Monday, June 13, 2011

DIY - Make Your Own Tortillas (Recipe)

For quick and delicious lunches and dinners, we have been wrapping it up and melting it lately...

I love tortillas, both corn and flour, but fresh really can't be beat. After buying two packages of tortillas in a row and finding them dry and stuck together, I decided to get out the tortilla press and cast iron pans for some warm tortilla goodness.

If you have made your own tortillas before, you know just how simple they can be!

Corn tortillas are simple and delicious. Just get yourself a bag of Masa....

The recipe on the bag is great, but just in case...

You Will Need:
2 c. Masa (instant corn masa flour)
1 1/4 c. Water
1/4 tsp. Salt

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Mix to make a soft dough. I usually  get my hands in there to make sure it is all mixed.

Then divide your dough into 16 equal balls and keep these covered with a damp cloth until you are ready to cook them. If they dry out too much, they will crack, so I sprinkle mine with a bit of water if needed.

I have both a simple (cheap) metal tortilla press and an electric tortilla press and cooker. Honestly, the cheap press and my cast iron skillets work the best, so save your money.

Cover your press with kitchen wrap. This keeps the dough from sticking and also saves on clean-up. Place your ball near the top of the press. The ball with press downward toward the handle. I usually press my dough once, then reposition it up and press it out again. The thinner the tortillas are, the easier they will be to wrap with.

Place the pressed tortilla on a cast iron skillet. No oil is needed since the skillet should already be seasoned. Cook on medium until it starts to brown. Then flip and place on a plate or in a tortilla keeper. Make sure the tortillas are covered with a cloth or towel. The new tortillas will help steam and soften the first ones. Don't worry if it seems stiff coming off the stove, it will become more pliable as long as it is covered.

This will make 16 corn tortillas.

And for flour tortillas? Well, from trial and error I don't use all whole wheat flour. The tortillas were dry and hard to work with. I suggest using up to half whole wheat and the other half (or more) AP flour.

You Will Need:
9 oz. AP flour (all-purpose)
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. lard
1/2 c. cool water

I know what you are thinking, "Lard!?" Well, it is a natural fat without the trans fats of shortening. Used sparingly, it doesn't have to be a four letter word in cooking. The tortillas will come out amazingly soft and supple. You can substitute oil, but it will not have as good of a result.

Put the flour, salt and lard into a food processor and pulse it up into coarse crumbs.

Then pour in the water, with the food processor running, until the dough comes together in a ball. Like bread, depending on the humidity, you might not need all the excess liquid.

Now wrap up the dough ball and let it rest for 1 hour. After an hour, divide this ball into 8 balls. Keep the remaining dough balls covered with a damp cloth while you are cooking. Again, you don't want them to dry out.

Pressing and cooking are exactly the same as with the corn tortillas. Also keep the cooked tortillas under a towel or in a tortilla keeper so they will stay pliable. This recipe makes 8 tortillas.

Tortillas can easily be made ahead an frozen between sheets of wax paper, or stored in the fridge. Enjoy!
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