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A step-by-step guide to homemade tortillas

2023-08-29T14:45:42+00:00
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How to make tortillas
How to make tortillas (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • Learn how to make tortillas from scratch.
  • They are a staple for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Cook homemade tortillas like a pro.

Mastering the art of tortilla-making is a culinary journey worth embarking on.

Whether you prefer the rustic authenticity of corn or the soft versatility of wheat, there’s undeniable magic in crafting these simple flatbreads from scratch.

The aroma, taste, and texture of homemade tortillas will undoubtedly elevate your meals, making every bite a delightful experience.

So, put on your apron and transform your kitchen into a tortilla-making haven!

Understanding the basics of tortilla-making

tortilla concept
Photo: Shutterstock

Tortillas are essential for countless dishes from tacos to burritos. Primarily made from either corn (maíz) or wheat flour (harina), tortillas can transform your culinary experience when made fresh.

Homemade tortillas have a unique taste and texture that store-bought ones can’t match. Choosing between corn or wheat is not just about preference; it also relates to the dish you’re preparing.

While corn tortillas bring authenticity to dishes like tacos and enchiladas, wheat tortillas are ideal for burritos and wraps. Before diving into the tortilla-making process, gather your ingredients.

For corn tortillas, you’ll need masa harina (corn flour) and water. For flour tortillas, gather all-purpose flour, water, baking powder, salt, and a touch of fat (like oil or lard).

How to make corn tortillas

man making corn tortillas
Photo: Shutterstock

Start by mixing two cups of masa harina with one and a half cups of warm water. Knead this mixture well until you achieve a soft, cohesive dough, similar in consistency to playdough.

If the dough feels too dry or crumbly, add a touch more water. Divide the dough into small balls, about the size of a golf ball, ensuring you get around 15 to 20 portions.

Using a tortilla press or a rolling pin, flatten each ball between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Aim for a thickness of about an eighth of an inch.

Heat a skillet or griddle on medium-high heat and cook each tortilla for approximately 1 minute on each side, or until small brown spots form. Stack the cooked tortillas, keeping them covered with a cloth to retain their warmth and softness.

Crafting flour tortillas

Flour tortillas
Photo: Shutterstock

Begin by mixing two cups of all-purpose flour with one and a half teaspoons of baking powder and a teaspoon of salt. To this dry mixture, add two teaspoons of oil or melted lard, integrating well until you achieve a breadcrumb-like consistency.

Slowly introduce three-quarters of a cup of warm water, mixing until a consistent dough forms. Knead on a floured surface for about 3-5 minutes until smooth. As with the corn tortillas, divide the dough into golf ball-sized portions.

Roll out each ball into a thin, round tortilla, ensuring they’re neither too thick nor too thin.

Heat a skillet or griddle on medium-high and cook each tortilla for about 30 seconds per side, or until bubbles form and the underside has golden-brown spots. As you finish each tortilla, stack and cover them to keep them soft and warm.

How to make tortillas: Storing, serving and enjoying

People eating Meican food
Photo: Shutterstock

Now that you have your fresh stack of tortillas, the possibilities are endless! Enjoy them immediately with your choice of fillings or toppings, or store them for later use.

If you’re planning to use them within a couple of days, a sealed plastic bag at room temperature will suffice. For longer storage, refrigerate or even freeze them, ensuring they’re well-wrapped to prevent drying out.

To reheat, simply warm them in a dry skillet or microwave them under a damp cloth. Fresh tortillas elevate the flavor of tacos, quesadillas, wraps, and more.

Beyond traditional uses, get creative! Use them as a base for quick pizzas or even slice and bake for homemade tortilla chips. Remember, the joy of a homemade tortilla lies in its simplicity and versatility, ready to complement any dish.

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