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Thread: Do you make your own tortillas?

  1. #1

    Do you make your own tortillas?

    I am getting really interested in the idea of making my own tortillas but have never done it. Do any of you make your own? What kind of a tort press will I need and is it worth all of the fuss?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I've made them before. I alternate between making my own and store bought depending on time. Homemade is better because they're not dried out and they make the kitchen smell good when they're cooking. I use the recipe that was in Cooking Light a few years ago (its just Masa and water) and I use a hand press (they're very inexpensive - I think I got mine at Cost Plus). The only drawback is that sometimes store bought are easier to work with becuase they're a little bit bigger and perfectly round - mine don't always end up that way.

    edited to say I've make corn tortillas - I haven't tried flour.

  3. #3
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    I use the recipe in the Well Filled Tortillas cookbook. We use wheat flour only so it involves some tweaking but we enjoy them. I think you may be asking about corn tho' since you mention the press. Regardless, we like that cookbook. Good luck.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  4. #4
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    I make them occasionally; use the recipes for both flour and corn in Rick Bayless's cookbooks.
    My DH bought an electric tortilla press. It's teflon coated, and let me tell you, you must learn how much pressure to use. It took us a long time to get it just right; too much pressure and not only do the tortillas "explode" into snowflake-like creations, but they shoot out the press across the room! The surface is so slick that they just fly! It's really very comical. We couldn't believe how fast they came out.
    But all in all, they were quite tasty.
    I have a friend in our supper club whose fiancee is from Mexico, and she's promised to get us lessons on honest-to-goodness tortilla making.
    Lynne


    To err is human, to forgive, canine.
    -- Anonymous

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    My mom bought me a tortilla press a long time ago, and DH made me get rid of it last year because I never used it. Crimey, I wish I hadn't let it go, I would like to learn to make tortillas.

    I don't really care for corn tortillas (once in a while I will eat them). Do you need a press for the flour kind?

    Lisa

  6. #6
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    My Supper Club made them for one of our dinners last fall. We used the CL recipe in the November (? I think) issue. We didn't use a tortilla press of any kind. We just rolled them out with a rolling pin. They we soooo good! Much better than store bought.

    Peggy
    To take the first step in faith, you don't have to see the whole staircase: just take the first step. - Dr. Martin Luther King

  7. #7
    I make corn tortillas using just masa and water. I found that my krumkake (norwegian christmas cookie) iron works great as a tortilla press, although the resulting tortillas have little scandinavian designs on them. Oh well.

  8. #8

    Cool

    Would LOVE to see a photo of a Norwegian tortilla, Rigel!

    I don't routinely make my own tortillas, but I have done it and recommend you try it at least once. The flavor of homemade tortillas is worlds apart from the storebought variety, especially if you're making corn tortillas. Handmade corn tortillas are thicker, more subtly flavored than the machine-made, mass-produced variety from the market. Even non-fans of commercially produced corn tortillas may find they like the handmade ones.

    Flour tortillas can be made easily with a rolling pan. Masa dough, used for the corn tortillas is traditionally patted out by hand, but the dough is very sticky and tricky to work with. While a tortilla press is nice (and usually inexpensive for a plain ol' cast iron one) it isn't essential. Perhaps the thing to do would be to follow Peggy's lead and try out the CL recipe which doesn't require special equipment.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    I also make most of our tortillas. I used to just make corn tortillas but right now am more into flour tortillas. Back in the early '80s, the mother of one of my flute students taught me how to make tortillas. She was married to a man from Mexico and her mil had taught her. She showed me how to do it with a tortilla press but also showed me how to do it by hand. I don't have a press and just use a rolling pin. It seems to work just as well.

    I have two flour tortilla recipes that I use - I fat free and one that uses a bit of oil. I must have missed the CL recipe. I'll have to go back and look for it.

    We do think that they taste better than the store bought, but I do fall back on store bought when pressed for time. It's nice to know that you can make your own when you feel like making Mexican food but don't have any tortillas in the house.
    "Let food be thy medicine" ~ Hippocrates

  10. #10
    DonleyK,

    Can you please post your recipe for whole wheat tortillas? I'd like to try to make some, but can't have corn due to allergies in the family.

    Thanks so much,
    Cheryl

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Connecticut
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    I'm about to try to make my own tortillas and have bought Masa in my grocery store. How do you store it? Can you freeze it? We're cooking out of our dining room (with the sink in the kitchen) while we put down new floors and build kitchen cabinets and I don't have a lot of storage space. TIA

  12. #12
    I always store my flour in the freezer, so I would do the same with Masa. I love making corn tortillas, but unfortunately time does not permit that task much. I used a hand tortilla press and cover it with wax paper to prevent it from sticking, but that does not always work. I actually took a Masa cooking class and the chef used cut up paper grocery bags with his tortillas, but that just did not work for me.

    I must agree that homemade corn tortillas are much tastier!!

  13. #13
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    I find that using a cut-up heavy duty freezer bag in the press keeps things from sticking. Saran wrap is not enough, but a freezer bag works well.

    I like homemade corn tortillas SO much more than store bought. For me, the trick is to wrap the stack of tortillas in a dish towel as they come off the heat. Trapping the residual heat steams them a little and makes the texture better, IMHO.

    I don't make homemade flour ones very often but when I do, I use rendered pork fat in them. Not healthy, but vastly superior to those made with oil, butter or shortening in my taste testing.

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Making the corn tortillas are fun and they are much better than the store ones. You just need to do some testing to find what works for you as far as the amount of dough needed for the size and thickness you want. I use the dough recipe on the masa bag. I put the dough ball between sheets of plastic wrap. Before I bought the press I used a large heavy cookbook to press it between the Saran sheets. It was much easier to give it even pressure thana a rolling pin.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    This is fascinating! I have never made either corn or flour tortillas at home. I do sometimes buy a dozen flour tortillas at a local Chevy's where they are freshly made. They sell them to me to go. I take them home and use them in whatever I need them for that night. I'm pretty sure there is a source of fresh corn tortillas in my community, so based upon this thread, I think I'll try them!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
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    Cheryl,

    I just saw your request and will be happy to. I will have to get it tonight tho' since the cookbook is at home.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  17. #17
    I will try the freezer bag trick, hopefully that will work for me.

    One comment about lard. When I took the cooking class the chef swore by using lard in his tortillas and used lard when frying them. I off course was horrified since I am a vegetarian and do not want to eat pig...heehee (which he deemed "unacceptable") But the rest of the class devoured them, so I guess they must have tasted good...haha.

  18. #18
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    Sherri- I promise that I always own up to my pork fat transgressions to my vegetarian or Kosher-keeping friends!

  19. #19
    DonleyK,

    Thanks for taking the trouble to get your recipe from home. I'm looking forward to trying tortilla making.

    Cheryl

  20. #20
    jphhilg
    That is nice of you!! I am sure I have eaten animal lard without knowing...maybe it is better if I do not know...hahah

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
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    Columbus, OH USA
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    Sorry for the delay....

    From The Well Filled Tortilla

    3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I use WW minus 1/8 cup)
    1/3 cup vegatable oil
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup warm tap water

    Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix together with a fork or your fingers until thoroughly distributed and the flour is crumbly in texture.

    Mix the salt with the warm tap water and add to the flour. Mix together with your hands until you can gather the dough into a ball. Place the dough on an unfloured board and knead until smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover with a towel, place it in a warmish spot and let rest for up to 2 hours but no less than 30 minutes. The dough may be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refridgerator. Use within 1 day.

    To make the tortillas, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each between your palms to make a ball. Flatten the balls, then place on a very lightly floured board. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into an 8 to 9-inch very thin round. The uncooked tortillas can be layered between sheets of plastic wrap and stored in the fridge overnight.

    To cook tortillas, heat a heavy cast-iron frying pan, griddle or comal over medium-high heat. Place the tortillas one at a time or as many as will fit w/o overlapping, in a pan and cook for 30 seconds. If the tortillas puff up, gently press them down with a spatula. Turn and cook on the other side until brown spots but still pliable and not crisp, about 30 seconds more. Remove and stack as you go, while the tortillas are still warm. Use the cooked tortillas right away or reheat just before serving.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  22. #22
    Donleyk,

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, I'll be trying these next week.

    Cheryl

  23. #23
    Join Date
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    Louisiana
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    When I lived in south Texas, bakery tortillas were delivered to all the stores fresh daily. Like bread is everywhere else. Now, I think the store bought tortillas are older than dirt, and taste less than fresh.
    Margaret

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