Flour Tortillas … They are so good and so easy. I always say things are so easy. But most of the time they are. I am not counting the learning curve or the time it takes to roll out each tortilla. The recipe is simple and the process is simple. So maybe easy is the wrong adjective. Simple, or uncomplicated. That is a better description.
Don’t those look delicious. These taste better than anything you can buy at the store. Even better than freshly made tortillas at the big chain supermarkets. They even rival the “authentic” mexican restaurant tortillas.
I have on many occasions had a tortilla press in my cart while shopping. And every time I put it back. I just can’t seem to get over its many shortcomings:
1. Most of them are 6 inch rounds. 6 INCHES!! I don’t know about you but that just seems a tad on the small size for a tortilla.
2. The only other use for a tortilla press is to make things out of play dough. I know, my mother had one while I was growing up and that is all we used it for.
3. They seem to be dangerous. I know this from smashing play dough in them as a child. I smashed my tiny little fingers few times.
No, a tortilla press is not terribly expensive. But I just can’t seem to give away my hard earned cash for one. And really you don’t need one.
But you do need a rolling pin. You can find a rolling pin very cheap and you can use it for so many other jobs. Like rolling out cookies or smashing dried bread for homemade breadcrumbs.
Ingredients are as follows, for 12 tortillas:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup veggie shortening or lard
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup warm water, approximately
yep, just four ingredients
I just want to say here that, while I am a fan of how amazing these tortilla taste when made with lard, I don’t buy lard. I am from the South. I’ll eat it but I don’t buy it. If I bought lard, I would cook with it and gain a tremendous belly. I don’t want that. I want look beautiful in my wedding dress. Not that shortening is any better than lard, but in my mind, I have convinced myself that shortening is less detrimental and please do not tell me any different.
Enough talking, here is how to do it:
Now, mix this up. There are three options.
1. Squish the shortening into the flour using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles the consistency of damp sand.
2. Cut in the shortening using a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles damp sand.
3. Put the mixture in the bowl of your stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix it up until the mixture resembles… damp sand. Then switch to the dough hook to proceed.
There it is !!!!
The dough should form a ball and clean the sides of the bowl. Use only as much water as it takes to get here and no more. The less water you use, the less sticky the dough. Therefore, the less flour you will need to add while rolling. Let it go a few minutes on medium-low speed to knead the dough.
If you are making these without a mixer, get in there and use your hand to mash the dough together. I pile the flour/shortening mixture, the damp sand, on the counter and make a whole in the middle. Pour about 3/4ths of the water in the whole. Using your fingers stir the water around, slowly incorporating the flour until the dough forms, adding just enough of the rest of the water to get the dough to form and get all the flour incorporated. Then knead the dough until smooth. This is the well method. More about that another time.
Dust you cute little ball of dough and the inside of the bowl. Place the dough in the floured bowl.
Now put a towel over the dough and walk away. Just walk away.
No, nothing magical is going to happen. The dough will not rise, it just needs a little relaxation after you put it through all that mixing. Give it at least 30 minutes. You could leave it just hanging out under the towel for an hour. Any longer than an hour or two, stick it in the fridge. I don’t know if this is necessary, but better safe than sorry.
Divide your ball of dough into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a little ball, then smash into a disk shape. You can see one disk on the left side of the picture. Heat up a pan over a medium-high heat.
I have never ever made a perfectly round tortilla. I would not want to. My imperfect tortilla blobs ARE perfect. The shape is not what makes these so good. I think the slightly square, uneven shapes make these charming. Just make them as thin as you can.
Then flip. Break the big bubbles to help the second side make better contact with the pan. Let the second side cook about the same amount of time as the first side. It doesn’t take long. I can usually roll out a tortilla while one is cooking. You will get in a rhythm, or just wing it.
You can eat these just like this, nice and hot off the pan. Fill them with marinated chicken(or shrimp), beans, rice and shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, and/or salsa, if you can hold out that long. A few of these always get eaten before all the fixin’s are ready. Resisting is useless.