Homemade Flour Tortillas

I can’t say I agree with Amanda’s views on**FIX** corn tortillas.  I realize they’re more authentically Mexican, but I’m not a fan.  Of course, they do make some delicious tortilla chips.  I prefer flour tortillas.  I always use them regardless of what the recipe calls for.  For example, carne asada tacos should be made with corn tortillas.  However, I enjoy them much more with flour tortillas.  They have a more neutral flavor and come out so warm and soft…  If you’re not prejudiced like me you really should check out**FIX** Amanda’s recipe for corn tortillas.  Some flavors are designed to pair with corn tortillas rather than flour.

Despite our disagreement over the merits of corn vs. flour tortillas, Amanda is 100% CORRECT that homemade tortillas are way better than store-bought and they’re easy to make.  Trust me, they’ll take your dishes to a whole new level.  Once you’ve tried homemade tortillas, you won’t want to go back!

Homemade Tortillas

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Prep Time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes resting time

Cook Time: ~1 minute per tortilla

Serves: 6 (12 tortillas)

Ingredients

12 oz. Flour
5 tbsp. Lard or Shortening
3/4 c. Warm Water
3/4 tsp. Salt

1.  Combine the flour and lard/shortening in a bowl.  Mix, using your fingers or a pastry blender, until the dry ingredients appear crumbly.  The lard/shortening bits should be about the size of peas or a little smaller.

Note: Using lard greatly improves the flavor of your tortillas.  Unfortunately, lard has gotten a bad rep.  It’s really nothing to be afraid of.  Lard actually has less saturated fat than butter and is a good source of healthy unsaturated fats.  That said, I don’t recommend using store-bought lard – it’s been hydrogenated to make it shelf-stable (Yikes!!).  I render my own using the fat I get when I order a heritage quarter hog.  If you don’t have a source of high quality pork fat to render your own, you’re better off sticking with shortening (I recommend Spectrum Organic).

2.  Dissolve the salt in the warm water then add about 2/3 of it to the dry ingredients and mix.  If all the dry ingredients haven’t been wetted, continue mixing in additional splashes of water until everything is wet.  It’s okay if the dough doesn’t form a cohesive mass.  You don’t want to add too much water or your tortillas will be sticky and difficult to work with.  Again, you only need to add enough water to get everything wet.

Tortilla Dough

3.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured cutting board for a couple minutes until the dough comes together and becomes smooth.  Divide the dough into 12 golf ball-sized balls.  Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and allow to rest 30 minutes.

Note: This recipe is for fajita/taco-sized tortillas.  If you want medium-sized tortillas for enchiladas, divide the dough into 8 balls.  If you want large tortillas for small burritos or wraps, divide the dough into 6 balls.

4.  Now you’re ready to press your tortillas.  I recommend using a tortilla press – it helps your tortillas to stay round and even.  If you don’t have one you could press them between two cutting boards or do your best just using your hands.

Put a piece of wax paper down on the press (or cutting board) and place a dough ball on top of it.

Press Tortillas 1

Cover with another piece of wax paper and press.  This should give you a fairly round, thinner piece of dough.  If you don’t want to cook all the tortillas at once, this is the stage where you should stop.  You can store these thick tortillas, separated by pieces of wax paper, in a ziplock bag in the fridge for about a week.  When you’re ready to use them, allow them to come back up to room temperature before proceeding.

5.  Once your tortillas are pressed, they are still too thick to cook.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the tortillas on a lightly floured cutting board until they are 6-7 inches in diameter.  Tip: To help keep your tortillas round, turn the tortilla 1/8 or 1/4 turn after each roll.

Roll Out Tortillas

6.  Now your tortillas are ready to cook.  Heat a skillet over medium heat, and, once it’s hot, cook the tortillas one at a time.  As the first side cooks, bubbles should form on the surface of the tortilla.  If your tortilla isn’t bubbling, press gently on the surface with a spatula to encourage bubble formation.  Flip the tortilla after 30-45 seconds and cook another 15-30 seconds.  You should have nice golden patches where the tortilla bubbled.  To keep your tortillas warm while the others cook, place them in a tortilla warmer (I LOVE this one) or stack on a plate and cover with a kitchen towel.

Cooking Tortillas

Top your fresh, warm tortillas with your favorite taco fillings – try our Chicken Tinga (pictured below), our Chipotle Stout Braised Beef, or chicken marinated in our Mexican Citrus Marinade – and enjoy!

Tinga Taco

See, now wasn’t that easy?  After one bite, you’ll know it was worth the little extra effort to make your own fresh tortillas!

This recipe can also be adapted to make flavored tortillas.  I use it to make spinach wraps for lunches.  If you want to make herb-flavored tortillas (spinach, cilantro, etc.) , combine 1 c. (loosely packed) of your herbs with the salt and water in a blender and puree until smooth and use this mixture to wet the dry ingredients in step 2.  If you want to make tomato tortillas, puree a tomato with the salt then add enough water to bring the mixture to 3/4 c. volume and use this mixture in step 2.

Spinach Tortilla 1 Spinach Tortilla 2

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