Sep 092015

5 Hot Tortillas

Homemade flour tortillas are cheap and they taste good. They work in all of the ways that store-bought tortillas do. When you first learn to make them they are a little bit of work, but after a couple of tries you’ll be surprised at how proficient you’ve become. If you will never be willing to make your own tortillas then you can sometimes find them cheaply at the supermarket. If you are willing to learn a new skill, then you’ll find this recipe sturdy and difficult to ruin. Don’t worry about getting your tortillas perfectly round at first. It takes practice to develop the technique of keeping them circle shaped. Keep at it, and before you know it, you’ll be a flour tortilla expert.

Flour Tortillas

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup water
  • Waxed paper
  • oil (optional)

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix it briefly with your hands to evenly distribute the salt and leavening (baking powder). Pour in the oil and 1/2-cup of water. Stir it all up. If the batter is too dry to form a cohesive ball of dough then add a little bit of water, a spoonful at a time, until it’s moist enough to make a firm dough. Knead the dough 20 to 30 times, so that it all sticks together nicely. Form the dough into 6-balls, roughly equal in size. Roll each ball of dough in a little bit of flour, so that they are evenly coated.

I do this by plopping each one in my bag or canister of flour and rolling it around until it’s coated. Set the balls aside so they can rest for a few minutes, allowing the gluten to relax and making them easier to roll out.

While the dough is resting get out a skillet and place it on the stove. You’ll want to heat it to medium or medium high when you’re ready to cook the tortillas.

After resting for at least 10-minutes, or up to an hour or two, place a ball of dough in the center of a sheet of waxed paper, or a clean, well floured surface. Use a floured rolling-pin or a smooth, glass bottle to roll the dough out into a circle. I aim for at least 6 to 7-inches in diameter, but if you are skillful, you may be able to make it a little larger. Really it’s a matter of how thin you want your tortillas to be. Some folks prefer them to be thicker, others prefer a thinner tortilla.

When it’s thin enough, loosen the tortilla from the waxed paper and flop it into a clean, dry, hot skillet. Allow it to dry-fry (this is called baking) in the skillet for about 30-seconds. The bottom surface with be dry and have a few brown spots here and there.  Flip it over and bake the second side for another 20 to 30 seconds, until it too is dry with a few brown spots. Transfer the cooked tortilla to a plate. Continue on until all of your tortillas are cooked.

Some people roll out all of the tortillas at a time, each on their own sheet of waxed paper, and then cook them, one right after the other. Other people are fast enough to roll out a tortilla while one is cooking on the stove. Do it the way that works best for you.

When all the tortillas are cooked they can be used any way you would use store-bought tortillas. They make great burritos, quesadillas, turkey wraps, soft tacos etc.

When you first make your own tortillas it will take a little bit of time, maybe even 30-minutes, while you get used to the process. Once you’ve made them a few times, it will take less than 20-minutes to make 6-tortillas. Your first few tortillas may look more like amoeba than pretty, round tortillas. That’s par for the course. As you become more adept at rolling them, they’ll take on a more normal circle shape. The amoeba may not be beautiful to look at, but they will taste darned good anyway.

Store tortillas in a plastic bag, reheat in a dry skillet for greatest flexibility.

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