Home-made flour tortillas

‘K y’all. These might not be the prettiest tortillas in the world, but they sure taste good.  I’m not sure what else to say about that right now, so let’s tuck in and do a spot of cooking.

Home-made tortillas

I use this recipe to make 15-20 tortillas.

Shopping list:

  • 3 cups + at bunch of flour to throw everywhere
  • 1/2 cup lard
  • salt
  • baking powder

There really isn’t too much to this, but it’s worth mentioning to please use lard.  Like using margarine instead of butter, it just won’t be the same, both in texture, and in flavor.  Lard has a richer flavor, and a butterier texture.  You’ve been warned 🙂

That said, depending on where you are, you may have to look a bit for lard.  It’ll likely be in the baking section of a supermarket, but if you have a local international-type market you may be able to get smaller quantities (I had to buy a tub, so I guess I’ll be making a lot of tortillas for a while).

Pleasantries aside, to begin:

If for some reason your lard is refrigerated, take it out to come up to room temperature.  It’ll make life easier later.

In your stand mixer add 3 cups flour, about 1 tsp salt, and 2 tsp baking powder.  Set the mixer on to a low number (I only go to 2 on the Kitchenaid) to start getting things mixed together.
(note, I use the dough hook for all my breads, not that paddle thingy. I think that’s for cakes and stuff)

Next, slowly add about 1 cup of warm water. That’ll start bringing things together a bit, and the mix will become dry and clumpy.  It’s to be expected, and we need some binder for the next part, which is adding that 1/2 cup of lard.  Add the lard a dollop at a time, and allow it to work it’s way into the mix a little between dollops so that it can mix in evenly.  You’ll probably need to scrape the sides of the bowl regularly, or it’ll just develop a nice, even, layer of the lard.

Now that everything’s together, let the mixer run for around ten minutes.  Check it regularly and scrape any bits off the side of the bowl.  At this point, the dough should be smooth and a little sticky.  If it’s gloppy, and tiny amounts of flour at a time to dry it up – like all doughs I’ve played with, it’s really easy to add too much flour, meaning you’ll have to add more water, and then you’ll add too much water, meaning you have to add more flour…

After those ten minutes, you ought to have a ball of dough that’s a bit sticky, but stays on the hook.  Tip it onto a lightly floured surface, and work it into a ball.  Put that in a lightly lubricated bowl (I use a little olive oil) cover with a damp towel, and let it rest in a warm place for 45-60 minutes(ish) – until it’s roughly doubled in size.

Punch down the ball to deflate it.  Not too hard, mind you, because you’ll break something – probably your wrist.  Get that out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.  You can use the same one as before if no one’s made you clean it off yet, just add a little more flour.  Work the dough into a retangular-ish shape and cut that into 12-20 equally-sized pieces.  This is, in fact, impossible, but do your best. It’ll be fixed later, but it’s best to start close.

Next, take each of those pieces and work them into balls somewhere between 1 and 2″ in diameter. Smaller balls make smaller tortillas, where around 1″ will give you street tacos, and around 2″ is burrito territory.  If the balls end up uneven in size, rip bits off the bigger ones and work them into the smaller ones. Make sure they’re turned back into smooth balls tho.  Put the balls onto parchment-paper covered baking sheets with some space between them, because they’re going to get bigger again.

Cover the balls with damp towel(s) and let them rest for another 15-20 minutes.

I probably should have mentioned earlier that you’ll need a large skillet or griddle.  The latter is better because it’s easier to pick the tortillas and flip them and stuff.  Cast iron is best because once it’s hot, it’ll be relatively evenly hot.  I use a 14″ cast iron “pizza pan”, which is pretty versatile whether on the stove, on the grill, or in the oven.  Speaking of grills, you can probably do these on the outdoor grill since I’ve done other flatbreads that way.

ANYway, it’s finally time to make tortillas.  You’re going to need that lightly floured surface again and a rolling pin. It might help to have an assistant unless they’re going to get in the way (I have a small kitchen so no assistant).  You’ll also want that floured surface next to the stove because things happen kinda quickly from here on out.

So, start rolling out the balls into circular shapes. They don’t have to be remotely perfect because they’ll still work.  Thinner is better unless you want slightly poofy tortillas.  For reference, I rolled the ones in the photo out to about 1/16″ thick.  Thinner also makes larger tortillas because duh.  I’d suggest only doing a few to start with, and roll more while cooking.  You can try doing a bunch and partially stacking them, but that can be tricky.  A dusting of flour between each tortilla will help keep them from sticking together.  If you have an assistant, one of y’all roll while the other one cooks.

Somewhere around the same time, set the griddle to “pretty frickin’ hot” and let it heat thru.  It takes a minute or so to get a chunk of cast iron up to temperature.

Cook each tortilla in turn on the griddle.  When the bottom starts to brown a little, flip the tortilla over and do the same for the other side. If your griddle is big enough, more than one at a time is super-duper.  When they’re done move them someplace and keep warm.  If you have a tortilla warmer, great.  I don’t have one, so I use a warm, damp, towel.

Fin

The sooner you use them the better.  Leftovers can keep for a day or two in a Ziploc bag, but you’ll want to warm them up a bit before eating so they’re more bendy.