluten free filo pastry.

Make sure that it doesn’t stick to the surface!

As you’re rolling out the pastry, it’s very likely that it will get stuck in places. Because the pastry sheet will be rather large and thin, I don’t recommend trying to reach under it to get it unstuck – that would just result in tearing.

Instead, here’s how to “unstick” gluten free filo pastry that got stuck in places. This also works great for preventing sticking in the first place.

  1. Gently grab hold of one edge of the pastry and carefully drag it so that you’re essentially folding the sheet in half.
  2. Lightly dust the uncovered work surface with the gluten free flour blend.
  3. Carefully unfold the pastry.
  4. Then, fold the pastry in half from the opposite side, so that you uncover the other part of the work surface underneath.
  5. Sprinkle the work surface with the gluten free flour blend.
  6. Unfold the pastry and continue with the rolling process. If your pastry sheet starts sticking at the very edges, you don’t need to fold it in half – instead, use a bench scraper to gently slide underneath the pastry and loosen the stuck bits.

The 6-step process of preventing the gluten free filo pastry from sticking to the surface.

Getting the filo pastry as thin as possible

Eventually, you’ll get to the stage where you’ll think that your pastry is as thin as you can possibly get it. (Trust me, you can get it even thinner.) At this point, the edges of the pastry will probably be very uneven with occasional tears and splits in places. 

Overhead view of a large sheet of filo pastry.

  1. At this stage, I like to trim the edges of the pastry to make an approximate rectangle. It’s best to use a pizza cutter for this. Try to cut away just the minimal amount of pastry.
  2. Remove the scraps. It’s okay if the filo pastry sheet isn’t perfectly rectangular and 100% neat – as you’re trying to cut away the least amount of pastry, your corners might not be perfectly sharp and the edges might be slightly uneven still. But you should be left with a more regular shape and, as you’ve removed most of the splits and tears around the edges, it will be easier to roll it out further.
  3. Before you roll it out for the final time, make sure that the pastry isn’t stuck in places. As before, fold it in half, using the bench scraper to loosen any particularly stubborn stuck bits.
  4. Sprinkle the uncovered work surface with the gluten free flour blend.
  5. Repeat with the other half of the pastry sheet.
  6. And then, give the filo pastry sheet a final pass with the rolling pin. Be VERY GENTLE at this stage, as the pastry will be very, very thin. Remember: always roll from the middle towards yourself, don’t press down too much on the rolling pin, and move around the work surface to roll (or “stretch”) the filo pastry in all four perpendicular directions.

The 6-step process of trimming the filo pastry into a rectangle and giving it a final roll.

The final gluten free filo pastry should be less than 1mm thin – ideally, you want to get it to a thickness of about 0.5mm. At this point, your pastry sheet should measure around 12×16 inches (30x40cm) or around 13×15 inches (33x38cm), depending on how you roll it.

It should be so thin that you can read through it!

Overhead view of a large sheet of filo pastry.

Showing the thickness of a sheet of filo pastry, about 0.5mm.

A sheet of gluten free filo pastry, so thin that you can read through it.

Don’t stress too much if you get a few tears here or there – with time and practice, you’ll get more skilled in rolling out the pastry without too many tears. Plus, in most recipes you’ll need to layer the filo pastry sheets on top of each other anyway, so that any tears in one sheet will be covered by the next one.

Final step: moving the gluten free filo pastry sheets & short-term storage

Now that your gluten filo pastry sheet is as thin as possible, you’ll need to move it out of the way so you can start rolling out the next one. At the same time, you need to prevent the pastry sheet from drying out.

Here’s the best way to move and store the gluten free filo pastry sheets (it really minimises the chances of tearing):

  1. Use a soft-bristled pastry brush to brush away any excess flour from the top of the filo pastry sheet.
  2. Fold the pastry in half. To do this, gently grab hold of one edge of the pastry and carefully drag it towards yourself. Don’t try to lift it – instead, slide it along the bottom half of the pastry.
  3. Again, brush away any excess flour.
  4. Fold it in half again and brush away the excess flour.
  5. And then, do a final fold.
  6. This should give you a smaller rectangle that you can easily lift and move without having to worry about the pastry tearing. You can either place it into a closed air-tight container or wrap it in plastic wrap (cling film) to prevent it from drying out until you need it for whatever recipe you’ll be making.

The 6-step process of folding filo pastry so you can move it and store it for the short term.

Storing gluten free phyllo dough (long-term storage)

The great thing about this gluten free filo pastry is that it stores really well. You can either keep it in the fridge for up to about 1 week or in the freezer for up to about 2 months. The important thing is that you don’t allow the filo pastry sheets to stick to each other or to dry out, as both will result in tearing and crumbling.

Here’s how to store this gluten free filo pastry for best results:

  1. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap (cling film) on your work surface, then carefully place a filo pastry sheet on top of it.
  2. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap.
  3. Put another filo pastry sheet on top, then a sheet of plastic wrap and then the final filo pastry sheet. Basically, regardless of how many filo pastry sheets you have, you want the bottom layer to be a sheet of plastic wrap and the top layer to be a filo pastry sheet.
  4. Carefully roll up the layers of plastic wrap and filo pastry,
  5. until you get a long log.
  6. Then, roll up this log in another sheet of plastic wrap.

The 6-step process of storing gluten free filo pastry.

Make sure that you seal the ends of the filo pastry roll (that is, of the log) tightly, to prevent moisture evaporation, which would cause the filo pastry sheets to dry out. Then, either pop it into the fridge or freeze it.

A roll of gluten free filo pastry, wrapped in plastic wrap, ready for storing in the fridge or freezer.

Now, this method does use quite a bit of plastic wrap (cling film), which isn’t very environmentally friendly. You could use parchment paper or beeswax wraps instead, though I haven’t tested them myself.

Plus, you can always re-use the plastic wrap! That’s what I usually do: I re-use it either for the next batch of filo pastry, to cover bread as it proofs, or for anything else I might need it for.

Uses for gluten free filo pastry

There are a huge number of different uses for filo pastry, here are a few of my favourites:

  • Strudel – be that apple strudel or other variations, such as cherry strudel or walnut strudel.
  • Baklava. 
  • Spanakopita.
  • Börek.
  • And all sorts of other pastries!!
  • You can also use it to make a pastry shell for quiche.
  • In pies and tarts, instead of a pie or tart crust.
  • Instead of puff pastry in mille-feuille.

The options are pretty much endless!

Equipment you’ll need to make the filo pastry

Here’s what you’ll need to make the gluten free filo pastry:

Leafing through the sheets of gluten free filo pastry.

There you have it, friends. This concludes what turned out to be a short saga on everything you need to know about the miracle that is gluten free filo pastry.

And listen, I know that this blog post is insanely long, which might seem intimidating. But I promise you that this recipe is really super easy to make and the results are so very worth the effort. Making your own filo pastry might seem a bit silly and a bit much – but honestly, store-bought gluten free filo pastry is (a) difficult to find and (b) when you do manage to find it, always rather disappointing.

This homemade gluten free version is incredibly close to the “regular” filo pastry made from wheat flour. It’s paper-thin, bakes up beautifully and when I tested in in gluten free apple strudel and in gluten free baklava, it gave perfectly crisp and tender results.

I really hope you’ll love it.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat. 

Gluten free filo pastry sheets, folded into smaller rectangles, on a sheet of parchment paper.

More gluten free baking basics

If you want to learn more about the fundamentals of gluten free baking, have a look at these blog posts:

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Homemade Gluten Free Filo Pastry (Phyllo Dough)

This gluten free filo pastry (phyllo dough) is the real deal: it’s paper thin (so much so that you can actually read through it!), it bakes up beautifully crisp and tender, and it’s shockingly easy to make. You can use it to make everything from gluten free apple strudel to baklava and spanakopita. Here, I’ve included a detailed guide to the PERFECT gluten free filo pastry: from how to make the dough and the correct way to roll it in order to avoid tearing, to storage instructions so you can prepare it in advance.
This recipe makes enough dough for three large, about 12x16 inches (30x40cm) filo pastry sheets, but you can easily scale the recipe up or down depending on your requirements and the recipe you intend to make.
Print Rate
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 1 batch (three 12x16 inches/30x40cm filo pastry sheets)

Ingredients

  • 5 g (1 tbsp) whole/rough psyllium husk  (If using psyllium husk powder, use only 4g.)
  • 150 g (½ cup + 2 tbsp) lukewarm water
  • 200 g (1 ⅔ cups) plain gluten free flour blend, plus extra for flouring the surface (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour that doesn't have any xanthan gum added. You can also mix your own gluten free flour blend using this recipe. Note that for this homemade blend, 1 cup = 150g, so ideally use a digital food scale for best results.)
  • 15 g (4 tsp) caster/superfine or granulated sugar
  • 5 g (2 tsp) xanthan gum (If your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, then reduce the amount to about 4g or 1 ½ tsp.)
  • 2 g (½ tsp) salt
  • 30 g (¼ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

Instructions

Making the dough:

  • In a small bowl, mix together the psyllium husk and 100g (⅓ cup + 1 ½ tbsp) water. After about 30-45 seconds, a gel will form.
  • In a separate large bowl, whisk together the plain gluten free flour blend, sugar, xanthan gum and salt until well combined.
  • Add the melted butter, psyllium gel and the remaining water.
  • Use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients together. Eventually, the dough will start coming together in a ball.
  • Once the dough starts coming together, give it a thorough knead by hand. This is easiest done by squeezing the dough through your fingers, making sure to also scrape along the sides and bottom of the bowl to prevent any patches of dry, unmixed flour. Eventually, the dough will start coming away from the sides of the bowl.
    The final dough should be smooth and homogeneous, with no clumps of flour. It will be soft and springy, and it might be very slightly sticky to the touch immediately after you’ve finished kneading it. After a few minutes, the gluten free flour blend will have absorbed more of the moisture, and the dough will no longer be sticky. 
  • Divide the dough into three equal pieces, each piece should weigh about 135g.
    Tip 1: This recipe makes enough dough for three large, about 12x16 inches (30x40cm) filo pastry sheets. While it might be tempting to try to roll out the filo pastry as one ultra-large sheet (like you would with “regular” homemade filo pastry made from wheat flour), that’s not a good idea when it comes to gluten free filo pastry, as it would be too difficult to handle and it would be very likely to tear.
    Tip 2: If you’re a complete novice when it comes to gluten free filo pastry, you could even divide the pastry into a larger number of smaller sheets (anywhere from 4 to 6 smaller sheets for this amount of dough), to make things easier and less stressful. The great thing about filo pastry is that you can easily make a larger sheet from smaller ones just by partially overlaying them.
  • While you’re rolling out one part of the dough, keep the remaining ones in a closed air-tight container or wrapped in plastic wrap (cling film) to prevent them from drying out.

Rolling out the filo pastry – Part I:

  • Tip 1: I recommend that you check out the blog post for detailed step-by-step photos of the rolling out process.
    Tip 2: As the filo pastry needs to be rolled out into large, thin sheets, you’ll need to work on a large surface, like a kitchen counter or a kitchen island. If at all possible, choose a work surface that you can access from at least three sides (that is, where you can move around the work station and work from at least three sides).
  • Generously dust your work surface with the gluten free flour blend.
  • Pat one piece of dough into an approximately rectangular shape.
    Tip: Try to keep the sheet as rectangular as possible throughout, but don’t stress too much if it’s not an exact rectangle.
  • Start rolling out the dough. Make sure to lightly flour the top of the dough as well, to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to it. While the dough is still fairly thick, you can rotate and move it around on the work surface, just to check that it’s not sticking anywhere.
  • To prevent the pastry from tearing and creasing as it becomes thinner, it’s important that you use the rolling pin correctly!! Instead of rolling it across the pastry in any and all directions, make sure that you gently roll the rolling pin from the middle towards yourself. Don’t press down on it – instead, just slide it along the surface of the pastry so that it gently rolls over it. In effect, you’re not really rolling out the pastry by pressing down on it, but rather using the rolling pin to slowly stretch it.
    If you want to roll or “stretch” the pastry in another direction, don’t try to rotate the pastry. Instead, move around the work surface and again roll the rolling pin from the middle towards yourself. Never roll it away from yourself. Repeat this process until you’ve rolled the pastry from all four perpendicular directions into a larger rectangle. Then, repeat these steps again and again, working your way around the pastry, until it’s less than 1mm thin.

Preventing the filo pastry from sticking to the surface:

  • The method outlined below works both as a preventative measure to avoid the pastry from sticking to the surface, as well as for "unsticking" gluten free filo pastry that got stuck in places.
  • Gently grab hold of one edge of the rectangular pastry sheet and carefully drag it so that you’re essentially folding the sheet in half. Don’t try to lift it – instead, slide it along the bottom half of the pastry.
  • Lightly dust the uncovered work surface with the gluten free flour blend.
  • Carefully unfold the pastry.
  • Then, fold the pastry in half from the opposite side, so that you uncover the other part of the work surface underneath. Sprinkle the work surface with the gluten free flour blend.
  • Unfold the pastry and continue with the rolling process. If your pastry sheet starts sticking at the very edges, you don’t need to fold it in half – instead, use a bench scraper to gently slide underneath the pastry and loosen the stuck bits.

Rolling out the filo pastry – Part II:

  • Once your filo pastry reaches a thickness of less than 1mm, it's best to trim its edges to make an approximate rectangle. I recommend using a pizza cutter for this. Try to cut away only a minimal amount of pastry. Remove any scraps.
    Tip: It’s okay if the filo pastry sheet isn’t perfectly rectangular and 100% neat – as you’re trying to cut away the least amount of pastry, your corners might not be perfectly sharp and the edges might be slightly uneven still. But you should be left with a more regular shape and, as you’ve removed most of the splits and tears around the edges, it will be easier to roll it out further.
  • Before you roll it out for the final time, make sure that the pastry isn’t stuck in places. As before, fold it in half, using the bench scraper to loosen any particularly stubborn stuck bits. Sprinkle the uncovered work surface with the gluten free flour blend. Repeat with the other half of the pastry sheet.
  • Give the filo pastry sheet a final pass with the rolling pin. Be VERY GENTLE at this stage, as the pastry will be very, very thin. Remember: always roll from the middle towards yourself, don’t press down too much on the rolling pin, and move around the work surface to roll (or “stretch”) the filo pastry in all four perpendicular directions.
  • The final gluten free filo pastry sheet should be less than 1mm thin – ideally, you want to get it to a thickness of about 0.5mm. At this point, your pastry sheet should measure around 12x16 inches (30x40cm) or around 13x15 inches (33x38cm), depending on how you roll it. It should be so thin that you can read through it!
    Tip: Don’t stress too much if you get a few tears here or there – with time and practice, you’ll get more skilled in rolling out the pastry without too many tears. Plus, in most recipes you’ll need to layer the filo pastry sheets on top of each other anyway, so that any tears in one sheet will be covered by the next one.

Moving the filo pastry sheet & short-term storage:

  • Now that your gluten filo pastry sheet is as thin as possible, you need to move it out of the way so that you can start rolling out the next one. At the same time, you need to prevent the pastry sheet from drying out.
  • Use a soft-bristled pastry brush to brush away any excess flour from the top of the filo pastry sheet.
  • Fold the pastry in half. To do this, gently grab hold of one edge of the pastry and carefully drag it towards yourself. Don’t try to lift it – instead, slide it along the bottom half of the pastry.
  • Brush away any excess flour. Fold it in half again (in the perpendicular direction to the previous fold, see blog post for step-by-step photos) and brush away the excess flour. And then, do a final fold (again, in the perpendicular direction to the previous fold). This should give you a smaller rectangle that you can easily lift and move without having to worry about the pastry tearing.
  • You can either place it into a closed air-tight container or wrap it in plastic wrap (cling film) to prevent it from drying out until you need it for whatever recipe you’ll be making.
  • Repeat the rolling and folding process with the other two pieces of dough.
  • You can use the filo pastry sheets straight away or store them in the fridge or freezer until needed.

Storing gluten free filo pastry:

  • To prepare the filo pastry sheets for long-term storage, you need to roll them up with sheets of plastic wrap (cling film) in between.
  • Place a large sheet of plastic wrap (cling film) on your work surface, then carefully place a filo pastry sheet on top of it.
  • Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap.
  • Put another filo pastry sheet on top, then a sheet of plastic wrap and then the final filo pastry sheet. Basically, regardless of how many filo pastry sheets you have, you want the bottom layer to be a sheet of plastic wrap and the top layer to be a filo pastry sheet.
  • Carefully roll up the layers of plastic wrap and filo pastry, until you get a long log. Then, roll up this log in another sheet of plastic wrap, making sure that the ends are tightly sealed to prevent the pastry from drying out.
    Tip: This method does use quite a bit of plastic wrap (cling film), which isn’t very environmentally friendly. You could use parchment paper or beeswax wraps instead, though I haven’t tested them myself. Plus, you can always re-use the plastic wrap!
  • Store the tightly wrapped filo pastry sheets either in the fridge for up to about 1 week or in the freezer for up to about 2 months.
    You can use the filo pastry from the fridge straight away, but you need to thaw the frozen filo pastry first. To do this, leave it out on the kitchen counter until it's at room temperature and pliable. Don't try to unroll the filo pastry sheets or handle them in any way while they're frozen, as they will crack and crumble.
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