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Is re-freezing phyllo really ok?

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Hola, 'hounds-

I've always stuck by the policy of never re-freezing an item, even if only one ingredient (say, frozen corn in a chili recipe) had been previously frozen. I can't quote chapter and verse about the bacterial hazards, but it was always my understanding that a cook who refreezes is asking for trouble.

So, can folks explain the number of references I've seen lately to refreezing phyllo dough pastries? The first reference I blew off because I read it in some parents magazine in my dentist's office, but tonight I noticed it in Mollie Katzen's Moosewood. What gives? Is this really safe?

Next time I can catch my chef-brother on the phone (which is damn-near impossible), I plan to ask him what he was taught about this, and whether phyllo is some kind of special exception to the rule.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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  1. Is bacteria/food safety the reson for this rule or is quality? If foods have been poperly handled, I wouldn't be inclined to worry too much about bacteria.

    Regarding fillo, I have frozen and thawed the same box a few times and lived. What would be growing in fillo? I'd be more concerned about quality,in that the dough is more likely to get dried out once the package has been opened. But if you keep it covered while you are working with it and re-wrap tightly, you should be fine.

    As for fillo pastries, well, the dough is generally sold frozen, you thaw it in your fridge overnight, let it come to room temp, make your pastries then bake some to eat and stash the rest in the freezer for later. Where's the danger? I really don't think there's much potential bacterial hazard in fillo, and even if there was, between freezing and baking you ought to kill anything that might be lurking.

    I would imagine that repeated freezing and thawing of meats or vegetables might lead to increase mushiness and be undesireable, but I still wouldn't worry about bacteria unless something had been improperly handled.

      1. in our experience, filo that is defrosted and then refrozen- is too dry and brittle after it is defrosted the 2nd time.

        making filo pastries and then freezing is common practice and i've not heard of problems. i've been doing it for 30 yrs.

        1. Thanks for all of your replies!