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.