Community Message Boards
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Masa Harina vs Masa

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Keizer, Oregon
    Posts
    635

    Question Masa Harina vs Masa

    I want to make the Arepas from May 02. It calls for masa harina. How is this different from masa? Cook's Thesaurus says masa harina is a flour from white or yellow hominy. It says masa is masa harina which has been reconstituted with water which sounds like it would be a dough. I found only masa in the one (large) supermarket that I was at today but it appeared to be a flour in a sack not a dough type thing. I feel like I'm rambling cause I don't know what I'm talking about. Can anyone help me out?

    What is masa harina? What is masa? Can I substitute cornmeal or something?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Heading WEST!!
    Posts
    15,184
    My low level of knowledge on mexican...but here goes...
    masa harina is basically, corn that has been treated with lime, then ground...kind of like cornmeal treated with lime (very old traditional method, and it increases the calcium content of the final product)...
    masa is same as above, but "instant".....

    I'm wearing my RD hat now: Neither of these is as nutritious as the old, old stuff was because they de-bran and de-germ the corn...so it's like quaker cornmeal (not anything worthy of nutrition, but stores forever in your cupboard) treated with lime.

    Does this help??? probably not...hope someone else can do better...
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Lewiston ID
    Posts
    1,675
    I found a couple of sites on google that explain the difference. If your recipe calls for masa harina, then the bag of masa at the store is probably what you need.

    http://www.cuisinenet.com/digest/ingred/masa.shtml This one gives the following information:

    Masa and Masa Harina

    Masa means "dough" in Spanish, but in Mexico it is generally understood as "corn dough." For some, masa is to Mexican cooking what stock can be to French, the defining and essential element. It is made by boiling corn kernels in powdered lime (calcium oxide), washing them and then grinding. Enough water is then mixed into the meal to make a dough. Smoother, soft masa is required for tortillas, and coarser, stiff masa is used for tamales.

    Masa Harina is factory-made, powdered masa. It can be used to make anything that calls for masa.
    http://gourmetsleuth.com/masanixtamal.htm This site goes into more detail about both masa and masa harina.
    Susan

    So many books--So little time.

  4. #4

    Cool

    Here I sit, with three Mexican cookbooks, looking for the best description of the difference between the two. Found one I liked, popped it into my lap to type and came back here to see that sushibones has gotten it quite nicely.

    ...so I won't bother...

    I read the Cook's Thesaurus thing, but according to two of my cookbooks and the descriptions sushibones posted, Cook's Thesaurus wrote it backward.

    No, you can't substitute cornmeal. I'd say if the stuff in your market looks like flour, it's masa harina, since that's just how it looks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Lewiston ID
    Posts
    1,675
    I started to give a guessed at answer, but reconsidered, and found these very concise answers on google. More than I had known previously.

    And, Gail, usually by the time I have thought out and typed a reponse, I find that 3 other people have sent the same reply.

    Your status as Goddess, however, is in no way threatened by this fluke of timing.
    Susan

    So many books--So little time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    19,699
    No wonder this is confusing! Here's the quote from good ol' Food Lover's Companion:

    "masa; masa harina [MAH-sah ah-REE-nah] The Spanish word for "dough," masa is the traditional dough used to make corn tortillas. It's made with sun- or fire-dried corn kernels that have been cooked in limewater (water mixed with calcium oxide). After having been cooked, then soaked in the limewater overnight, the wet corn is ground into masa. Masa harina (literally "dough flour") is flour made from dried masa."

    I remember seeing 5-pound bags of masa in grocery store, too, when I was looking for oh, a couple of tablespoons of masa harina. Finally found masa harina in the bulk bins of a really good, really big natural foods store. I needed it to thicken a corn soup, so I can see where you'd want the very fine stuff.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •