Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tortilla Tutorial

This post is dedicated to Jenne, who taught me everything I know about making tortillas, destroying my ability to eat packaged tortillas forever enriching my life.
You will need salt, flour, Crisco, and water. Here's the recipe for amounts.
There is a learning curve, so plan on a few practice rounds before you "go live"
Special tools you will need- a frying pan, a rolling pin, and a pastry cutter.

Put the flour in the bowl and add salt. I call it a palm full. It's hard to screw this up. Just don't add a handful or anything. Stir a little.
Dump the Crisco in the center of the flour. The more Crisco you have, the softer the tortillas will be. Unless you add too much, at which point you will not have tortillas but little grease balls.

Using the pastry cutter, cut in the Crisco until it resembles coarse crumbs (pictured below).
You can use two knives and cross cut for this as well, but pastry cutters are cheap. Obviously, I own two. We make a lot of tortillas. Once I rolled out 60 in one sitting. I don't recommend it.

Can you see the coarse crumbs? Look closely! Note to self: Next time, use flood lights. . .

Pour the hot water in all at once.

Stir until dough starts to combine.

At this point, you might need a little more water. You want the dough to be damp and soft, but not too sticky.

Get your deformed hand attached to your deformed arm in there and work that dough into a ball. If you over work the dough, it will be tough.

See the beautiful dough ball?

Now, seperate the big dough ball into 10-12 little dough balls. These are around golf ball size.

Flour the counter well and place the dough in the center.

With your awesome rolling pin, that someone who shall remain nameless used as a hammer and dinged up, roll from the center of the dough out, evenly around the circle. I found myself rolling towards my body as well as out. Go Figure. No wonder I am always completely covered in flour at the end of tortilla making.

If the dough starts to stick to the counter, pick it up and add flour to the counter. Flip the tortilla over and keep rolling. You are likely to do this 3-4 times in making 1 tortilla.

Preheat your pan to medium- on our stove it's a 5. Again, you'll figure this out as you practice. DO NOT OIL THE PAN. That step is very important. . .
Once you see bubbles like this, flip the tortilla over. You can use your fingers, a spatula, or the flapjack method. But beware, the steam in those bubbles is wicked hot.

Brown on the other side (approx 1-2 minutes per side) and eat.

DISCLAIMER: You may never be able to eat a store-bought tortilla again. . .

44 comments:

Naomi said...

Yeah! I am so excited to have the step-by-step on these yummy things! We are really missing your cooking around here. . .

Now, if I can just get over my laziness, I will attempt to make some of these for my family! Is this the same stuff you make your Empanadas out of???

BTW, how do you "strike through" something you have written??

frizzlefry said...

Yes, it is the empanada dough, but you want to roll empanadas thicker.

Remind me to show you the strike. It won't let me type it in the comments.

Jen said...

Wow. You explained that way better than I ever have.

You know I make these probably 3 times a week, right? I can't help myself.

katzbox said...

I envy your ability to homecook...I just buy them raw and cook them myself...it smells great and I don't have to clean up the mess, but I'm guessing they don't taste nearly as good as yours...and now I feel empty and incomplete...

frizzlefry said...

WAIT! You can buy raw tortillas somewhere???

Mom said...

Wait! You don't remember Faye Olsen's tortilla recipe? We made tortillas and empanadas all the time after we moved to Cody. Okay, so you were only 2 or 3 at the time, but I know you remember swimming with Dannelle in the city water supply ponds on the hill (at age 2 in 12 ft deep water with no adults even aware the two of you were there-you sneaky little monsters!). How can you NOT remember making - and eating - fresh tortillas? (-;

frizzlefry said...

I only remember you telling me we had. What I remember about tortillas is that you would buy them from the store and heat them up on each side in a pan. But they were already cooked.

I swear, if you had taught me how to make them, I would have given you the credit. . .

I do indeed remember swimming in the city water. It was 1976. And honestly, we didn't stop until after 1978.

Shelly Hattan said...

Pastry cutter????

Have you ever heard of using your food processor? I learned that trick from my "How to Cook Everything" book.

SOOO much easier and faster. Really!

frizzlefry said...

Food processor? Would you believe I still have a box cheese grater. Which is a total pain, so I only buy pre-shredded cheese.

Sadly, I'm afraid I'm a little behind on the kitchen technology.

But thanks for the linky-ness. Lots of people learning to make tortillas today. :)

Brigitta Judd said...

hey thanks for this!
My boyfriend (previously from California but now living in Sydney) will appreciate this as there's really not a lot of good Mexican food here.

Do you by any chance know of a good corn tortilla recipe?

Anonymous said...

Oh... this looks so good!

One question - what's Crisco? Is it vegetable oil?

Anonymous said...

Whoops! Just answered my own question by enlarging the pic. Vegetable shortening!

Wendy said...

euuu, and what is vegetable shortening???

SweetBea said...

I am very particular about tortillas and I can recognize a good one by looking at it. Yours look very good and made me jelous that you are getting freshly made tortillas.
I grew up eating fresh-made flour tortillas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My grandmother would cook for us and she would be making them as we ate. Hers were the best I have ever tasted.

KA said...

Costco for the raw tortillas. B/c while I know how to make them, I choose not to :)

Anonymous said...

I was going to highlight the food processor method, but someone beat me to it.
Now for the rolling--here's the trick:
Flatten your little ball with both palms together--your dough ball will be about the size of your palm with a thick center (no matter what your hand size).
Place on your rolling board/counter and lay your rolling pin across the center, press down slightly, and roll back toward your body.
Lift up the rolling pin and hit the center again, this time rolling away from your body. You will have a tall oval piece of dough and think you've screwed it up (but you haven't).
Now the confusing part--lift the flattened oval off the board, flip it AND turn it 90 degrees (a right angle). The oval will be sideways now and you will need to repeat the process of hitting the dough in the center with the rolling pin and press-pull toward your body, then again center to press-push away from your body.
You will have an almost perfectly round tortilla EVERY TIME!

Zaz said...

hello,
tortilla=mexican=corn flour?!
:)) also, i am amazed at the cutter and the processor, how about plain hand kneeding?
you won't have to wash the processor not the kneeder.
another good thing to have is the rolling device with "handles" from ikea where you do not actually do the rolling but IT does it for you when the handles "turn as you push a bit. i had tried mom's vintage plain one but this one sure makes a difference.
thank you very much for the recipe, we are always out of tortillas and they are SO expensive from the supermarket! OX

Cat said...

Thanks so much for the recipe. I tried it tonight and they came out awesome. ? though for you, some turned out hard, when you bend them they break and others soft any clue???

Thanks!
Hugs!!!

frizzlefry said...

There are a few things that affect their brittleness. The more the dough is worked, the tougher they will be and the harder they are to roll out and cook. Also, if you add the water a little at a time instead of all at once, you will have the same problem. Since you said some were hard and some were soft, I think it's more likely that they cooked too long on one side. Usually, this happens to me if I don't have the unit turned up high enough. Each side should only be on the pan 1-2 minutes. Good luck with the next batch! (And P.S. mine turned out brittle tonight too, but I think it's because my daughter rolled them out and she likes to put her hands all over the dough as she rolls.)

planetnomad said...

Ok those LOOK awesome. But I don't think I can get Crisco. Any ideas for a substitute? What do they use in Mexico? Probably Crisco...:(

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