For a long time, I had been wondering about homemade tortillas. Seemed like it might be a lot of bother to make my own. After all, they are available in every grocery store…and aren’t those good enough?
But maybe good enough isn’t good enough! When I came across a tortilla press recently at Sur La Table, I could not resist. I brought it home and introduced it to my kitchen gradually, like a new family pet. It stayed on my counter for several days while I figured out what to do next.
Here’s what I can tell you. You don’t really need the tortilla press. Instead, you can use a rolling pin. But a tortilla press expedites the process tremendously, and helps make each one more uniform.
Plus it’s fun to use. And, it was that much more fun after I saw how much my family enjoyed the results, hot and fresh from the griddle.
The bottom line is – with or without a tortilla press – corn tortillas are better prepared in your own kitchen. Homemade, they have an incredibly addictive texture, and are ever so much more flavorful. The bonus is that you know exactly what’s in them, too.
The trickiest part of the entire process may have been deciding where to buy the masa harina, which is the special flour used for tortillas, made from hominy or dried corn kernels, and soaked in limewater. I’m using Bob’s Red Mill masa harina with good results, which I found at Arbor Farms in Ann Arbor, but you can find other brands in international food aisles all over town.
I served this batch of tortillas with my favorite Best Veggie Chili. I made them again the next day, just to have more for our Breakfast Tofu and Bean Burritos, too. Both times, they were unbelievably good.
Before these experiments, it sounded like it might be a lot of trouble to make our own tortillas. I was wrong. It’s really easy, and it’s worth the effort. And now I know.
HOMEMADE CORN TORTILLAS
2 cups masa harina
1 1/4 cups hot water
Combine masa harina and water in large bowl. Mix well, either with your hands, or by using an electric hand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Once evenly combined, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes.
Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, flatten the dough to about five inches in diameter and 1/16 inch thick. (See *Tip below).
Peel off the waxed paper or plastic wrap, and place tortilla in the hot pan. Cook until lightly browned on each side. Keep tortillas warm using a tortilla warmer or a towel-covered basket, and repeat process until all tortillas are ready. Serve immediately.
*Tip: To avoid sticking to the tortilla press, place dough between two pieces of waxed paper, or between the top and bottom layers of a freezer-grade plastic zip-bag, with three of the four edges cut open with a scissors.
(Adapted from “The McDougall Newsletter”, Volume 6, Issue 2)