As everyone knows, I much prefer to make things from scratch as opposed to using a box, can, or package. The reason is simple – anything made from scratch tastes so much better and more importantly, it is so much better for you!
With all that being said and with all this time off from work, I’ve decided to pursue this very idea with a few different items. First up – making tortillas from scratch! Whoo hoo!! Yes, I first made some corn tortillas using the recipe (which is simply the masa flour and warm water) on the back of the bag of masa harina flour bag and I most definitely was hooked. They were hands down, the absolute best tortillas I had ever eaten. And from my own kitchen!!
Obviously rolling them by hand was not ideal (I have since read that adding 1/4 teaspoon baking soda will give them more “lift”) and very time consuming but the end result was so much worth it.
So worth it, that I decided to get a tortilla press. I opted for the cast iron version. And with the new press, I was compelled to try the flour tortilla. I sought the best possible recipe and decided on this one from Pioneer Woman. (hint – do use lard instead of shortening)
Her tips are dead on so read them and heed her advice. Mine were so delicious! I put the remaining tortillas in a zip loc bag in the freezer so I can pull them out, as needed. My only advice, in addition to Ree’s, is to be sure you roll them into ping pong size balls. Obviously, if you don’t, you’ll have pretty small tortillas.
I loved having the tortilla press as it does make it so much easier to flatten the tortillas. It had been suggested to use plastic sheets between the presses but I found flouring each side of the press seemed to work better. I would definitely suggest kneading them as in the recipe as that will make a huge difference in their pliability or lack thereof.
Good luck and if you do decide to make these (or the corn version), be sure to post your results in the comments. I’ll be interested to hear how your’s turned out and how your family like them!
2 tablespoons (additional) lard or vegetable shortening
1 cup hot water
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large wooden bowl. Stir together. Add spoonfuls of lard or shortening (use 1/2 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons), then use a pastry cutter to combine the ingredients. Cut mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.Slowly pour in hot water, stirring to bring mixture together. Lightly knead dough 30 to 40 times, or until it becomes a cohesive ball of dough and is less sticky. Cover with a tea towel and allow dough to rest for at least an hour.
Roll into ping pong size balls, place on a tray, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rest for another 20 to 30 minutes.
When you’re ready to make the tortillas, heat a dark or cast iron griddle to medium/medium-high heat.
One by one, roll out balls of dough until very, very thin. Throw tortillas (one by one) onto the griddle. Cook on each side for 20 to 30 seconds, removing while tortillas are still soft but slightly brown in spots.
Remove and stack tortillas, and cover with a towel to keep warm. Serve immediately or allow to cool before storing tortillas in a container.
To warm, nuke tortillas in the microwave, or wrap in foil and warm in the oven.
* Make sure the water you pour in is very warm. * Allow the dough to rest, both after kneading and after forming into balls. * Roll out very thin. * Get the heat right on your stove: Too hot, and the tortilla will burn in spots. Not hot enough, and the tortilla will begin to crisp before you can get it to brown. I get my stove between medium and medium high heat; that seems to do the trick. * Use a dark griddle or cast iron skillet to brown the tortillas. * Cook just long enough to lightly brown the tortilla in spots; don’t cook too long or tortillas will crisp. You want them to be soft and pliable when you serve them. * Finally: Have fun! And enjoy them. They’re absolutely scrumptious.