I hope I don’t lose you on this one. Â Because, probably even a year ago, I would have seen this recipe title and furrowed my brow and clicked on over to the Huff Post or something. Â Homemade tortillas sounded like a gargantuan task to me — somewhere between homemade bread and homemade puff pastry (although I had no experience to ground this opinion in).
And then one Saturday, I decided to make them. Â And just like so many other made from scratch things, I found out they were simple. Â So easy that I felt guilty for not trying them sooner. Â You don’t need to mess around with yeast, you can control your ingredients completely, and they are deliciously tender and well worth the effort of rolling them out. Â Now, if you are really into tortilla making, you can get a press that will apparently do the work for you. Â But the dough is so easy to work with that I found a small wooden rolling pin worked perfectly (not so much for corn tortillas, however — I think a press would be very helpful for those).
Most tortillas would be made with lard or shortening, but I used butter and really liked the flavor that it imparted. Â (I’m also a butter pie crust kind of gal, though…) Use whatever solid fat or shortening that you like, however. Â The tortillas are really delicious for soft tacos or burritos — something where you can really appreciate how tender and buttery they are. Â However, I wrapped my leftovers tightly and stored them in the fridge and they were great for quesadillas and lightly fried tacos.
Homemade Flour Tortillas
Makes 18 – 6 inch tortillas
4 cups flour (I used 2 cups of white flour and 2 cups of white whole wheat flour, but have also used mostly white whole wheat and have mixed in sprouted spelt flour too)
2 t salt
1/2 cup of cold butter (1 stick, cut into small chunks)
2 T oil (mild flavored, like canola oil)
1 cup of warm water
1. Â Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl and cut in butter using a pastry blender or a food processor. Â Mix in oil and warm water and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon until it comes together into a dough. Â Turn the dough out onto the counter or a wooden board (dusted with a bit of flour) and knead for 3-4 minutes until the dough is cohesive and smooth. Â Flatten dough into a rectangular shape and wrap tightly in plastic or parchment and refrigerate for about an hour.
2. Â Remove dough from fridge and cut it into about 18 similarly sized pieces and roll each one into a ball. Â Keep dough pieces covered while you work with one at a time.
3. Â Heat a dry saute pan or griddle over medium low heat.
4. Â Take one dough ball and roll it out using a small wooden rolling pin (you might even want to raid your kid’s playdough tools for a good one!) Â You will want to get it pretty thin and about 6 inches in diameter. Â In order to keep them somewhat circular, I would recommend rolling in one direction and then rotating the tortilla a quarter turn — repeat rolling and turning a quarter turn until done.
5. Â Place tortilla in the dry skillet and let cook until just barely “spotty golden” on one side. Â I like to spin them around a few times so they cook evenly. When spotty golden, flip the tortilla and cook a bit more (about one minute per side — but this is like pancakes, it will take a couple of tortillas to get your heat regulated and the tortillas cooking perfectly).
6. Â When the first tortilla is done, wrap it in a clean kitchen towel. Â Repeat the rolling and cooking until all the dough is gone, stacking the finished tortillas in the towel. Â It seems like it will take forever, but it really starts to go quickly when you can get one tortilla rolled while another one is cooking. Â (It’s also a great two person job…) Keep them wrapped tightly in the kitchen towel and use within a few hours. Â If you want, you can reheat them lightly before serving.