Sunday, March 29, 2009

Authentic Mexican Flour Tortillas

We had some family friends over for Cafe Rio salads a few weeks ago. I decided to be adventurous, and make my own homemade tortillas. OH MY GOSH....It made all the difference! You have to try them. They are not that time consuming at all, and totally worth the extra effort.

Authentic Mexican Flour Tortillas

-Alyssa Griffeth-

5 c. flour
2 c. very hot water
2 tsp. Kosher salt
½ c. shortening

In a heavy-duty mixer, combine flour and salt. Add in shortening and mix until well combined (it will resemble coarse bread crumbs). Add hot water. The water hotness is the key to these being easy to make--it needs to be hot enough to melt the shortening, but not SO hot that the dough turns into a hot, gooey mess. I usually get relatively warm water from my tap and then heat it for 45-60 seconds in the microwave.

After you add the water, the dough will start to come together. When it is fully combined, remove from mixer and divide into 12 portions and shape into round balls. I like to place them on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper sprayed with Pam. Just don’t add any more flour to the dough or work surface! It will make the tortillas tough.

Preheat a large non-stick skillet to medium-low heat. Press your palm against the surface of the dough ball, trying to maintain as much of a round shape as possible. Place rolling pin in middle of flattened dough ball and roll out as thin as possible…This is the most difficult part. Just keep rolling and stretching.

Place raw tortilla on preheated skillet. Watch for large bubbles. If you get little blistery bubbles, your skillet is too hot and you need to reduce the heat. You're looking for big, fat, slow-bubbling bubbles. When you start to see them, flip the tortilla over and cook for another 30-45 seconds or so. This is where some personal taste comes in, but in my experience, dark marks on your tortillas (like you see on store-bought ones) usually lead to brittle tortillas when they cool down. Personally, I'm keeping my eye out for a kind of "greasy" look inside; I know that sounds gross, but that's the best way I can think of to describe it. These ones are cooked enough to not taste raw, but they're also very soft when they cool and they hold up to being wrapped, folded, twisted, and turned.

If you're cooking these quickly, you can just stack them on top of each other and they'll stay warm. You can also wrap them in damp paper towels and then wrap them in foil and keep them in a warm oven (170) until you're ready to use them.
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