Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I tried a couple of times to make my own tortillas, but I always failed--they were always too thick because the dough was so tough that I wasn't physically strong enough to roll them to the size and thickness and shape that I actually wanted them. And then I met Mel--Fabulous Fajita Mel--and I learned from her how to make my own gen-u-ine flour tortillas. And it's really not THAT much work. Plus, the results are SO worth any extra effort it might take! I promise you, once you make these, you will never return to store-bought tortillas in good conscience.
2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. very hot water
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 c. shortening
In a heavy-duty mixer, combine flour and salt. Add in shortening and mix until well combined (it will resemble coarse bread crumbs). Add hot water. The water hotness is the key to these being easy to make--it needs to be hot enough to melt the shortening, but not SO hot that the dough turns into an ooey-gooey mess. Or a hot mess (literally), as Mia Michaels might say. I usually get relatively warm water from my tap and then heat it for 45-60 seconds in the microwave.
Anyway, after you add the water, the dough will start to come together. When it is fully combined, remove from mixer and divide into portions. Now...the recipe yield really depends on how many tortillas you want. If you want small tortillas (like for fajitas), then you'll probably get around 10-12. If you want medium tortillas (burritos), then you'll probably get 8 or so. For large tortillas (like for salad wraps), you'll get around 6. Shape portions into round balls.
Place raw tortilla on preheated skillet. Now...be forewarned--the first one may not work out great; it's like the first pancake or the oldest child (TOTALLY kidding, oldest sister and oldest child!) You're going to be watching for bubbles. If you get little blistery bubbles, your skillet is too hot and you need to reduce the heat. You're looking for big, fat, slow-bubbling bubbles. When you start to see them, flip the tortilla over and cook for another 30-45 seconds or so. This is where some personal taste comes in, but in my experience, dark marks on your tortillas (like you see on store-bought ones) usually lead to brittle tortillas when they cool down. Personally, I'm keeping my eye out for a kind of "greasy" look inside; I know that sounds gross, but that's the best way I can think of to describe it. These ones are cooked enough to not taste raw, but they're also very soft when they cool and they hold up to being wrapped, folded, twisted, and turned.
If you're cooking these quickly, you can just stack them on top of each other and they'll stay warm. You can also wrap them in damp paper towels and then wrap them in foil and keep them in a warm oven (170) until you're ready to use them. But be sure and save one just for you--you have to eat it while it's still hot and you can spread some butter on it or butter with cinnamon sugar or just eat it plain and BLESS the wonder that is real Mexican food!