08 December 2009

Tortilla Tutorial

Making Homemade Corn Tortillas
by Janos Sitar


corn flour (masa harina)
warm water

Due to a time crunch we didn't get a chance to measure out the flour and water because we were making a really large batch of tortillas to feed a group of 8. However, the ratio of water to flour would stay the same if making a smaller batch.

Put the flour in a large bowl and add water to moisten the dough. I find it easier to add the water in small amounts to avoid over saturating the dough.

Mix the flour together using your hands to incorporate the water into the flour, adding more water if there is still loose flour in the bowl or if the mixture still has a floury texture.

If dough is too wet, just add more flour to the mixture to dry it out.

The dough will be ready when it has a uniform texture, sticks to itself, and is pliable but not watery. An easy test is to grab a small bunch of dough and try and rolling it into a ball between the palms of your hands. If the dough sticks to your hands, the dough is too watery, and if it's still gritty, then it's too dry.

To flatten the tortillas, we used the tortilla press that Liz got for me at Value Village. In order to keep the tortilla from sticking to the press, I use a ziploc bag that I split in two and cut to the size of the press. Since most people don't have a press, you can also use a rolling pin or your hands to flatten the tortillas out. The plastic should help when using the rolling pin, since it would keep it from sticking to the pin.

To cook the tortillas, I prefer using my cast iron pans, but any pan should work. Crank the heat up to medium-high and once it has warmed up, start cooking them one by one or two by two if they fit in the pan. When the first side has started to brown flip the tortilla over and cook the other side. It's common for tortillas to puff up when cooking the second side and a pretty good indicator that it's almost done cooking. I place the cooked tortillas between two clean kitchen towels so they don't dry out and so they stay warm.

This recipe enables one of my preferred ways of making quesadillas:

Take an uncooked tortilla and place shredded cheese on one side and then fold it closed. Cook until the tortilla browns on both sides. I either dip these in salsa, top with hot sauce or dip into chili for good times.

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