Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tortillas de Harina (Flour Tortillas)

In case you don't know about "flour tortillas" (I assume almost everyone knows but just in case), they are thin, flat, round, flexible type of bread, it is used in Mexican Cuisine to make "Burritos", and also to eat with food the same way you eat "Corn Tortillas" (which is made from corn "masa" treated with a lime solution to release the corns nutrients)

The homemade flour tortillas hot from the griddle (comal) are delicious when spread with butter, dusted with sugar, rolled and enjoyed with hot coffee or milk or even a hot chocolate for a late night snack or breakfast.

I am not a fan of buying flour tortillas from the store because they use "shortening" and other hydrogenated fake oils sometimes "margarine" which I dislike :) so I rather have them only when homemade with either lard or butter as the fat. My mother uses butter because she loves the buttery taste, and say's it makes the tortilla more flexible.

I never really knew exactly how to make them until today, I knew what went into making them but not the proportions.

-5 cups all-purpose flour (La Piña brand is the one we use)
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 stick butter about 1/2 cup (preferably unsalted but if you have salted it's okay to)
-2 cups hot water (more or less we used 2 but until it get's right consistency)
(1)Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil while waiting do the rest (fill it with plenty of water more than you need better to be safe than sorry than having boiled water then you find you need more later so boil atleast 4-6 cups even though I just ended using 2) turn off heat it should be at a bare boil like hot but not bubbling when you add it to flour.

(2)Add flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, mix with hand by swooshing around.

(3)With your hands add pieces of butter you rip off by hand and place into the flour, then with your hands rub and crumble together with flour until you get a crumbly texture but be sure to not have any big lumps of flour. Rub the flour well with butter.

(4)With a wooden spoon mix flour as you add water little by little and stirring until the dough becomes like a ball but is still sticky it will stick somewhat to hands and that is normal.

(5)Move to a flat surface with flour (in my case the kitchen counter) and work the dough dusting with flour occasionally until it doesn't stick to your hands (it was floured like 4 times and worked for about 5-10) until the dough is soft. Let dough rest atleast 10 minutes, it is optional to let the dough rest my mother usually doesn't but it makes it better. Also a trick my mom uses to know if she worked the dough enough is she cuts a big opening with the knife and if there's like a slight circle bubble thing on the dough that looks like a dip dot or something like that then it's ready the baking powder has activated also (or whatever I don't know the science of this stuff.)
(6)Divide dough into medium round balls, flatten out and round with a rolling pin or cup on a very lightly floured surface.

(7)Have a hot griddle ready that has been heating for about 5 minutes of medium high heat to high heat, add tortilla flat on to the hot griddle until it bubbles a bit or poofs then flip, it just has to slightly change color on one side. Then set into a container or in my case a "Tortillera" ( a type of container made of yarn and wood with a cloth and styraphoam inside to keep them warm and sealed.)

(1)Be careful not to add to much flour when working the dough or you will get dry tortillas, and also don't add to much water either it has to be just right.

(2)Be sure the griddle is hot enough it the griddles heat is to low you will end up "toasting" the tortillas and they will not be flexible.

(3)These tortillas can last up to 1 week sealed well in the fridge, the prepared dough can last up to 2 day's wrapped in plastic in the fridge.

(4)I didn't cook these I was simply observing my mother and told her to please measure so I can learn ha ha. Because she makes these but it's always eye balled so I never really learn or wouldn't be able to share.

(5)A good tortilla will puff then disinflate if it doesn't then it isn't that good.

(6)Things like making breads and stuff is more about texture, etc. so if something doesn't feel right follow your instincts and if you mess up it will be your fault ha ha just kidding, well the measurements used worked fine for use as well as the technique.

(7)You can make them as big or small as you want and as thin or fat as you want.

(8)Most importantly USE COMMON SENSE this is really important when working with bread, if it seems to sticky slowly add more flour to get the right consistency, if it looks to dry then add a little more water, feel the dough in your hands to see if it feels right.


Amy said...

Thankyou for posting this Oldie but Goodie recipe! excellently disribed....:) cant wait to try it out!

¿Gusta Usted? said...

Nathan, se ven tan suaves y ricas! nunca las he hecho con mantequilla, las hago con manteca vegetal. Tengo que probar!


Angelica Bays, said...

Oh, wow...!
What memories this bring back!
I think I may have been like, 7 maybe, when my Grandmother last made fresh tortillas? Of course, I would help her but somehow ,after cooking, the ones I made never looked the same as the dough I was working with. Miraculously, none of the dirt or grass or bugs I incorporated into my portion of masa ever seemed to appear in the finished product...hmmm ;o)