Monday, February 29, 2016

Homemade Tortillas

diy tortillas

All around the food blogger universe I hear praises being sung for homemade tortillas; how amazing they taste, how easy they are to make, how store bought tortillas don't even compare.  Truthfully, this devotion was always a little lost on me.  Tortillas were always merely a utensil of little importance to me.  They held the innards of a taco or burrito; where the filling was what I was truly interested in.  Then a couple of months ago I invited my sisters family over for dinner, planning to make tacos, and then realized that I had 2 tortillas in my refrigerator.  Rather than load the kids in the car and embark in the fiasco of going to the grocery store, I made the executive decision to try my hand at making homemade tortillas.

I found the recipe at one of my favorite, tried and true food blogs, Annie's Eats, and got to work.  It didn't take me long to figure out that making tortillas was in fact as easy as all those food bloggers had been saying and that they weren't even in the same category as store bought tortillas.  These were GOOD.  They very quickly became the star of taco night.  I am by no means against buying store bought tortillas and other baked goods, but making something by hand is always special.  I've never had a time when I didn't feel the extra work was worth it.

After making these tortillas a few times I have figured out a few essential tips: 
1- Have good baking powder.  If you want fluffy tortillas with those quintessential bubbles you need to have good leavening. 
2- You need a consistently hot stove.  I have a gas stove and it worked far better on my stove than on my moms flat top ceramic stove.
3- A non stick skillet or cast iron pan are the way to go.  Stainless steel tended to give us a lot of burnt build-up.
4- to avoid using excess flour when rolling the dough out, roll it out on a silicon mat.
DIY tortillas

Homemade Tortillas

Yield- 12 8- inch tortillas

3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 heaping tsp salt
5 Tbsp shortening
1 cup water

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse the food processor for about 10 seconds until combined and no chunks of shortening are remaining.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Run the food processor and pour the water in, in a very slow stream the until the dough sticks together in a ball (mine never gets to an actual ball but ends up more like 2 masses).  You may not need all the water. 

Knead for 30 seconds more, if the dough seems too sticky to handle, even with lightly floured hands, add a little more flour.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide into 12 equal pieces.  Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and rest for 10 minutes.  Resting is important as it keeps the dough from springing back as you roll it out.  
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Working with one dough ball at a time and keeping the others covered, pat the ball into a disc.

If you are rolling on a silicon mat you will not need to add flour when rolling but if you are not using one you will need to lightly flour the surface.  Roll each ball into an 8-inch circle.  

Carefully transfer the shaped tortilla to the heated skillet and cook each side for 10-20 seconds, just until bubbles form and are lightly browned.  Be careful not to overcook and make sure your skillet is hot enough to cook each side in a maximum of 20 seconds or the tortillas will end up stiff.  Remove the tortillas to a plate and cover promptly with a kitchen towel to prevent drying out.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.  

Source: Annie's Eats


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