This is part 1 of a 2-part series in honor of my mom and grandmother’s birthdays, which are next week. First up are my grandma’s flour tortillas. If you’ve never had homemade tortillas then you’re in for a treat. They melt in your mouth! So tender and flavorful; they taste nothing like the store package variety. The dough comes together easily, but it does take some effort in the rolling out. Many hands make work light! When my siblings and I were young, my grandma had a rolling pin made for each of us out of an old broom handle. We would all help roll out tortillas and we each got to eat the first one we rolled. We would watch as it cooked on the comal, knowing that it was a good one if it puffed up. Then we would eat it piping hot and slathered in butter.
Tortillas are generally cooked on a comal, which is a round, flat, cast iron griddle. My family uses old wood-burning cook stove lids. If neither of those is available, any cast iron pan will do. As young’uns our tortillas were not perfectly round, but practice makes perfect! The technique is important in order to produce soft, fluffy tortillas. Starting from the middle of your dough ball, roll one stroke down and one stroke up with a light but firm touch. Turn the tortilla 90 degrees clockwise and repeat the process.
I’ve tried to explain the steps as best I can, but my grandma’s “recipe” was based on feeling and sight–no tools or utensils besides hands–not exactly standardized measurements! Feel free to comment or email if you have any questions. 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
Homemade Flour Tortillas (Tortillas de Harina)
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons lard
- 3/4 to 1 cup warm water
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in lard until it resembles fine crumbs. Mixture should lightly hold together when squeezed. Add the warm water, starting with ¾ cup, and mix until it comes together forming a smooth but not sticky dough.
- Divide the dough into 14-16 balls. Knead and shape until smooth. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for at least 10 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out tortillas. Starting from the middle of dough ball, roll one stroke down and one stroke up with a light but firm touch. Turn the tortilla 90 degrees clockwise and roll one stroke down, one stroke up and turn again. Repeat the process until you reach the desired thickness, about 1/8 of an inch or less.
- Cook on a griddle that has been preheated over medium heat. Cook for 3-5 seconds on one side until tiny bubbles appear. Flip tortilla and cook about 30 seconds. Tortilla should puff up. Flip again and cook for about 15 seconds. Lower heat if tortillas are too brown. Continue until all tortillas have been cooked. Keep cooked tortillas warm by wrapping in a towel.