Homemade Flour Tortillas



homemade flour tortillas

We were snowed in, or should I say frozen in, due to temperatures in the negative 30 to 40 range earlier this week. The kids and I were also on winter break for two weeks up until this point. With kids being around for three meals a day, dealing with inevitable bouts of illnesses in the house, and having my sister and her family in town for a week, I kind of forgot to do a heavy grocery shopping run for the week. Yikes! Not good timing because we are running out of staples that make our week smooth. One of these is flour tortillas. For dinner, I just want to spice up some left over rotisserie chicken, throw it in a shell with some greens and call it a night, but it can’t be that easy, right?

So, I am making my own. I have the flour, baking soda, salt, oil and water (even though my pipes almost froze). Why not?

I have made flour tortillas a few times before, but used sourdough starter as a base. They were so delicious, but pretty time-consuming because of the amount of time needed to sour the dough, rise, shape, rest the dough, and grill.

This recipe is significantly easier and only requires olive oil, unlike many of the recipes requiring lard. You could use coconut oil if you want the health benefits, but I find it gives my baked goods a slightly sweet taste.

If you want to venture into tortilla making land with me (and if you do, you will wonder why you actually eat that cardboard from the store), here is what you need for 8 – 10 tortillas:

2 Cups of flour (AP baby!)
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs of olive oil
3/4 Cup of warm water

Procedure:

Mix your flour, salt and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.  Add your olive oil to your warm water, then drizzle it in the bowl with your flour while mixing it with a fork.  Mix until you have a shaggy dough, then knead the dough for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth, somewhat elastic consistency.  If you need to add more water or flour, go ahead.  I knead my tortilla dough right in the bowl.  Since it isn’t “bread” that needs to rise, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Cover this dough up with a towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes in a semi-warm place.  After this, roll your dough into golf ball sized balls, flatten them into small discs, and place on a cookie sheet.  Cover this again with a towel and let it rest for another 20 minutes before rolling your tortillas out.  Resting is important to rolling a nice, thin tortilla.  You can skip this if you want, but you won’t get the best results.

Heat a large skillet/pan on medium high heat once your dough has rested.  Put a sheet of parchment paper on your rolling surface, sprinkle a small amount of flour on it, and start rolling!  You should roll these as thin as you can possibly get them.  It helps to roll in one direction, turn the parchment paper, then roll in the same direction on the other side of the dough.

rolling tortillas super thin before grilling

Peel the tortilla off of the parchment paper and lay it in the pan.  Wait until you can see some bubbles developing before flipping it.  You should cook them for about 1 minute per side.  It may take a little longer while you are waiting for your pan to get hot.  Watch them carefully because they burn quickly.

I usually roll one, get it in the pan and roll the next tortilla while it is cooking.  It goes pretty quickly once you find your rhythm, but there is a learning curve.  Don’t worry if these are not perfectly symmetrical — they are homemade and are not supposed to be.

As you finish cooking tortillas, put them on a plate and wrap a towel around them so they don’t dry out.  You can also put them inside a gallon sized Ziploc bag lined in paper towels to keep them moist.  Eat these right away (my favorite way is just with a little butter melted on them) or store them in your fridge and heat them up again in a pan.

These can also freeze well — if you are going to the trouble of making a batch, why not double it?  Store them in Ziploc bags lined in paper towels and just allow them to sit out on the counter and thaw before heating them.

tortilla in the pan

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