I may have finally gone around the bend, because I am a homemade tortilla convert. I love them. I love them so much that I don’t even like to buy packaged tortillas anymore. Sadly, that means I eat far fewer tortillas than I used to because homemade tortillas are an unmitigated ass pain. (Of course, the fewer tortillas I eat, the less ass I have to be pained. So it’s not all bad.)
This recipe is from Marge Poore’s 1,000 Mexican Recipes.
Put 2 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse a few times to combine. Add 1/4 cup vegetable shortening and process for about 10 seconds, or until you get a mealy texture like this:
Add 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water all at once. Process until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, then process for about 15 seconds more. It’ll look like this:
Now remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. I use my wooden cutting board covered in a sheet of parchment; the board protects the dough from the cold counter and the parchment paper protects it from any lingering vegetable odors. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. (Roll the dough ball into a short, thick log. Cut the log in half. Cut each half into thirds. Cut each third in half. That equals 12.) Now roll each piece into a little ball.
Cover with plastic wrap and let them rest for 45 minutes. I don’t know what you like to do while you are waiting for your tortilla balls to rest, but I like tormenting my Goobers. “Hey, Goobs, I’m resting my balls! Hahahahaha! Hey, Goobs, do you think my balls are ready to handle yet? Hahahahaha!” I slay me.
Now you have to roll the tortillas out. I think it’s easiest to do it on the (clean) counter. I smoosh the ball flat like so:
Then roll it out into a roughly circular shape. If I rotate the pin as I roll it, I can get the top half looking pretty round, but the bottom part never looks too hot. We don’t mind; it all tastes the same. The tortilla should be about 8” across and 1/8” thick, but I’ve never stopped to measure mine.
When I’m making more than one batch of tortillas (today I made three) I like to separate the rolled tortillas with squares of waxed paper. It keeps them from sticking together or drying out.
Heat up a skillet (I prefer cast iron for this) over high heat. There’s no need to grease it; just leave it dry. Lay a tortilla down and cook for about 5 seconds. It will start to bubble up. If any of the bubbles grow ridiculously large, pop the bubble with a fork to deflate it.
Flip it over (I use metal tongs) and cook for another 3-4 seconds or so, just until the underside starts to brown.
Continue cooking your tortillas, separating them between the folds of a clean kitchen towel. If your life is anything like mine, your Goobs will have just used all your clean kitchen towels to mop up the gallon of milk they dropped on the floor. Go ahead and use paper towels instead.
Use the tortillas for bean burritos or carnitas or enchiladas, or just slap some butter on them and eat them as is. If you can keep your family from stealing them as they come off the skillet, the extras can be refrigerated or frozen to use later. If I’m refrigerating them, I just put them in a plastic bag and use them within two weeks. If I’m freezing them, I wrap them in plastic and then place them in a freezer bag. They’ll keep in the freezer for up to three months.
I’ve tried several recipes for corn tortillas, but haven’t found one that produces anything like the wonderful corn tortillas I ate in San Antonio, Texas. I want to try Alton Brown’s recipe from one of his Good Eats cookbooks, but it requires at least one internet order, and shipping to Hawaii is outrageous – I’m not sure it would be worth it.