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Jmahl

Making Tortillas at Home

174 posts in this topic

So, you want to make tortillas. Not these store bought pieces of cardboard that come in plastic packages but real, fragrant, soft, delicious fresh tortillas.

1. To start you need the following tools;

a. a bowl,

b. tortilla press

gallery_38003_3063_828767.jpg

c. cast iron comal

2. Supplies you need

a. Corn flour for tortillas (maseca) gallery_38003_3063_573752.jpg

b. Hot water

3. To begin making the dough (masa)

a. A cup and a half of maseca

b. Add hot water and blend with spatula under a dough is formed, blend with your hands gallery_38003_3063_438206.jpg

c. Heat the comal until medium hot and form masa into balls gallery_38003_3063_107072.jpgyou may perform your masa balls in a bowl gallery_38003_3063_338428.jpg

d. Place a plastic sheet on your tortilla press and place your masa ball in the center. gallery_38003_3063_1022119.jpg

Put plastic on top gallery_38003_3063_1126410.jpg

and press gently.

gallery_38003_3063_914369.jpg

e. Remove top plastic and carefully removed raw tortilla. gallery_38003_3063_555179.jpg

f. Place on comal that has been previously lightly greased with Crisco or manteca. gallery_38003_3063_562994.jpg

g. Turn over when after a very short while (you will learn with experience.) gallery_38003_3063_209193.jpg

h. The tortilla will begin to cook – look for spots of browning on bottom side and turn again.gallery_38003_3063_698672.jpg

i. The tortilla will begin to puff. gallery_38003_3063_561527.jpg

j. When puffed remove to plate gallery_38003_3063_334537.jpg

4. Repeat the process until all the masa is used up. Don’t eat all of your production – the aroma will drive your crazy. (don’t listen, eat with a little sea salt) (a tacito)

Now you need some Salsa Crudo and Guacamole estilo rancho Santa Fe del Pino.

1. Salsa,

a. Ingredients, 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, 3 roma tomatoes, half a small white onion and salt to taste.

b. in small fry pan cook with a small amount of oil peppers and tomatoes until skins are browned – remove, cool – skin and chop crudely.

c. Chop onion – sauté in small amount of oil and salt cook – add chopped tomato and peppers – add small amount of water. Cook short time (5 minutes)

2. Guacamole estilo Rancho Santa Fe del Pino.

a. Ripe Hess avocado, tomato, union, fresh cilantro pinch salt.

i. Chop tomato, union and cilantro gallery_38003_3063_699907.jpg, gallery_38003_3063_533930.jpg

ii. Cut avocado in half, seed and cut into squires gallery_38003_3063_254593.jpg

Scoop from skin

gallery_38003_3063_916840.jpg

iii. Blend ingredients gallery_38003_3063_31039.jpg

(no lemon and no pits to keep it from turning - It doesn't need it and won't last that long)

iv. Eat

To eat: grill some beef, slice, serve with hot fresh tortillas, salsa, guacamole, frijoles al la chara – wash down with Jose Curvo Tradicional or Mexican beer or both.

Live -

gallery_38003_3063_440892.jpg


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

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wow, nice demo! thank you!

i have to admit that i only make tortillas sometimes, when i'm feeling like doing something a little special. the rest of the time i get them from a tex-mex place here in town that makes pretty nice ones. but they're definitely way better homemade...

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This is incredible!

You have now convinced me I must purchase a tortilla press. :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I like to add a scant amount of salt straight to the masa when blending. And, if you don't have a comal you can just use a regular skillet.


Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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Nice picture set...

Any ideas on the likely reason my tortillas never puff up completely and evenly like the one in the photo? Temp, dough, pressing etc...???

I don't mix my own but buy premade masa at the local mexican markets and none of them ever get as puffy and as a result seem a bit dense. I have followed cooking directions from Bayless and Kennedy but neither have put me over the top to great tortillas.

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Now that I am seriously considering the tortilla press.... Is there a specific one I should be looking for? any good online sites someone can point me to?

Maseca

Is this a brand name? I have only found one source for this in Japan and I have to buy it in bulk, 10 (1kg) bags, I am not sure I am ready for 10kgs... I know that I have seen other flour like products labeled masa or masa harina are these the same thing?


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Nice picture set...

Any ideas on the likely reason my tortillas never puff up completely and evenly like the one in the photo?  Temp, dough, pressing etc...??? 

I don't mix my own but buy premade masa at the local mexican markets and none of them ever get as puffy and as a result seem a bit dense.  I have followed cooking directions from Bayless and Kennedy but neither have put me over the top to great tortillas.

Nathan:

Mexican wife says, temp. of comal is critical, not too hot, the first turn happens very early, no browning, just when tortilla starts to cook. To check, if tortilla slides on the comal it is ready to turn. Then you turn again when browning begins and it should puff.

Good luck

Jmahl


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

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Now that I am seriously considering the tortilla press.... Is there a specific one I should be looking for? any good online sites someone can point me to?

Maseca

Is this a brand name? I have only found one source for this in Japan and I have to buy it in bulk, 10 (1kg) bags, I am not sure I am ready for 10kgs... I know that I have seen other flour like products labeled masa or masa harina are these the same thing?

Dear Torakris:

Don't know of any online sites but press should be cast iron, not aluminium. I have seen some cheap ones from china and they are not very good. The press should be heavy.

To your question on Maseca. As pictured, yes, it is a brand name of a product made in Mexico that my wife prefers. However other brands of masa harina should work. My wife tell me that the use of hot water in the mix is critical.

Let us know.

Jmahl


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

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Yes, mine never puff out, either.

But when I've seen them made "live" at El Taco Tote, they are definitely first started on one section of the griddle, presumably at a lower temp, before being flipped and then moved to the hotter section where they almost immediately POOF out and start browning.

So, multiple cooking temps seems to be the key. I'll try it next time, but with my electric stove I think I'll have to use 2 burners rather than adjusting the temp on the fly....

Andrea

in Albuquerque

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Yes, mine never puff out, either.

But when I've seen them made "live" at El Taco Tote, they are definitely first started on one section of the griddle, presumably at a lower temp, before being flipped and then moved to the hotter section where they almost immediately POOF out and start browning.

So, multiple cooking temps seems to be the key.  I'll try it next time, but with my electric stove I think I'll have to use 2 burners rather than adjusting the temp on the fly....

Andrea

in Albuquerque

http://tenacity.net

Wife says its the timing not two temperatures. She has been making them from the time she was a child. She says, practice, practice, practice. - She also says that the prepared masa she has tried was too heavy and did not puff. Go know.

Good eating,

Jmahl


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

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Any chance of getting a similar tutorial for flour tortillas? My husband's dad used to make them and he is no longer alive---and we don't know how he did it ! I'd love to make some for my hubby for Father's Day :wub:

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Practice is definitely a factor for making good tortillas. It is not as easy as it looks until one gets the hang of the technique. One can make very good tortillas with the packaged masa, but not overwhelmingly great ones. For those, I think fresh ground masa may be necessary. Nevertheless the fresh tortillas will certainly beat the pre-packaged. Nice demo.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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I love making my own tortillas as well, but I can never get the shape or thickness right. Specifically, long before they are pressed thin enough, the edges crack such that I am left with something that hints at a rounded cross. It isn't completely that way, but far from round. I tried making a moister dough, thinking this would help, but then it just sticks to the plastic or wax paper and won't come off. Any suggestions?

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I use a large wood mesquite press and fresh, real masa as I'm lucky enough to have access to it. I press it once, then pick up the tortilla and two plastic sheets and flip them over and press again. I press firmly but gently. If I do this twice, it seems to even out the width. it can be too thick or thin on one end because of the hinges.

I use a very hot comal made of steel that gets an occasional wipe of oil and once the tortilla "sets", I immediatley flip it until the bottom gets some brown flecks. I flip it again and I get a good puff about 95% of the time. I cook until there are nice brown flecks.

I was getting weird bubbles that I thought were from too wet a dough but it turns out I was dropping the tortillas too haphazard when you should really roll them evenly abnd carefully on to the hot comal.


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

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Mmmmmm... Homemade tortillas are the shiznit! When we lived in China, my mom used to make them all the time, as it was a lot easier to just bring in a crap-load of masa than it was to drag in sub-par packaged tortillas from Hong Kong. She would have to make them when my sister and I weren't home because as soon as they'd come off the comal, we'd grab them and eat them quick like lightening! She could never get enough made for her enchiladas with us around!

Next time you make them, grab on hot off the griddle, slap some butter and salt on to it, roll it up, and praise god for the manna that is fresh tortillas with butter.


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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dockhi, flour tortillas are easy! Take a cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix it all together. Then chop in (or, if you're lazy like me, whir in with your food processor) a couple of tablespoons of -- yup -- lard. Then a quarter cup of water, maybe a bit more depending on the ambient humidity, and mix until you've got a nice ball of dough, which you then let rest wrapped in a paper bag for around a half-hour.

Get out your flour again, put a little on a board, heat up a non-stick frying pan, take a small ball of dough, toss it in the flour, bring it out and flatten it with your hand on the board. Then take a rolling pin and -- the only bit of zen in this whole process -- make sure you apply the pressure mostly towards the center of the tortilla. Peel it off, stick it on the frying pan, start the next one. It'll bubble in a little while, at which point turn it, but don't let it sit too long or you won't be able to fold it. Stick finished tortillas in foil (or a tortilla warmer if you have one) while you make the rest.

This makes me about six 5" or so tortillas for potato-and-egg tacos on Sunday morning.

Wish I could get decent masa here in Berlin, but I understand the EU has made it illegal.

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A couple more questions about the presses...

This site was very informative but I need more practical information.

What is the best size?

Can they be used with flour tortillas or even chapatis, or just with the corn tortillas?

The new cook off on crepes has me wanting a crepe pan as well, could tortillas be cooked in this? I really hate buying things that have only one purpose... :hmmm:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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A couple more questions about the presses...

This site was very informative but I need more practical information.

What is the best size?

Can they be used with flour tortillas or even chapatis, or just with the corn tortillas?

The new cook off on crepes has me wanting a crepe pan as well, could tortillas be cooked in this? I really hate buying things that have only one purpose... :hmmm:

I use a non-stick griddle, I don't think you need a special item like the comal. A cast iron skillet I think would work well, but something with low/no sides like a griddle will let you see the underside of the tortilla better to judge the cooking.

Gosh I didn't even know they were supposed to puff up! Better get cooking.... and see if I can get that to happen. But maybe next weekend - today I am working on my first empanadas.

Question for the experts here: does the freshness of the masa harina make a difference? I just wonder how long the bags have sat on the shelf at my grocer's in upstate New York. Is this a factor in the puffing up? (edited to add:) I'm sure the problem is my skill level, but I'd like to blame something else :wink:


Edited by mrsadm (log)

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[i use a non-stick griddle, I don't think you need a special item like the comal.  A cast iron skillet I think would work well, but something with low/no sides like a griddle will let you see the underside of the tortilla better to judge the cooking.

I think a cast iron is perfect. I keep hearing such bad things about non-stick at higher heats that it makes me a little nervous, although I don't know if it's been proven. If you get the cast iron, you can also pan roast chiles and slices of onion and bits of garlic, etc, which is handy.

I use a comal (steel and a ceramic one) but I love my toys.


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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A couple more questions about the presses...

This site was very informative but I need more practical information.

What is the best size?

Can they be used with flour tortillas or even chapatis, or just with the corn tortillas?

The new cook off on crepes has me wanting a crepe pan as well, could tortillas be cooked in this? I really hate buying things that have only one purpose... :hmmm:

to answer your second question: you can use a tortilla press for pretty much anything that needs to be pressed out that way. i saw martin yan use it to make dumpling wrappers one time.

and your third: if you have a relatively heavy steel crepe pan, i don't know why you couldn't use it. it seems like the thing has to be capable of holding a decent amount of heat, though, so probably a thin aluminum nonstick crepe pan wouldn't work as well. a cast iron skillet, or a griddle if you have one, works just fine, though.

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I learned to make flour tortillas when I was about 7 by watching our neighbor Lupe. After rolling with a short piece of dowel she would cook them directly on top of her wood range. Soooo good!

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"Question for the experts here: does the freshness of the masa harina make a difference? I just wonder how long the bags have sat on the shelf at my grocer's in upstate New York. Is this a factor in the puffing up? (edited to add:) I'm sure the problem is my skill level, but I'd like to blame something else :wink:"

Response,

Wife says, no, freshness is not a factor, however, the fresher the better. Check the date on the package.

Good Puffing,

Jmahl


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

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I learned to make flour tortillas when I was about 7 by watching our neighbor Lupe. After rolling with a short piece of dowel she would cook them directly on top of her wood range. Soooo good!

BarbaraY:

Have you ever tried whole wheat flour tortillas? SOOO Good. If you haven't you should.

Jmahl


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

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The new cook off on crepes has me wanting a crepe pan as well, could tortillas be cooked in this? I really hate buying things that have only one purpose... :hmmm:

I make crepes in a small cast iron fry pan and it works just fine. Because of the heavier weight, it took some practice to get the batter swirled across the bottom evenly.

Jim

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Ok so I just made corn tortillas for the first time using this very helpful guide and they turned out pretty well. By the time I made my last tortilla I had something of a setup going. I had a 10-inch fairly well seasoned cast iron frying pan well heated on medium heat. I would take a piece of masa dough and roll it into a 1-inch diamater ball before flattening it into a patty and placing it in the tortilla press. I would then place the tortilla in the pan and flip as soon as it would slide freely, I would then cook it on that side for about a minute before flipping it, at which point it would puff up immediately.

Sounds ok right? It seemed pretty good to me but I still have some question I am hoping someone can help me with. The biggest problem for me seemed to be aesthetics. My dough seemed to crack very easily and I was never able to press out a very uniform, clean looking tortilla. I am also curious as to whether or not the indentations in Jmahl's picture (the one just before the masa ball is pressed) serve a purpose. I would very much like to one be able to turn out pretty tortillas like that. The other things were that my seemed to pick up a few more brown spots than the tortillas in the demo, and they never puffed quite so voluminously all the way out to the edges of the tortilla.

Anyone have any advice/tips or detailed information that might help me solve these problems? A detailed description of pressing (I know, I know it's simple but any information at all is usually helpful to me) would be great.

Happy tortilla making!

gabe

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