This recipe got an update on 11/11/21Jump to Recipe
The more I started cooking from scratch, the more I became unsatisfied with many packaged, processed foods. Not all, of course. There are still some good ones out there. But take hamburger rolls. I don’t like them very much. They’re either too mushy, or too sweet, or too dry, or too bread-y. I would never eat them without something inside of them, and I don’t think bread should be that way. So earlier this week when I knew we were having burgers, I found a great burger bun recipe online and made it. It was incredible. I would eat the bun on its own. And it transformed my burger.
I realize that not every meal can be a transcendent experience, and there are times that you just have to eat (real) food to quell your hunger and keep you going. As much as possible, though, I attempt to cook from scratch and enjoy every part of my meal. Which brings me to tortillas.
You buy ’em? I used to. But the long list of unpronounceable ingredients turned me off, and I could actually taste the preservatives. It was gross. So a few years ago, I asked for a tortilla press for Christmas, and I started making my own. It mostly worked.
Corn tortillas are made from masa harina, which literally means “dough flour” in Spanish. Maize is dried and treated with lime and water to loosen the hulls. The lime also helps release the nutrient niacin so that it can be absorbed in the body. The soaked maize is washed and then ground into a dough. This is fresh masa, which is available refrigerated in some stores, but it is more common to find the dried and powdered form: masa harina.
The most basic tortilla recipe just calls for masa harina and water. This will produce tortillas, but I always add salt and bacon fat (you can also substitute olive oil or butter for the bacon fat). The tortillas came out flavorful and warm, but they split when folded. So lately I have started adding 1/3 part wheat flour to make the tortillas more bendy. It works beautifully.
How to Make Tortillas
Mix up the dough the night before to give it a chance to ferment at room temperature. When ready to cook the next day, you’ll either roll out sections of the dough to form tortillas, or press them between a tortilla press.
Warm tortillas pair beautifully with black or pinto beans, guacamole, meat, and cheese. Choose your favorite toppings to customize it!
Thanks for reading, and let me know how your tortillas turned out! See you next time.
Other Favorite Hispanic Recipes
- Hispanic Heritage Month: Read about how we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Day, and get some links to tasty recipes, including flan.
- Perfect Black Beans and Sweet Plantains: Get the recipe, plus why this is comfort food to me and tastes like “home”.
Fresh Made Corn Tortillas
- A tortilla press comes in handy, but is not required.
- Parchment paper
- Large griddle or cast iron pans.
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp bacon can sub olive oil or butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup water or more
- The day before you plan to cook the tortillas, mix up all ingredients in a large bowl. If dough seems too dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough holds together but is not too sticky. Leave out at room temperature.
- After dough has fermented 12-24 hours, preheat a large griddle or a few cast iron pans over medium high heat. Divide dough into 16 sections. Either press each section in a tortilla press lined with parchment paper, or roll out between two pieces of parchment paper.
- Cook each tortilla over medium high heat, about 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute after the flip. Tortillas should have some light to dark brown spotting on them after they are cooked.
- Keep tortillas warm wrapped in a clean tea towel until ready to serve.