Easy & Delicious Flour Tortillas

April 6, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

Easy & Delicious Flour Tortillas 1
It’s often been said that there are “cooks” and there are “bakers.” I’ve always been firmly placed in the “cook” category. I love that with cooking, you can be intuitive and create recipes as you go along, relying on your senses instead of measuring cups to guide you and tell you how much of one spice or ingredient you need and be able to smell or feel when something has cooked perfectly. Try making up a cake recipe using your intuition and let me know how that works out for you.


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I, like many “cooks” out there, will profess to having constant fantasies of being a proficient baker. Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread? How could you not want a homemade biscuit with your scrambled eggs? Or a pretzel that came from your oven and not the food court at the mall? Unfortunately, my desires to bake were crippled by fears of being exhausted and covered in flour as I realized I left out one small ingredient that completely ruined my hard work. I did, however, discover a remedy to this: find a girlfriend who bakes.
I’ve never baked a cupcake in my life, but my girlfriend
Emma
makes them as easily as she breathes. The precise measurements and timing are second nature to her. I tried my best to stay out of it, but then one day she said, “We should make our own homemade tortillas.” The proverbial light bulb appeared over my head. “Yes! Yes we should!” Think about it- your own gorgeous, warm, soft tortillas to make tacos, burritos, fajitas, whatever you desire- whenever you want. All of you “cooks” out there are probably salivating right now.
Flour tortillas are perfect for those of us too lazy to find Masa Harina or too poor to buy a tortilla press. For hours Emma and I scoured various recipes online and over weeks we tried various techniques, some working better than others. Fortunately for us (and all of you), the easiest recipe offers consistent results and tastes fantastic.
You’ll need:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
(optional: 1 1/2 tsp baking powder)
Makes 8 tortillas.
Get a mixing bowl and combine the flour, salt (I use herb salt from
Big Wheel Provisions
), and oil using a fork. If you want a puffy, gordita-style shell, add the baking powder now. I like my tortillas thin, so I leave it out. Now slowly add the warm water and mix. Believe it or not, having the warm/hot water makes a big difference and is one of the keys to the recipe. Mix with your fork until it starts coming together.
Once it’s a ball, you can kneed it with your hands for about a minute or two. Then, making sure it’s not sticky (you can add a little flour if you need to), leave it in the bowl and cover for 20 minutes. Resist being impatient! In my experience, the key to having tortillas that stretch thin and aren’t gummy is to let them sit for the proper amount of time.
After your 20 minutes is up, take out the ball and cut into 8 pieces. Lightly flour a plate and place the balls so they don’t touch each other. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
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Now comes the part where I share hard-earned secrets. First, make sure you have some kind of non-slip matting under your cutting board. The harder you can bear down and roll your tortillas without the board slipping, the thinner tortillas you’ll get.
I, the non-baker, was worried about the dough sticking and for too long was using too much flour. This leads to an unappetizing tortilla caked in flour. To help prevent this, I leave a mound of flour on one side of the board. With every tortilla I use the following process. First, I take a little mound of flour and wipe it with my hand thinly and evenly around the whole surface, using whatever is leftover to put on my rolling pin. Next, take your tortilla ball and press it on the board with your palm. Then, flip it over and press it on a different part of the board. Pick up your little dough-disc and notice the two spots on the board where the dough absorbed all of the flour. Go ahead and spread a little flour on these spots. Now you roll out your tortilla. Everyone tells you not to overwork the dough, as it will give you a chewy tortilla. My advice? Don’t be too afraid of overworking the dough. A thinner tortilla is a better one, and so long as you’ve let it rest properly it shouldn’t be chewy.
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Put a dry skillet on the stove at medium-high to high heat. Add your tortillas one at a time and cook for about 30 seconds per side, until they get nice and puffy and are releasing some steam. When you remove your tortilla, it helps to have a damp paper towel to pick up any flour that's left behind in the skillet that could burn. Place a cloth or paper towel between your tortillas to help prevent them from getting soggy.
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Now comes the most difficult part of the process. Do your best not to eat all the warm tortillas before it’s time to serve them!

Categories: Recipes