Tortillas are the perfect base for all sorts of delicious Mexican meals. They can be used as a bed for a variety of ingredients, from seasoned chicken and pork to fresh vegetables, or to make a simple salad, grilled cheese, or burrito.
Whether you want to cook tortillas for yourself or serve them for guests, it’s easy to make these fluffy, crispy-on-the-outside and soft-on-the-inside flatbreads. It doesn’t take much to whip up a batch, and you can store them in the freezer for later use!
To make tortillas, simply combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add lard (or butter, or shortening) and stir well to a shaggy dough that’s easy to work with. The lard will prevent the dough from drying out, while the baking powder and salt help to activate the gluten.
After the dough has rested, divide it into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball using a rolling pin, dusting the top of the dough with flour as you go to avoid sticking.
Once the tortillas are rolled, place them on a hot griddle or comal and cook them until they’re slightly bubbly and golden. Flip them once and continue cooking until they’re crispy on the outside and browned on the inside.
If you prefer, you can also use a tortilla press to make these deliciously crisp-on-the-outside and soft-on-the-inside pancakes. A tortilla press can be purchased at Mexican markets, or online, and is a great way to make consistent, beautiful pancakes with little effort.
You can also use a tortilla warmer to keep your freshly made tortillas warm until you’re ready to serve them. A tortilla warmer is a large, shallow bowl that you can place in the center of your stovetop and cover with a towel or cloth to keep your tortillas warm while they’re cooking.
The best part about making your own tortillas is that you can make them as big or small as you like, and they’re perfect for dipping in soups or sauces. You can also fold them to make a burrito, or to serve as the base for quesadillas and tostadas!
To make corn tortillas, start with 2 cups of masa harina, which is a corn flour that’s been treated with calcium hydroxide or “lime.” It’s better than plain corn flour to make tortillas since it releases niacin and other nutrients from the corn. You can find this kind of flour at your local Mexican market or online, and it’s a good idea to buy the corn flour that contains only corn and lime for the highest health benefits.
Alternatively, you can use regular all-purpose flour and add an additional 2 tablespoons of water to help the dough knead. Just remember to let the dough rest for 10 minutes after it’s been kneaded before rolling the tortillas.
Once the tortillas have been rolled, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and cook each one until it’s slightly bubbly and golden on the outside. Turn them once and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until they’re browned and crisp on the edges. Then, transfer them to a paper towel to cool and wrap them until you’re ready to eat them!