Homemade Flour Tortillas

So, it’s the summer and 1/2 of our household is away.

It’s hot.

I am bored.

I am a nurturer by nature with no one to nurture. Well, there’s the dog – Zena. And she will take absolutely as much attention as you are willing to give to her. She will always say yes to a snack or a meal or to go out and ‘do’ something. Though our ideas of ‘doing’ something are polar opposites.

I have a lot of time on my hands.

Just when I was about to give into despair and yet another day of watching the Real Housewives of some horrible place that I wouldn’t want to be lest they be my neighbors, I found The Secret Recipe Club. Simple premise. Join. Get an email with the link of the blog you are assigned. Hop over to that blog. Find a recipe you like. Use it for inspiration, make it exactly, or tweak it to your suiting. Blog about it. How much fun is that!

For my first go at this, I was assigned the wonderful life adventures of Adventures in All Things Food. Very nice blog indeed.

Scrolling through the days and weeks of this blogger’s life, I came across a recipe for both flour and corn tortillas! Both of these have been on my wish list of things to try, though I had bookmarked a recipe from Rick Bayless’ book Authentic Mexican – which, by the way, is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

And besides, I had a new TOY! A tortilla press! The choice was now simple! Flour tortillas!

  • 12 oz (about 2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 5 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening (or a mixture of the two)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup very warm water

Simple ingredients, right?

Add the flour and shortening (or lard) to a large bowl.  Use a pastry cutter (or your fingers) to work the fat into the flour – you want it incorporated completely. 

NOTE: I am pastry cutter stupid. They do not work for me. Yes, simple. hold it and smoosh into the flour and butter, or lard or shortening and kep doing that. Nope. The solid gets stuck in the cutter part. It is a mess and then I get into a very. BAD. MOOD. I started with the pastry cutter and ended with my hands!

Combine the salt and water in a measuring cup and pour about 3/4 of the water over the flour and shortening mixture.  Use a fork to stir to stir together until all of the dry ingredients are moistened, adding the rest of the water (and even a little more), if needed. 

Turn the dough onto your work surface and knead until smooth – it’ll only take a minute or two.  The dough shouldn’t be very sticky, but if it is, add a tiny bit of flour to your hands so you can work with it.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball.  Put them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.  This rest time helps the dough relax so it’ll be easier to roll.

Set a heavy skillet (I used cast iron) over medium to medium-high heat. 

NOTE: I used a cast iron grill pan.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, set on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 7-inch circle.  Add only enough flour so you can work with the dough – it will be quite thin by the time it reaches 7 inches in diameter.

NOTE: I used my new toy. I will have to make the dough balls smaller. TOo much came out the sides and was too thick. But smooshing them makes for fun in the kitchen!

Transfer to the flattened tortilla to the preheated pan – you will hear a sizzle when you place the dough in the pan and should see bubbles forming across the surface almost immediately.  Cook for 30-45 seconds on the first side, then flip and cook 30-45 seconds on the other side.  The tortilla should be golden brown and might have a few dark spots, but you don’t want to over cook it or it will be crisp rather than pliable.  Transfer to a plate and cover with a kitchen towel.

Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, and continue stacking them under the towel.  Serve warm, or let cool then wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature for a few days, or pop in the freezer.  Reheat in the microwave wrapped in damp paper towels.

Makes 12 tortillas

NOTE: These are SO good! I had one immediately with butter. Had one with my dinner and then stopped myself by putting the rest in the freezer!



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