Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Flour Tortillas

I have made homemade corn tortillas before (delicious), but it's been a long time since I made homemade flour tortillas. I have forgotten how good they can be. It's true that when you start making them at home, you'll wonder why it took you so long. They are that good. My daughter couldn't get enough of them.

Looking for a recipe, I came up with a couple of versions of the basic recipe. Some had flour, water, oil, and salt. Others added baking powder. I decided to do one batch (one dozen) of one recipe with baking powder and another batch without. My recommendation is to make it without, because I didn't think that it made that much of a difference. And I like fewer things in my food to do the job. It's nice to know I could still make these without baking powder in the house.
Here is my version of rustic flour tortillas...chewy and pull-apart-able goodness.

Rustic Flour Tortillas

1 3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup whole grain wheat or rye flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
3 Tablespoons oil (or less)
2/3 -3/4 cup warm water
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix the oil in with the warm water and pour them in the dry ingredients and mix together. The dough should not be too dry or wet. If too dry, add water. If too wet, add flour. Knead for a couple of minutes. The dough should be moist. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces, rolling them into small balls between your hands. Cover them with a thin damp towel to rest for at least 10 minutes (up to 1 hour or so).

To shape, use a rolling pin to roll them out thinly. Rolling from the middle out, rotating the dough circle to get a more even shape and turning over. Use flour on the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. They should be about 7 inches in diameter or so, about 1/8 inch thick (they shrink slightly when you cook them).

To cook, preheat a dry skillet on medium heat for a few minutes. You will not need any oil to grease the pan. It helps to keep the tortilla from sticking to the pan by "shaking" the pan or moving it with your fingers carefully while cooking. Cook for about 30 seconds on one side, then flip over and do another 30 seconds on the second side. As the first ones cook you'll be able to adjust your stove as necessary, finishing the rest the same way. They will be done when light brown spots start to appear. It may puff up.

To keep them warm, put on a plate and cover with a dry towel, placing part of the towel underneath to keep the bottom one from getting soggy. Keep them covered, opening only to put another cooked one inside, until serving time. Serve while still warm.
A great link to learn more about what goes into making flour tortillas and other tips, check out James W. Peyton's web page on flour tortillas.
Gadget review: Revel Tortilla Maker (CTM 660 -120 V):

I had a chance to do something yesterday that I've been interested in doing for awhile. I borrowed a friend's electric tortilla maker. It shapes and cooks.
Like a waffle iron that has flat plates, this small appliance does the work of rolling out the tortillas and then proceeds to cook them right away. Very convenient.
I'm not sure if I will ever buy one, but it satisfied my curiosity about this gadget. If I ever find one (or one similar) second hand and cheap, I would not pass it up.These run about $30-40 dollars new, so you have to think about how much you make tortillas to make it worth the price if you can't wait for it to show up on the second hand/garage sale market.
If you have a rolling pin (and some time) and a stove top, tortillas can easily make it to your supper table. An inexpensive (non-electric) tortilla press makes the work go faster. This electric gadget a little quicker, but not much. I have used a (non-electric) tortilla press before and that is handy too, doing the job of rolling out in one easy motion. The cooking part has to be done on the stove, but otherwise makes the tedious job of rolling out much quicker.
You might do what my friend finds useful for her growing family. She uses this to shape and start the cooking, then transfers it to another skillet on her stove to finish cooking and keep things moving. This can be a good idea when you want to get more done in less time. When I used it, I cooked them exclusively on the tortilla maker, because I wanted to see how it could do the whole process. I liked the results. Next time, I might do some on the stove and some in the maker to make it go quicker, using the tortilla maker to shape them all. Some people find using a couple of skillets on the stove to cook them is handy as well.
For other kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.


Rachael said...

Those look delicious! I've been meaning to try making my own for a long time! I wonder if you could use all whole wheat or maybe a combo of whole wheat flour and ww pastry flour for these? Thanks again for a great post!

MyKidsMom said...

I love wheat tortillas and this sounds like a great recipe. I didn't know they had such a thing as a tortilla maker, I don't recall ever seeing one in the stores. Thanks for sharing!

Edi said...

These sound tasty - I printed out your recipe/instructions and hope to make them today. We eat a lot of tortillas - use them even for a base for pizzas - so it would be fun to try making our own. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! This was just what I was looking for to make dinner tonight.

cyndyava said...

These look so yummy. I have been thinking about making homemade tortillas for a while now. I think I'll give it a try tonight.
Thanks for your recipes and a great blog.

Loretta said...

There are many versions of tortillas or flatbread around the world. Whole wheat ones might be called chapati. There's also roti and naan - not whole wheat per se, but other names for flatbreads like tortillas. Of course, pita or pocket breads are another great flatbread. Some use yeast and others don't. You can use any grain (wheat, rye, barley, etc...) or even bean flour for gluten free tortillas.
I'm excited to learn more about this "quick" bread that can be very versatile.
Hope you all enjoy them.

Sarah Halter said...

The only times I've made tortillas by hand is when I'm in Africa. The first time was when I was making a Mexican dinner with a peace corps friend in the village in Kenya. We made tortillas and beans and sauteed peppers and onions, all on the one charcoal cooker. We made guacamole and salsa too. It took a LONG time, but wow, it was a good meal. We didn't make them much differently than we make chapatis, except that you use oil in the pan when cooking chapatis. I made them again several times on my own later, but haven't since I've been here. I get them from a local mexican grocery instead.

Zom! said...

Its been awhile since you posted this, but I just found it and THESE WERE GREAT!!! My brother just gifted (ditched?) 100lbs of flour and 20lbs of rye flour to me. In the middle of summer!!! Now I now what I'll be making round the clock. Leaving the baking powder out worked great.