Making tortillas is easy once you know the rules and if you own the proper tool~ a tortilla press. They come in many designs, but my personal favorite is the cast iron one above.
I have to tell you that masa or corn tortillas are the simplest to make, and yet I see some pretty amazing additions to the recipe when I look online. They’re just making it too hard on themselves. Essentially, you need the following:
- A tortilla press
- One split Zip-loc baggie
- A medium sized bowl
- A clean, lint free dish towel
- A very hot griddle set to 400 deg. or a cast iron skillet
- A bag of corn masa (I like MaSeCa brand)
>>>>>>>>>>>>YOU DO NOT NEED: oil, salt, baking powder/soda, wheat flour, zanthian gum (a gluten free emulsifying agent).
1.) Mix one cup of Masa by hand (literally) with enough water to make a stiff dough. It will be the consistency of pie crust and will crack easily when squeezed. NOTE: too wet and dough will stick to the plastic bag, too dry and it will tear and crack when removing it from the plastic.
2) Divide dough into equal portions of about the size of a small tangerine. I find it easiest to just divide the dough into half, and continue
halving until the parts are approximately that size. You should end up with about 8 portions.
3) Insert the plastic with the seam against the hinge of your press. Roll one portion between your palms to smooth and round, then place it between the plastic layers and press flat with the tortilla press. Open and turn the plastic the opposite direction pressing the dough a second time.
4) Lift the plastic on one side, flip the tortilla onto your palm, now gently peel back the plastic from the other side of the tortilla…
5) Flip your hand over the pre-heated griddle or pan letting the tortilla land on the surface. Wait about 1 minute.
6) Using a spatula, flip the tortilla over for 30 seconds, and then flip back. Try not to leave it long enough for little cracks to form on it.
Now you will cook that side until it begins to show the slightest signs of browning and then flip one last time. This is the fun part! If you have managed to do everything perfectly the tortilla will puff up in the middle! Leave it be until you see a slight browning and then remove from the cooking surface.
7) Place the tortilla into the folds of a clean dish towel to keep warm and continue as above.
NOTE: At this point you can use them as is for a soft taco or fry them in a pan with about a half-inch of oil (NOT olive oil) to make tostadas or crispy taco shells.
Crispy shells: Using tongs, put tortilla into hot oil five seconds or less, carefully turn and using tongs fold it over, wait about 8 to 10 seconds and roll it over to get the other side. If you take too long it will be hard to fold, and if you don’t take long enough it will turn into a grease sponge! Place shells onto paper towels or a clean paper bag to drain.
Making tortillas takes practice. For the most part your first attempts are still edible!
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!