Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

Big batch for a dinner party tomorrow: 18 hour soak, a bit less water, and went a bit longer with the grinding than before. I'm also letting the masa sit in the fridge overnight for the first time, so that I can make the tortillas fresh tomorrow just before dinner (and after work). I should let it come to room temp before pressing and cooking the tortillas, yes?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Oh: the answer is, indeed, Yes.

Just back from Tucson, where I cajoled a local tortilleria to part with an entire bag of corn. A 50 pound bag:

CORN!.jpg

Bought some Ziplok bags, loaded up the carry-ons, and now the whole sack is at home less a few kernels from one burst bag. (Insert smuggling jokes here.)

So, way back uptopic, esperanza wrote:

And I have a question: what are the dark yellow flecks in your masa and in that tortilla? The flecks look like pieces of very coarsely ground corn. I've never seen that kind of fleck in any tortillas in Mexico, or even in the USA.

Now that I have this batch, I can answer this definitively. The corn that I have been using included what's known as the tip cap, the pointy part of the kernel. Most of these kernels do not have those dark tip caps; instead, they seem to have been broken off.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

I'm a Texan recently removed to Rome, and I'm feeling an increasing need for several masa based dishes. Looking at this thread and elsewhere, it seems to me that the choke-point here will be the grinding. I'm pretty sure I can't get a Mexican corn grinder, but I do have access to a general-purpose (meat) grinder. There was some brief discussion above, but it didn't look to me like anyone had actually tried this. Any help?

Andrew

Andrew Riggsby

ariggsby@mail.utexas.edu

Link to post
Share on other sites

'm afraid that it doesn't work at all. The worm in a meat grinder depends on the elasticity and flexibility of muscle, which nixtamal doesn't have. In addition, the nixtamal needs to be repeatedly ground down with a crushing, not cutting, action.

Break out your metate!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I have been making fresh masa for tortillas at home in Melbourne, Australia, for a few weeks now and can post some pictures if there is still any interest given the length of this thread.

Although we do not have many Mexican grocers here, I have sourced both yellow and white dried field corn: the former from an African supplier at our local market, and the later from the pet food store.

I am using slaked lime sourced from a Thai grocer (similar to that referred to in the excellent blog in the previous post).

I have been using Alton Brown's nixtamalisation technique which seems pretty standard. Having read the previous post I will try and refine it and post the results.

Grinding, of course, is the biggest challenge. I agree that Alton Brown's suggested use of a food processor for tortilla masa is laughable. My solution is a hand operated Messershmidt steel cone grinder. Grinding with the hand crank was hard work so I motorised the unit using a 1/3 hp motor with a pulley wheel and belt that slows it to about 125 rpm. It is necessary to firmly push the corn down into the grinder but with the motor going this is easy work. The results are splendid. The grinder also works very well for dosa and idli batter.

The resulting tortillas have wonderful flavour that beat, hands-down, packaged factory tortillas and even tortillas made freshly from masa harina.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I should also note, in response to some previous posts, that Rick Bayless is adamant that neither the nixtamalising corn or the finished product should be refrigerated at any stage and certainly not frozen. He says that fresh masa kept at room temperature, as it should be, perishes within 12 hours. Therefore I start the process 25 - 36 hours before I want tortillas: 24 hours for nixtamalisation and 1 - 12 hour sitting time for the masa. Bayless is also adamant that tortillas can be made a few hours in advance and then reheated (using a steamer and teatowl). However I find that they are best used straight away after they have been cooked and allowed to sit to "steam" briefly whilst wrapped in a tea towel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One more post whilst I am on a roll ...

As well as torillas, I have successfully made excellent tostaditas using my fresh masa. I was mindful of Bayless's warning that home made tortillas generally do not deep fry well because they are too thick and just soak up all the oil. In this limited sense, so he says, factory tortillas are better suited to the purpose. With full size tortillas I have found this to be true.

After some experimentation I found that by using smaller quantities of mases (10g instead of the 40g I use for a full size torilla) I get an 8cm disk that comes out of the tortilla press thinner than a full size tortilla and deep fries beautifully, bubbling and puffing up in the middle. They can be done in advance, sprinkled with powdered sea salt and reheated in the oven without losing their crispiness. They make great tostaditas or corn chips.

A little labor-intensive, but worth the effort if you are really trying to impress.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A note about tostadas... my dad is a master tostada maker... it is a serious art in the Highlands of Jalisco where the small plate epitome is a tostada of pickled pork feet & skin.

The secret to making tostadas from hand made tortillas is to peel a thin layer of "skin"... typically you are working with day old tortillas... you let them soak in salted water and this will release a thin layer of skin on the surface which you peel by hand then find a clean place to dry the peeled tortillas in the sun. It is a multi day process.

This is not just a more laborious way of making a thinner tortilla... the resulting texture is fantastic & superior to just making thinner tortillas or buying factory made. This procedure is also used for making superior taquitos or flautas (which are also a specialty in that region)

Those of you with access to a Mexican grocer can save alot of time & effort by asking for Tortillas Raspadas... I can even get them here in Hawaii!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 7 months later...

Rancho Gordo, did you ever your get heirloom varieties available for mail order sale?

We're importing heirloom corn for tortilla production and I've considered offering it but I'm really concerned that people will confuse it with the prepared hominy and just try and cook it. We also grow a variety originally form Jalisco, here in California.

Do you think there's a consumer market for it?

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you think there's a consumer market for it?

Seriously, I'm totally unqualified to judge that.

However if there were some way of measuring the people who own the Ultra Pride+, the Nixtamatic and mano y metates, I'd suggest multiplying those figures by 5%, 100% and 20% respectively. That might give a general idea of the market... :smile:

Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI... if you have a little extra masa that you don't want to freeze... make sure you make Tejuino (soured masa beverage) or something else of you inspiration.. there are quite a few very interesting savory indigenious made with soured masa... that of course are still seen as backward in mainstream Mexico... but will probably be on the menus at Izote in a few decades :laugh: (beat the trend people!)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Just got 25 more pounds from Tucson -- thank you, my dear wife -- and have been on a tortilla binge. As noted elsewhere, a wetter, thinner round of dough will, indeed, make a puffy tortilla one out of five or ten. Tough to handle that very wet dough, however....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...

I live in Tucson so it's easy for me to get prepared masa just a few blocks from my home. But, being a food nerd, that is not enough. I can also buy nixtamal at the corner grocery, so of course I did.

In a test batch using equipment at hand , 1 pass through the KA coarse meat grinder plate, 1 pass with KA finer meat grinder plate, 1 pass through Rosle food mill second finest disc (2mm), and 1 final pass through the Rosle food mill finest disc (1mm) yields PERFECT tortilla masa, no extra water needed. That being said, it'll take you 3 days to get 3 lbs of nixtamal through that last pass.  (I gave up after two tortillas worth, but oh my they were good!)

SO -

I'm thinking about one of the hand mills, but am wondering if they really grind fine enough for proper tortillas.

Of course, I could have a local tortilleria grind my own nixtamal, but that's no fun, plus can't be done when the mood strikes at odd hours...

Thoughts on the Estrella, Corona, and Victoria grinders?  (Trying to not allow myself to buy a nixtamatic... no no no....)

Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

Well, OK a revivial if you will? I have been through all this (upstream) in my head for a good long while. I really want to just make some masa from Nixtamal and good tortillas. Thing is other than the promise of a hand mill (that typically don't do wet well) there's nothing that works better than say a metate, and even they aren't really "good" new until they are broken in for a bunch (1k) uses.

 

So we have the Nixatamatic. Do the search you will see what I am talking about. Rancho Gordo has one that they brought back and like it and a few others in the states that are into this whole thing.

 

So just saying, long story short. I was finally able to import a Nixtamatic. Got mine today. The unit cost was about 300 US the shipping was about 200 US (ouch), basically 505USD with shipping, but that's just the way it is.

 

Cool thing is it only took from Wednesday to Thursday for it to get to me from Mexico to my house in PA. Unpacked and fired it up today. Haven't made any masa with it yet but going to give it a go in the next couple weeks once I figure out what/best dent or flint corn to try, get the cal and soak some corn.

 

I assume that I can freeze fresh nixtamal and masa without too much degradation (let me know?). Comments welcome. If you have a solid start recipe for the corn soak and then post grind masa (add water, words on feel texture) that would be awesome. I know that I will need to adjust grind/pull tops from the kernals as required for tortilla/empenada/tamale etc to get coarsness right. Any help from the hand made community would be great.

 

I would be willing to work out a group buy if folks are interested. I don't really want to make any money of this - seriously. I just know that the hand crank food mill thing doesn't work so much. The hand cranks aren't really good for wet corn/nixtamal. Ight seem strange but the company never responds to emails. I foung a firm in Mexico that will single unit ship for now but I think I could work a quantity buy. None speak english, the shipping can get strange due to customs and the fact that you become an importer per se. Easier to reduce costs with a group purchase is all I'm saying.

 

So that's the promise - I'm really not looking to sell anything. I have no personal interest in making anything ($) other than giving back to this site if it helps. I would just want to recoup expenses.

 

If there are 20 folks that want one let me know. I'll let you know what the figures look like.

 

If things work out, maybe move this thread to a group buy, etc. And if it doesn't - still going to poke you folks for tips on masa  texture for tortilla/empanada/tamale.

 

Ray

Edited by rbenash (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi rbenash!
 

I assume that I can freeze fresh nixtamal and masa without too much degradation (let me know?). Comments welcome.


I believe that assumption is incorrect if you plan to make tortillas. I have never had any success freezing fresh nixtamal or masa and then using it for tortillas, with a vacuum sealer and deep freeze. I know it's sold frozen at Mexican markets in the US southwest, but it's my sense that it's for tamales, not tortillas. YMMV.
 

If you have a solid start recipe for the corn soak and then post grind masa (add water, words on feel texture) that would be awesome.

 

For tortillas, I follow Diana Kennedy's model roughly: two rounded tablespoons of pickling lime/cal added to the corn and cold water in a large stock pot, brought to ~160-170F (bubbles on surface, she says), then covered to sit for 18-24 hours. I rinse very well then grind to a Play Doh consistency: a tiny bit firmer than a sugar cookie dough but not as stiff as a fresh pasta dough. I've found that you want it as wet as you can without making it tacky or sticky, which will make your tortilla pressing a real PITA. 

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahh - thanks Chris. I have a couple of Kennedy's books coming so looks like I should be able to figure out basic recipe and your notes on consistancy should be quite helpful.

Was wondering about the freezing thing for fresh nixtamal and masa from other posts on the net. Your comments bring me back to my original reservations that freezing either is probably not a good thing. Better to make up a pound or so of nixtamal/masa and make up into whaterver use as required. Start over with the next batch and don't depend on freezing anything. I have a semi commercial chamber and external bag sealer so always wanting to leverage those  if it works :-)

Edited by rbenash (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

At this point, for me freezing would have few benefits, and fresh has many. Indeed, I usually make too many tortillas given that they are remarkably inexpensive: if you can get access to large (50 pound) bags of corn, which typically cost less than a buck a pound in AZ, then the product costs are quite low. While the time/effort costs aren't minor, they involve a lot of unattended time, and if you get good at the process and do a bit of planning ahead it's pretty easy to make a 1-2 dozen batch as needed. 

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By gulfporter
      Grilled fish recipe from Mexico. 
       
      Pescado Zarendeado
       
      4 large dried ancho chiles 2 dried chiles de arból (omit if you prefer a milder sauce) ½ small onion, chopped 8 ounces canned tomato sauce 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 3 tablespoons Ponzu sauce (or substitute ½ soy sauce, ½ lime juice) 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon salt ½ cup mayonnaise 2 kilos Pargo blanco or red snapper (huachinango) one 2-kilo fish or two 1-kilo fish. Butterflied from the belly out.  Remove and discard the stems and seeds from chiles. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover completely with boiling water and then soak for 40 minutes.
      Remove the chiles and place in a food processor with ½ cup of the soaking liquid, the onion, tomato sauce, garlic, Ponzu, Worcestershire and the salt. Process until very smooth. Sieve the mixture into a bowl, then add the mayonnaise and blend.
      Set aside 2/3 cup of the blended sauce to serve with the cooked fish. The rest will be used to prepare the fish for the grill.
      Slather the flesh-side of the fish with the sauce and then place, skin-side down on a hot charcoal or gas grill. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the fish. (About 15 minutes for a one-kilo snapper on my gas grill at medium-high, lid closed).
      Place cooked fish on a large platter; use a spoon to remove the flesh.
      Serve with fresh tortillas and pickled onions. Pass the reserved sauce.
      Pickled Red Onions
      Thinly slice a medium red onion into a glass bowl, toss with the juice of a large lime, one or two finely minced serrano chiles and ¼ teaspoon salt. Best if marinated overnight in the fridge.
    • By cyalexa
      Salsa Para Enchiladas  
      3 ancho chiles
      2 New Mexico chiles
      2 chipotle chiles
      1 clove garlic, sliced
      2 TB flour
      2 TB vegetable oil
      1 tsp vinegar
      ¾ tsp salt
      ¼ tsp dried oregano
      2 cups broth, stock, or (filtered) chili soaking liquid
      Rinse, stem and seed chiles. Place in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover and remove from heat and let soften and cool. While the chiles are cooling, gently sauté garlic slices in oil until they are soft and golden brown. Remove the garlic from the oil, with a slotted spoon and reserve. Make a light roux by adding the flour to the oil and sautéing briefly. Drain the chilies and puree them with the garlic slices and half of the liquid. Strain the puree back into the saucepan. Pour the remainder of the liquid through the sieve to loosen any remaining chili pulp. Add the roux to the saucepan and whisk to blend. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, bring to a boil then and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and vinegar if necessary.
    • By Kasia
      My quesadilla
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for a dish which meets holiday requirements. It is easy, and it doesn't need sophisticated ingredients or an oven. A frying pan is enough. Quesadilla, the dish in question, is a tortilla with melted cheese. The rest of the ingredients you choose at your discretion. Red beans, pepper, chorizo or fried meat all work brilliantly. I added fried pieces of turkey leg. Thanks to this, my dish could be a holiday dinner.

      Ingredients (for 2 people)
      4 tortillas
      300g of turkey leg
      half a chili pepper
      half an onion
      1 clove of garlic
      2 tablespoons of oil
      200g of tinned sweetcorn
      200g of tinned red beans
      fresh pepper
      200g of mozzarella cheese
      salt and pepper

      Cube the meat. Fry the diced onion, garlic and chili pepper in oil. Add the spiced-up-with-salt-and-pepper meat and fry on a low heat until the meat is soft. Cube the pepper. Drain the sweetcorn and red beans and slice the mozzarella cheese. Put the tortilla into a dry, heated pan. Arrange the meat, sweetcorn and red beans on it. Cover with the slices of the mozzarella cheese and the second tortilla. Fry on a low heat for a while. Turn it and fry a bit more until the cheese has melted. Put it on a plate and cut it into triangles.

      Enjoy your meal!
       
       
       

    • By Pierogi
      Mexican Rice
      Serves 4 as Side.

      1 T olive oil
      1 small onion, finely chopped
      2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
      1-1/2 c long-grain rice
      3 c low-salt chicken broth or stock
      2 med-size tomatoes (about 12 oz total), chopped
      1 can (4&1/2 oz) chopped green chilies
      1 tsp chili powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp pepper
      1/2 c fresh chopped cilantro
      1/2 c pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced

      Heat oil in 4-quart saucepan over med-high heat until hot. (Make sure you use a large enough pot, I tried to make it fit into a 3&1/2 quart pot and it was very tight). Add onion & garlic, cook until soft. Add rice, and stir well, cook, stirring occasionally, until rice toasts a bit and turns golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, and S&P. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until rice is done, about 25 min. You may have some liquid still left.
      Turn off heat and stir in cilantro and olives, Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
      Keywords: Side, Rice, Mexican, Easy
      ( RG2089 )
    • By chardgirl
      Greens Tacos
      I like to make these for breakfast or lunch: I try to eat dark leafy greens most days one way or another.

      3/4 lb greens, cleaned well and sliced into approximate 1 inch pieces (today I used arugula and radish greens, leaving the radish ‘roots' in the fridge to be munched on later. the greens are good to eat, but
      2 tsp cooking oil
      2 stalks green garlic, cleaned as a leek and chopped, or another allium family, whatever you have on hand (onion, green onion, garlic, leek.....)

      Pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne
      2 T cream cheese
      4 small corn tortillas or 2-3 larger flour ones

      Heat the oil and add the garlic, having the greens ready to go, and cook garlic for about 30 seconds. Then add greens and cook until bright green and wilted, add red pepper (and salt and black pepper if you like). Take off heat and stir in cream cheese. Heat tortillas, divide filling among them. Eat and enjoy.
      Keywords: Vegetables, Easy, Vegetarian
      ( RG1521 )
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...