Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Homemade Flour Tortillas

For a while now I've suspected that real tortillas had to be better than store-bought ones. I became more certain that I had spent my life eating inferior tortillas when I discovered that the same Mission brand flour tortillas in Costa Rica were much better than those in the United States! Apparently someone figured out that we Americans wouldn't know we were missing out on delicate, flaky goodness.

I enjoy trying to make as much of my meals from scratch as possible, so I finally got around to making my own tortillas. I served them to my roommates in burrito form. While the burritos got rave reviews, the tortillas stole the show - everyone noticed the difference.

Here is the recipe I used. I saw some other recipes that didn't call for this much resting time and some that didn't call for any at all so feel free to try other recipes and let me know how it goes!


Flour Tortillas

From the ReBar Modern Food Cookbook
Makes 10-12


1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. vegetable shortening
3/4 c. hot water


In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using the tips of your fingers, add shortening by working it into the dry mix until little pea-sized balls form. Gradually add hot water while using your other hand to mix with a wooden spoon. When the dough is too stiff to mix with a spoon, reach in with your hands and gently knead for 2 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for at least 1 hour.

Next, line a baking tray or dish with parchment paper, sprinkle with flour and set aside. Uncover the dough and pinch off golf ball-sized pieces. Roll the dough in your palms to form smooth spheres. Dust lightly with flour, set on parchment paper and cover loosely with plastic. Repeat with remaining dough. Set the tray aside, covered, to rest for another hour.

When you are ready to roll and cook, lightly sprinkle flour on the counter and set a ball of dough in the center, pressing lightly to flatten. Roll the disk out with a floured rolling pin, working from the center and rolling outwards to the edges, to form an 8" round. Repeat with remaining dough and stack tortillas between sheets of wax or parchment paper.

Heat a cast iron pan or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush lightly with oil and cook tortilla on the first side until you see bubbles forming underneath. Flip over and cook until lightly golden. Wrap in foil and keep in a warm oven until all of the tortillas are cooked. Serve immediately!

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