Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Making Tortillas at Home

Mexican

  • Please log in to reply
164 replies to this topic

#31 infernooo

infernooo
  • participating member
  • 364 posts

Posted 27 August 2006 - 03:38 PM

Brilliant!

Thank you so much for your help & advice Gabe, I will take into account your advice and practice, practice, practice.

I shall report back after I have played around some more :-).

There also seems to be a divide as to whether or not to grease the comal/skillet, some say do it (as in this post and some books I have read), whereas others say don't (e.g. rick bayless). I guess as long as it doesn't stick it shouldn't make much of a difference except perhaps the oil would be better at conducting heat to the surface of the tortilla.

#32 Gabriel Lewis

Gabriel Lewis
  • participating member
  • 306 posts
  • Location:Montreal, Quebec

Posted 27 August 2006 - 09:36 PM

Your very welcome! I have struggled with many cooking tasks like this before and know how much of a difference a little help can make. In fact, I find it very satisfying to know that someone finds my knowledge helpful.

I'm still on the fence on whether or not to grease. If I grease heavily the tortilla will move freely almost immediately after I place it on the comal, meaning that I lose (what some people consider) an indication of when to flip. On the other hand if I don't grease sometimes things seem to go fine, but other times they stick terribly and almost invariably the tortilla is ruined. However, I think it is really dependent on what kind of pan you are using, how well seasoned it is etc.

I am thinking that I will spend a whole day or soon just making tortilla after tortilla. This way I hope gain a good understanding of the different variables involved such that I can tweak them to perfection. And of course I too will report back with whatever I may learn.

#33 Jmahl

Jmahl
  • participating member
  • 816 posts
  • Location:On the Tex Mex Border

Posted 14 September 2006 - 07:55 PM

Dear Gabe,

Good for you. I think you are on a roll and are getting it down. Just keep at it.

Jmahl
The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

#34 nickrey

nickrey
  • society donor
  • 2,214 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 16 December 2008 - 03:42 PM

Dissatisfied with the quality of store-bought tortillas, I just bought myself a tortilla press and some 100% stone ground corn flour (imported from Mexico and cooked with lime).

The recipe I used was:
2 cups masa flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 - 1 1/3 cups warm water.

The dough came together well, rolled into balls nicely and when pressed peeled easily off the tortilla press (I think it's cast iron coated with aluminium).

I started with a non-stick pan but found that the heat need to cook them was too high so swapped to cast iron which I put on high heat over a wok burner (inside from a domestic supply rather than an industrial one).

Once I'd played around with it a bit, they came out as would be expected with some puffing and small burn marks.

After cooking them (why not before? :wacko: ) I checked threads here on eGullet and saw a pictorial on how to make them that corresponded to what I did.

The taste was quite unlike any tortilla I have ever had (I'm in Australia and we're not so big on Mexican food as some of you folks are). I wound up making some chicken enchiladas which were delicious.

My question is are there any special techniques or kitchen lore about making tortillas that I may have missed?

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#35 nickrey

nickrey
  • society donor
  • 2,214 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 29 December 2008 - 09:44 PM

Dissatisfied with the quality of store-bought tortillas, I just bought myself a tortilla press and some 100% stone ground corn flour (imported from Mexico and cooked with lime).

The recipe I used was:
2 cups masa flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 - 1 1/3 cups warm water.

The dough came together well, rolled into balls nicely and when pressed peeled easily off the tortilla press (I think it's cast iron coated with aluminium).

I started with a non-stick pan but found that the heat need to cook them was too high so swapped to cast iron which I put on high heat over a wok burner (inside from a domestic supply rather than an industrial one).

Once I'd played around with it a bit, they came out as would be expected with some puffing and small burn marks.

After cooking them (why not before? :wacko: ) I checked threads here on eGullet and saw a pictorial on how to make them that corresponded to what I did.

The taste was quite unlike any tortilla I have ever had (I'm in Australia and we're not so big on Mexican food as some of you folks are). I wound up making some chicken enchiladas which were delicious.

My question is are there any special techniques or kitchen lore about making tortillas that I may have missed?

View Post

I put this on a different forum. Thanks for Chris Hennes for moving it across here and thanks for all the people above who had already more than answered my query :biggrin:

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#36 Jon Savage

Jon Savage
  • participating member
  • 432 posts
  • Location:Belmont Shore

Posted 30 December 2008 - 08:56 AM

Dissatisfied with the quality of store-bought tortillas, I just bought myself a tortilla press and some 100% stone ground corn flour (imported from Mexico and cooked with lime).
<snip>
The taste was quite unlike any tortilla I have ever had (I'm in Australia and we're not so big on Mexican food as some of you folks are). I wound up making some chicken enchiladas which were delicious.

My question is are there any special techniques or kitchen lore about making tortillas that I may have missed?

View Post


I think you nailed it.

Jon

 

--formerly known as 6ppc--


#37 Jmahl

Jmahl
  • participating member
  • 816 posts
  • Location:On the Tex Mex Border

Posted 30 December 2008 - 05:20 PM

My question is are there any special techniques or kitchen lore about making tortillas that I may have missed?

View Post



Looks like you've got it.


But try this, - Just put a fresh tortilla back on the grill with some melting cheese on top. Let the cheese melt, add sliced avocado and pico de gillo. Heaven. You have just made quesadilla.

Jmahl
The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

#38 nickrey

nickrey
  • society donor
  • 2,214 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 01 January 2009 - 05:51 PM

Thanks Jmahl, they are wonderful.

On technique, I've worked out a number of things.

First my tortilla press has its contact point on the edge rather than the middle, which can lead to uneven thickness. I read on one other post that someone who has this type presses with his hands in the middle. I couldn't get enough pressure doing this to get the tortilla to the correct thickness. Instead, I pressed once, flipped the tortilla over so the end that was under where the pressure was applied was now on the opposite side and pressed again: this led to a much more uniform thickness.

The second thing is to have plastic that fits exactly under the press; any bigger and it can wrinkle which leads to it digging in and making a spot where the tortilla breaks while puffing up.

Third, if the puffiness seems to be coming up a bit uneven, take a tortilla that you have already made and press it gently on the one that is cooking; this seems to release the bits that are sticking and allows it to puff up evenly (thanks to Rick Bayless for this one).

I'm never going back to store bought ones again :biggrin:

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#39 jsmeeker

jsmeeker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,505 posts
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 10 January 2009 - 04:53 PM

A couple of questions.

What size press should I get? When I get tortillas in the store, they are the 6" sized ones. Would a 6 1/2 inch press be big enough? I don't want anything really big, as I don't really want to make big tortillas.

What kind of plastic? When I see someone calling for plastic film, I think of Glad pastic wrap or Seran wrap or whater. The stuff we all have to cover bowls, wrap food, etc. But what I see on TV and what I see in pics here seems to be a very different plastic. It appears thinker and looks like it wouldn't stick to itself.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org


#40 Chris Hennes

Chris Hennes

    Director of Operations

  • manager
  • 8,104 posts
  • Location:Norman, Oklahoma

Posted 10 January 2009 - 05:22 PM

I think mine is around that size, and I've never needed anything larger. For plastic I use cut up freezer bags, which are thicker and easier to work with than plastic wrap.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org


#41 nickrey

nickrey
  • society donor
  • 2,214 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 10 January 2009 - 06:18 PM

I've been using plastic cut out from zip-loc bags, which is a bit thicker than freezer bags.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#42 Chris Hennes

Chris Hennes

    Director of Operations

  • manager
  • 8,104 posts
  • Location:Norman, Oklahoma

Posted 10 January 2009 - 06:21 PM

lol, I use Ziploc-brand freezer bags because they're thicker than their regular bags... I agree, they are just about perfect for making tortillas. :smile:

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org


#43 jsmeeker

jsmeeker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,505 posts
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 10 January 2009 - 06:36 PM

sweet... Thanks for that tip, guys. Now, I just need to get my tortilla press.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org


#44 StanSherman

StanSherman
  • participating member
  • 258 posts
  • Location:NE Iowa

Posted 10 January 2009 - 09:31 PM

Does anyone know what the perfect thickness dimension should be? My press is kinda large (25 ton) and I can set the thickness. I just love multi-purpose tools.

#45 nickrey

nickrey
  • society donor
  • 2,214 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 10 January 2009 - 11:00 PM

Does anyone know what the perfect thickness dimension should be?  My press is kinda large (25 ton) and I can set the thickness.  I just love multi-purpose tools.

View Post

Around 3mm which is just below 1/8 inch. This is for the normal sized one. With that sort of equipment if you decide to do a bigger one, you might need a thicker tortilla (I'd love to see the frying pan you'd cook a really big one in and how you'd turn it :wink: )

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#46 nickrey

nickrey
  • society donor
  • 2,214 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 01 April 2009 - 04:06 PM

Latest update.

When putting the tortilla on the pan, I've found that to keep it flat, it is better to use a sweeping motion level with the cooking surface. Problem is that my cast-iron frying pan has about 2-inch sloped sides. Anyone who cooks can see what's coming...
burnt wrists!

After a number of burns on my wrist due to miscalculated drops, I've invested in a comal (you can see one in the excellent instructional pictorial provided above by Jmahl). Smart people these South Americans [edited in light of Jmahl's comment below], they've made a cooking instrument ideally suited to the task! I even got it for $9.95 here in Australia (from this company for any Australians who might be interested). US based people could be able to get it for even less.

Now to those enchilada cook-off recipes...

Edited by nickrey, 01 April 2009 - 05:00 PM.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#47 Jmahl

Jmahl
  • participating member
  • 816 posts
  • Location:On the Tex Mex Border

Posted 01 April 2009 - 04:36 PM

Latest update.

When putting the tortilla on the pan, I've found that to keep it flat, it is better to use a sweeping motion level with the cooking surface. Problem is that my cast-iron frying pan has about 2-inch sloped sides. Anyone who cooks can see what's coming...
burnt wrists!

After a number of burns on my wrist due to miscalculated drops, I've invested in a comal (you can see one in the excellent instructional pictorial provided above by Jmahl). Smart people these Mexicans, they've made a cooking instrument ideally suited to the task! I even got it for $9.95 here in Australia (from this company for any Australians who might be interested). US based people could be able to get it for even less.

Now to those enchilada cook-off recipes...

View Post



Thanks for the complement but our comal was made in Columbia - actually any rimless cast-iron griddle will do.

Jmahl
The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

#48 Fervetopus

Fervetopus
  • participating member
  • 6 posts
  • Location:Norwood, MA

Posted 10 April 2009 - 09:11 PM

Hi all,

Nice thread. Just a couple of questions. Jmahl, do you mean Colombia or actually Columbia? Is it Pico de Gallo that you put on your quesdaillas? Just trying to be sure. Sounds great! Thanks for the tutorial!
Best

#49 Jmahl

Jmahl
  • participating member
  • 816 posts
  • Location:On the Tex Mex Border

Posted 11 April 2009 - 06:00 AM

Hi all,

Nice thread. Just a couple of questions.  Jmahl, do you mean Colombia or actually Columbia? Is it Pico de Gallo that you put on your quesdaillas?  Just trying to be sure.  Sounds great!  Thanks for the tutorial!
Best

View Post



Thanks for pointing that out. Yes our parilla was made in the Republic of Columbia. As to toppings, I checked with the expert, top your quesadillas with hot salsa or Pico de Gallo or whatever else you like to give it a little fire.

Jmahl
The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

#50 nakji

nakji
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,658 posts
  • Location:Shanghai

Posted 03 August 2010 - 06:46 AM

Okay, dumb questions from a tortilla beginner:

Masa, maseca, masa harina, and corn flour. How do they differ? Or do they? Masa is a fresh product, right? But is there any difference between maseca, masa harina, and corn flour (not corn meal or corn starch)? I'm bringing a small selection of Mexican ingredients and a copy of Kennedy back to China with me this fall for my winter cooking projects.

#51 AAQuesada

AAQuesada
  • participating member
  • 295 posts

Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:54 PM

Masa = Dough ie: Masa para pasteles is pastry dough.

Masa harina = Dough Flour usually 'Trigo' or wheat...
Masa harina de maiz = Corn flour for dough (also name of a Quaker product)

Maseca = One of the oldest brands of corn flour. They have two main lines 'para tortillas' and 'para tamales'

Good Luck!

Bonus:
and salsa = sauce ie. salsa holandesa or hollandaise sauce!

#52 nakji

nakji
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,658 posts
  • Location:Shanghai

Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:14 PM

Thanks! So in any recipe that calls for "Maseca", I can use corn flour (non-Maseca brand)? I only ask because we don't have a Latin American grocery handy, and I'm shopping from a health foods store with bulk bins.

#53 AAQuesada

AAQuesada
  • participating member
  • 295 posts

Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:35 PM

You might want to call your local big box grocery store, Maseca is pretty common. I have never tried regual corn flour, so I don't know if it would work or not. The corn flour for tortillas or tamales have been treated with lye (nixtamal) before being ground and dried.

http://en.wikipedia....Nixtamalization

You could also call Bob's Red Mill and ask them if you don't get an answer here, they make a corn flour.

#54 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,626 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 04 August 2010 - 01:26 PM

Masa is Spanish for dough, but in this situation it usually means the hydrated, limed, ground corn that you use for corn tortillas. (Whole corn that has been limed is called nixtamal.)

Maseca is a corporation that makes corn tortillas, masa harina, and other stuff.

Masa harina is the corn flour that you use to make masa/dough, hence the name (harina is Spanish for flour).

Corn flour is a category of products that include masa harina. However, most "corn flours" in the US and Europe, AFAIK, do not include limed corn, the key step to creating nixtamal, the basis for Mexican masa (and thus masa harina). In addition, in the US, corn flour does not mean corn starch, but I've seen corn starch from other places labeled as "corn flour."

So:

Masa can be made from masa harina (which is a type of corn flour) or from nixtamal.

Maseca makes a brand of masa harina.

Most corn flour isn't limed, but masa harina is.

Phew. I think that's more or less right.

Edited by Chris Amirault, 04 August 2010 - 01:30 PM.
paren on nixtamal

Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#55 nakji

nakji
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,658 posts
  • Location:Shanghai

Posted 04 August 2010 - 01:43 PM

Okay, so I need either something labelled "masa harina" or "Maseca"-brand, then. Useful information, this.

#56 AAQuesada

AAQuesada
  • participating member
  • 295 posts

Posted 14 August 2010 - 06:01 PM

So, I went to the Western Regional food show/Comida Latina and I thought I'd share one of the purveyors. 'MINSA' is selling Organic and Non GMO corn flours from White, yellow, red and blue corn.

http://www.minsa.com...ingquienes.html

#57 kalypso

kalypso
  • participating member
  • 721 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 15 August 2010 - 08:37 AM

So, I went to the Western Regional food show/Comida Latina and I thought I'd share one of the purveyors. 'MINSA' is selling Organic and Non GMO corn flours from White, yellow, red and blue corn.

http://www.minsa.com...ingquienes.html


AAQ, thank you for the link. I've not seen MINSA products in our local Mexican markets, but I suspect if I look hard enough I can find it easier than I think :wink:

How was the food show, and especially Comida Latina. I wanted to go but was actually in Mexico so had to miss it this year. Other than the masa you cited above, any new and/or interesting items?

#58 AAQuesada

AAQuesada
  • participating member
  • 295 posts

Posted 15 August 2010 - 08:01 PM


So, I went to the Western Regional food show/Comida Latina and I thought I'd share one of the purveyors. 'MINSA' is selling Organic and Non GMO corn flours from White, yellow, red and blue corn.

http://www.minsa.com...ingquienes.html


AAQ, thank you for the link. I've not seen MINSA products in our local Mexican markets, but I suspect if I look hard enough I can find it easier than I think :wink:

How was the food show, and especially Comida Latina. I wanted to go but was actually in Mexico so had to miss it this year. Other than the masa you cited above, any new and/or interesting items?


I think it will be one of those things where we, the buying public, need to ask for. In mexico I think non-GMO and organic don't really figure much into buying decisions.

There was someone importing good quality Mexican Vanilla based out of S.D..(PM me if you want the name). Chocolatera Moctezuma from Michoacan was there with some really high quality Mexican chocolate including 40% bittersweet tabla.. Some really nice Mezcal from http://premiummezcal.com/ who is fighting for shelf space.

Those were the ones that interested me the most. There were quite a few beef and pork wholesalers, Mexican Cheese producers, Spice and Chile vendors. All sorts of prepared foods.

#59 mkayahara

mkayahara
  • participating member
  • 1,836 posts
  • Location:Guelph, Ontario

Posted 28 April 2011 - 04:10 PM

Thought I'd pull the discussion back over from the thread where I picked it up. I made tortillas tonight, but they never puffed at all. Also, when they came out of the cast iron skillet, the weren't pliable at all... is that normal? They softened up once they came out of the oven, where I'd been keeping them warm while I made the taco filling. I guess what I'm wondering is, how moist should the dough be before it gets cooked?
Matthew Kayahara
Kayahara.ca
@mtkayahara

#60 brianl

brianl
  • participating member
  • 18 posts

Posted 28 April 2011 - 05:11 PM

I'm sure others more knowledgeable than I will chime in, but here's my $.02.

What ratio of masa harina to water did you use?

I find that they puff best when I put as much water as possible without it being sticky. Rick Bayless' books call for 1 3/4c of masa harina to 1c + 2Tbsp water. I've found that to be too dry and add several more tbsp of water.

What temp is your pan at? I use a comal on a 14,200 BTU gas burner set between 7 and 8 (and about 9 on our old 9,000 BTU burners). There's no reason a cast iron pan won't work, but that kind of temperature tends to destroy any seasoning on the pan.

As far as timing, I do 30 seconds (or so), flip, about a minute, flip again, and another 30 seconds. It should puff on the last flip, sometimes I press down lightly on any ragged edges that are evidently venting steam, and sometimes I press the center as well.

Anyways, that is what works for me.

To be honest, I had been making (trying?) corn tortillas for some time before I realized they were supposed to puff. It wasn't until I stumbled on this forum quite a few years ago (yes, I've been lurking that long) that I learned otherwise. Almost all the advice given above was learned here.

Hope that helps,

Thanks,

Brian

Edited by brianl, 28 April 2011 - 05:22 PM.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Mexican