Tuesday, November 15, 2011

homemade flour tortillas

I have this old Mexican cookbook which is where I first learned to make fresh tortillas. I've tweaked the recipe just a bit over the years, but the sentiment remains the same--There's something about these rolled-out-by-hand, thicker-than-average tortillas that transports my mind to another place and time. I can almost imagine being in a small Mexican village at the shared kitchen in the center of town, working my tortillas on a piece of stone or wood, surrounded by an old ruin with only 3 stone walls and an horno in which to cook them. We don't get to travel much, and I'm not sure a place like that even exists, but oh, it's fun to dream and let my cooking take me the places I want to go.

~makes 20 medium-sized tortillas
note:  You can store the extra cooked tortillas in the refrigerator, or store them uncooked in the freezer, then defrost and cook them up as needed. If freezing them, add extra flour between each tortilla in the stack to prevent them from sticking together.  

4 Cups all-purpose flour (unbleached white)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 Cup lard or vegetable shortening
1 1/2 Cups warm water

1. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder
2. Add the lard and water, and mix
3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. If it's too flaky, add more water, a little at a time.
4.  Divide dough into 20 balls and flatten them all out with the palm of your hand
5. Using a rolling pin, shape the balls into thin circles
6. Heat a skillet, grill, stone, or any cooking surface to a medium-high temperature (400 degrees F)
7. Cook the tortillas for 30-45 seconds per side, using a towel to flatten any bubbles that form
8. Stack them up under a towel and serve warm

You can see my tortillas are not perfectly round, which is just fine by me.

I can never resist eating one fresh off the skillet; warm, soft, and just as it is.

When I can, Sundays or Mondays usually find me baking items for the week to come, such as breads and these tortillas. They are so versatile, but in my kitchen they usually end up as part of fajitas or breakfast burritos. Occasionally, when I make a curry dish, I'll even fry these tortillas up in some butter as a substitute for naan bread.

If you've never tried making tortillas from scratch, I hope you give it a go and enjoy the results. Maybe our spirits will meet somehow in that old shared kitchen.


  1. I love making my own too and use them much like you. I have been known to place chocolate, nuts, cocomunt and a sliced banana down the center and melt in a skillet with a little bit of butter and then enjoy it warm for a treat...

    When I freeze mine I lay them on a flat cookie sheet and them when frozen you can even add a piece of parchment paper between. I found that the extra flour sometimes makes then a bit tough of you freeze them stacked but maybe it is just my recipe.

  2. Ah yes, thanks for that tip, Grace. That does sound like a better method. Similar to freezing something like raviolis, where you freeze them individually first to prevent sticking when you combine the whole lot together.

  3. Thanks for sharing the recipe Jaime....we love tortillas and yet have never thought to make them . I like to make bean enchiladas and burritos with ours and am in fact aiming for that for dinner tonight!
    I'm going to pass this recipe onto the teenager as she is really getting into all things dough at the moment!
    Jode x

  4. Gotta love tortillas!!! The best way to eat a tortilla is hot off the griddle with a bit of butter, garlic powder and some fresh roasted green chile! It's like magic ;-)

  5. I've never made them, but you've now inspired me to try! Good to know you don't need one of those little dough-disk-flatening-thingamajigs!

  6. Matt made tortillas for the first time last weekend! I am going to show him your recipe to see how it compares to the one he used. They were certainly the best tortillas I've ever had, but what isn't when fresh off the pan?!? And I will add this to my growing list of things-to-make-double-of-and-freeze!

  7. Oh yum, I will have to try your recipe out. Jacinta


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