Tortillas, freshly baked

Easy or Not? It might take a bit of practising before you are really handy in making Tortillas quickly, but once you master the right technique you do not want to go back to pre-made Tortillas. In Mexico a young cook will spend years learning the secrets to making the perfect tortilla, so do not be afraid if you do not get them right the first time.

Tortillas became a staple in our house, great with Chilli Con Carne as Sandwich Wraps or the kids favourite; make your own diner with a combination of Pulled Pork, Lettuce, Tomato, Hot Sauce, Yogurt and Guacamole.

This basic recipe is easy adjustable. Substitute flour with wholemeal flour and you have Chapati or Roti.

Serve them hot, straight after you baked them or safe them for later. They will last for up to 2 days in the fridge and can be warmed in a micro wave before using. But fresh is best.

The wheat flour tortilla was originally derived from the corn Tortilla. Tortillas date back as many as 10.000 before Christ. It was the principal food of the Aztecs who had corn as their main diet. Corn was stored dry and made into a corn meal, which was later transformed into a masa of which Tortillas were baked. After the introduction of tortillas into the western world, they transformed into wheat flour tortillas which are now a main stream product in most Western Countries.

Who connected us?!  This recipe was shared by Pablo, whom I worked with at Alfonso’s Mexican restaurant when I was a Uni student.  Originally from Mexico, Pablo started working as a chef in the Netherlands, sharing his love for honest home style Mexican food. Although we used pre-made Tortillas in the restaurant, Pablo taught me to make this fresh version just to show the difference in taste between home-made and pre-made.

Makes: 8 Tortillas | Preparation: 10 min | Resting: 30 minutes | Rolling & Cooking: 20 minutes

Tortilla ingredients

Ingredients:

  • Wheat Flour, 2 cups
  • Water, 3/4 cup
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Olive Oil, 2 tbs

Instructions:

Making the dough

  1. For this first step I use a stand mixer with a dough hook. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer. Using low speed add the 2tbs of olive oil and mix in the water bit by bit until the mixture becomes together and forms a firm ball. Continue to mix for about a minute until the dough is smooth. No need for kneading.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured bench top. If the dough has the right consistency you do not need a lot of flour on the surface.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 portions. I roll the dough into a log first and then divide the log into 8 equal pieces with a dough scraper. Roll the portions into balls, set the dough aside and cover with a damp towel to rest for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.

The fun part, rolling the Tortillas

  1. Rolling the dough portions into tortillas can be fun, kids can help. The cooking process goes fairly quick, so I roll 4 or more tortillas before I start cooking them.
  2. Keep your working space and rolling pin lightly floured. Flatten the balls and start rolling the dough into circles. To get the best result I circle the dough rather then rolling the pin in different directions. Slightly flour the dough if the in starts to stick, or turn the dough as the underside has some flour on it. For the best results make the tortillas quite thin, almost see trough. Do not stack the tortillas, it might be hard to crab them, but you can overlap them a bit when you are short in space.

Rolling the dough into tortillas is a matter of practising , don’t be afraid if they are not perfect circles, after all we are talking “home made”, they can look a bit rustic.

Cooking the Tortillas

  1. Preheat a cast iron or non stick frying pan over high heat. Baking the best tortillas is a quick process, with the best result when you use a very hot pan. When the pan is hot place the dough circle in the pan and allow to cook for about 30 seconds or until the bottom has some pale brown spots. Turn over the tortilla and cook for another 20 seconds. You can use some tongs to flip the tortilla.
  2. When the pan was the correct temperature and the dough perfect, you will get air bubbles when baking the tortillas. No air bubbles!? No problems, you still have a nice tortilla. Keep practicing and the air bubbles will follow.
  3. Quickly clean the pan from some left flour with a dry paper towel. Be careful!! it’s hot.
  4. On to the next one.
  5. Stack the tortillas on a plate, they will stay warm as you put a hot tortilla on top every minute or so.
  6. You can reheat the tortillas in the microwave, I never do. You could place a plate on top of a pan with some boiling water, to keep the tortillas warm.

Notes:

How many; 1 Cup of flour makes 4 large Tortillas, enough for 2 people. These home made Tortillas are twice as filling as the Tortillas you get from your supermarket.

Water; I never measure the water, but just add water bit by bit until the dough has the right consistency. The dough should by quite firm and elastic. When you role the dough on a bench top it should hardly stick. You only need a little bit of flour on the bench top to prevent the dough from sticking to it.

Shake; Before placing the dough circles in the pan, shake of the access flour.

Whole meal flour; I often use whole meal flour as a healthier option. Basically they then become more like a chapati. They won’t be as fluffy as the Tortillas from white flour, air pockets are not as big and of course the whole meal version taste different. Perfect if you eat them with Chilli Con Carne for example.

Frying pan; I use an old non-stick frying pan. Because you make the pan very hot, without any oil in it, the pan has to endure quit a bit and will get worn out.

No oil: Just use a hot pan without oil. The oil will make the Tortillas crisp and that is not how Tortillas should be.

Salt; I usually skip the salt when we are eating the Tortillas for diner. There is enough spice and salt in the food you are eating the Tortillas with. We nowadays get to much salt in our daily food anyway.

Saving; You can store the Tortillas in an air tide container for 1 or 2 days. Reheat the Tortillas in a microwave or use them as wrap, great for lunchboxes.

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