How to make corn tortillas

You will need:
Plastic wrap
Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina
Tortilla Press
griddle
silicone spatula, for stirring Masa
spatula for flipping, measuring cups, and

a little patience with yourself…

When I gave up on Teflon for good because I became convinced that it wasn’t worth the risk from PFOA fumes (if it’s so safe, why are manufacturer’s phasing out PFOA with most manufacturers — by 2015?).  I gave away a perfectly good All Clad egg pan (*sniff* — the new eco-pan I bought just isn’t as good, alas) and a lovely nonstick griddle, which I replaced with the Lodge reversible grid/iron griddle, a total powerhouse piece of cookware.  Great for pancakes, veggie burgers, and what else?  Makin’ tortillas, that’s what else. The search for the right Masa ended with Bob’s Red Mill Golden Masa Harina (Update: There is now a gluten-free version; check the package).  Use this and not the white corn stuff, as it tastes wayyyyy better. You can follow the directions for mixing using hot water, but I usually pop about a cup and a half of Masa into a mixing bowl for about 10 tortillas.

Keep your masa covered between tortillas to prevent the stuff from drying out. You see the consistency here: Not over dry (you can’t see masa grains) but not so sticky that you can’t play around with it. Shoot for a consistency like Play Doh (Doh!)

Not one for directions, I also vibe the boiling water while I stir until the mixture is just a bit sticky (there are directions on the package too).  Once mixed, cover the bowl with a towel and walk away for a half hour or so.  When you return, fire up the gas under the cast-iron pan on low-medium heat.

While you’re waiting on that, go ahead and line a Tortilla Press with plastic wrap.  I had tried wax paper, parchment, oiling it — finally I realized that I had to stop being a dummy and use plastic wrap.  Into this plastic wrap, cut off and plop down a small palmful of dough.  Eventually you will learn how much dough to use, so if you make a mistake and the tortilla comes out too thin, or appears absurdly thick, ball the thing up, make adjustments,  and do it again.  Lay the plastic wrap over your little dough ball, pat it down a little, gently, then close the lid and give it a little squashing.  If you get crazy, the tortilla will come out see through, usually with the masa pouring out the sides.  Ease up!  If it’s still too thick, let the lid down and press a little harder, then check.  If it’s an odd shape, turn the plastic wrap a little and press again.  If you’ve done this right,

Not too hard! 

you’ll be looking at a little tortilla in there!

Oooh look! Grab from below by slipping one hand under the plastic wrap.  Flip the tortilla over into your palm and gently peel away the plastic wrap. Then slap that baby onto a griddle placed over medium heat.

If you’re using cast iron, you’ll know when it’s time to flip because the dang thing won’t stick anymore. Keep the heat at medium or you’ll end up burning the thing while the insides remain uncooked. Too low and you’ll die of boredom waiting for dinner. UNLIKE nonstick, you can pre-heat cast iron while you’re getting your stuff ready for action.

Check you out! You just made tortillas! They won’t fold easily like the kind you buy at the store, they just taste a billion times better. Get a knife, or even just a fork and get to it!

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2 responses to “How to make corn tortillas

  1. I would have tried wax paper so thanks for including that note! I can’t wait to try this. Thanks!

  2. Yes, well, I tried wasx paper first, but the moisture from the dough makes it sticky and unusable very quickly. There was a lot of error in my trial and error!

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