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Making Fresh Masa


bimbojones
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I made a batch of tortillas for the in-laws using the UltraPride last weekend and turned to this topic as they were the best batch yet. I think it is because I was less worried about adding water to the grinding bin than I have been in the past. Steve, in the video, you seem to say (around 1:30) that you "add a little..." -- and then get cut off. Are you adding water, too? I probably used well less than 1 c total for at least five pounds of masa (from two pounds dried corn), but it significantly helped with the grinding.

Chris Amirault

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No worries. I think that I needed to make a moister masa than I thought previously.

Oh, and for the Ultra Pride users out there, if you sprinkle in 5-10 pieces of corn at the start of a cycle, let them get crushed, and then add the rest slowly, you can avoid the pre-grinding in a mortar.

Chris Amirault

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In this case, they were very easy to handle. Here's the data on whatever variables I noticed:

-- About an 18 hour soak in the lime water.

-- Rinsed very well, during which most of the loose coating on the corn came off (and stuck to my wire-mesh colander...).

-- I definitely ground the masa more finely than in the past.

-- After grinding, I wrapped the masa and let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours before rolling out the little golf balls.

Chris Amirault

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  • 1 month later...

So my new gig is importing corn along with the beans from our Rancho Gordo/Xoxoc Project. It's all heirloom varieties and we're buying the corn at a high price to make it more practical for smaller indigenous farmers to grow their heritage varieties instead of hybrids or GMOs. Without a lot of preaching, everybody wins (which is my new mantra.)

Anyway, we had the corn stuck at the border for weeks because it was heirloom! It finally arrived and we finally made our first tortillas:

IMG_4244.JPG

IMG_4246.JPG

Initially, the corn was too fresh and moist for the tortilla machine so we had to wait.

IMG_4263.JPG

The finished product!

This was white corn but the results are much darker than normal. We rinsed the cal and there was no nasty chemical aftertaste (like the lurid yellow "organic" ones you see at certain stores.) Most Mexican wouldn't be thrilled with this color but I don't think my customers will care, especially when they taste them. We also have pallets of red and black corn waiting for experimentation.

The cool thing is we have this corn, plus an heirloom from Jalisco that we grow here in California.

We are still months away from commercial availability, should you be wondering!

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Rancho Gordo - I was going to click "like" but then I noticed this wasn't Facebook.

Chris, if you are still experimenting - have you tried using lukewarm water and letting the dough rest 10-15 minutes before pressing?

EDIT: Yeah I need to look at the rest of the thread before replying.

Edited by Dakki (log)

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Actually, Dakki, I thought of you today when I defrosted the other half of the masa I made in June. It was very crumbly, so I moistened it (a bit too much; had to add a few Ts fine ground corn flour to get the proper dough consistency), kneaded it, and let it rest for about an hour to rehydrate. They turned out great.

Chris Amirault

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IMG_4263.JPG

The finished product!

This was white corn but the results are much darker than normal. We rinsed the cal and there was no nasty chemical aftertaste (like the lurid yellow "organic" ones you see at certain stores.) Most Mexican wouldn't be thrilled with this color but I don't think my customers will care, especially when they taste them. We also have pallets of red and black corn waiting for experimentation.

The cool thing is we have this corn, plus an heirloom from Jalisco that we grow here in California.

We are still months away from commercial availability, should you be wondering!

Steve, now you are just tormenting us. That is Evil. Talk about food porn...

Don't worry about what they cost. Charge anything you want. Just start shipping them soon!

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Sorry Chris, I asked around and nobody I know freezes nixtamal dough. Some people actually gave me a funny look... anyway I was told you can keep the prepared dough 1 or 2 days in the refrigerator, tops, before it turns nasty.

On the other hand I've seen tamal recipes online that allow for freezing the dough if you make it beforehand. They don't specify any special method for defrosting but as you know tamales are cooked in moist heat, unlike tortillas on the comal.

(Firefox spellchecker chokes on tamal but swallows tamale(s). How screwed up is that?)

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I thought I read in one of Kennedy's books that you were supposed to freeze it if you weren't going to use it within a day or two? I don't quite understand the physics of what might be happening bad to the masa when frozen, anyone have any guesses (or actual knowledge!) ?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Just back from Chiapas (which is sadly about 100% Maseca).

I think real masa is like a living dough. ONce you freeze it, you might as well use Maseca.

When you hear about it going bad in a day or two, I think it's in Mexico, at room temp, out of the fridge. I think it keeps about 5 days or so.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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There is a way to liven up the dried maseca masa harina that works well for tamales- I've always wondered if it would work for tortillas. I haven't replaced my broken tortilla press, so I can't say I could be the guinea pig but- simmer corn kernels in milk, then puree them and some of the milk in a blender and add it to the maseca when you are making the tamale dough. More than anything else it just adds a more prominent corn flavor to the final product. I'd be inclined to think of it as an 'intermediate' method if you can't make fresh masa yourself.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Just regular sweet corn, like you'd get at a grocery store, cut off of the cob (cooked first). It's from Mark Miller' Coyote Cafe cookbook. I know there is a difference, but it makes for a tasty tamale, I've always been curious about adapting it for tortillas; I don't like the ones I've made with masa harina. Plus, I can get good ones at local taqueria/fondas, fairly fresh, so I haven't really been driven to replacing the broken press.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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I get it, it's sorta like these tamales, which had a bit of sweet corn pureed in the blender and added to the masa. They were an interesting tamale, very different from the more conventional varieties. Next time I'm feeling adventurous maybe I'll try to make tortillas the same way.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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A little too free with the water, so the masa was a bit sticky. Otherwise a successful batch of tortillas. One more note: when I was grinding up each successive batch of corn, I left a bit of the previous batch in, which enabled me to drop handfuls and not single kernels into the Ultra Pride at a time.

Chris Amirault

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  • 2 weeks later...

I froze a few of the leftover tortillas, carefully sealing them in a FoodSaver bag, defrosting them in a hot water bath, and then giving them a few seconds on the comal. The texture was shot: they were pretty tough. No more freezing tortillas.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Wish me luck. Tomorrow at the farmers market we're introducing our tortillas made with fresh masa made from heirloom corn. It's been a long journey and I think it's going to have a happy ending! Once we get a little more stable, we'll offer the corn online so you can make your own masa, should you choose!

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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