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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Flour Tortilla

My former Mexican neighbor used to give us homemade tortillas. I'm not really very fond of it but my hubby is. He loves eating it. I asked my neighbor to show me how to cook tortillas and she came in our house and made a bunch of flour tortillas for us. I bought all the ingredients needed. My hubby was so delighted. I had to put the tortillas in zip lock bags and put them in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

Flour tortillas are not made with a tortilla press, they are formed using a rolling pin to roll them flat and into the round. This takes practice to do properly.

Basic Recipe (10 - 12 tortillas)

3 cups all-purpose flour (not bread flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
about 1-1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, shortening, or lard

Step #1 - Mixing the Dough

Stir dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, folding in the oil or lard. Gradually stir in enough warm water to form a stiff crumbly dough; knead the dough until it holds together, approximately 5-7 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured pastry board and again knead it until smooth (3-5 minutes). Once the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the pastry board, roll it into a "log" shape. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form each into a ball. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.

Step #2 - Forming the Tortillas

Place a dough ball between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper and flatten by hand into a 4" or 5" patty. Use a rolling pin or tortilla pin and, working from the center out to the edges, roll into thin 8-9", round tortillas. Try not to roll over and off the edge of the tortilla as this will make the edges too thin. Turn the tortillas often as you roll. Stretch the dough slightly in your hands as the tortilla is carefully peel off the work surface. If the tortillas tear too easily to handle you may want to reknead the dough.

Note: if rolling out round tortillas is too difficult or time consuming, we have a great alternative. Our electric heated flour tortilla maker produces round, thin precooked 8" flour tortillas in 3-4 seconds and ready to be finished in a hot comal or stored for cooking later. This is a unique and innovative kitchen tool made in Mexico that we have found very handy and effective. See our products page for details and purchase information.

Step #3 - Cooking the Tortillas

Carefully place the tortillas, one at a time, onto a preheated (medium) dry comal or griddle. Within seconds, tiny blisters will appear in the surface of the tortilla. Flip and immediately press down on the tortilla with a wide spatula or flat wooden paddle, apply gentle but firm pressure all over the top. This will cause the tortilla to puff from the steam inside. Blisters will form over most of the tortilla surface as you press down. Turn the tortilla again and press the other side until the blisters turn a light golden brown; the tortilla should remain soft. If the tortillas stick to the comal or burn reduce the heat. The cooking time should be less than 1 minute. Do not overcook.

Stack the tortillas as they are cooked inside a cloth towel lined tupperware container or tortilla warmer. Make sure to seal the container so that they can "steam" while you finish cooking the rest of the batch. For the best taste, serve the tortillas while still warm and fresh.

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