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Jmahl

Making Tortillas at Home

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Jmahl   

My resident expert her says she uses a little oil on a piece of paper towel and swabs the cast iron comal every third or fourth tortilla when they show that they want to stick. Also no thermometer here, just the open hand over the comal until it feels right - it’s hot. Chris - looking good.

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Clean towel folded around the tortillas and put on a plate here.

Can everyone specify whether they use nixtamal or masa harina? I'm interested to know which techniques are better suited to which masa.

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I also buy bags of "fresh" masa... one brand I am pretty sure is Maseca (white corn) the other nixtamal (yellow corn with lots of kernel in it)... honestly the techniques work identically for my setup.

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The last time I tried, mine seemed much too thick. I do think the dough was too dry, but looking at the press, there is a fair bit of space back at the hinge. Is this likely to be a cook problem, or a press problem?

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The last time I tried, mine seemed much too thick. I do think the dough was too dry, but looking at the press, there is a fair bit of space back at the hinge. Is this likely to be a cook problem, or a press problem?

I press my tortillas between two ceramic dishes... try that.. if they are still too thick then maybe your dough is too dry.

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MelissaH   

The last time I tried, mine seemed much too thick. I do think the dough was too dry, but looking at the press, there is a fair bit of space back at the hinge. Is this likely to be a cook problem, or a press problem?

I usually press mine, then open the press, rotate the tortilla half a turn, and press again to take care of any unevenness at the hinge end.

MelissaH

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I do the same, but only if I'm having issues. When I do several dozen in a row I feel like I get into a groove where I can press it pretty evenly on the first go and not have to do it again.

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Jmahl   

Tonight, April 6th at the Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen we are holding a free workshop on the making of Tortillas. If you are in the Del Rio Texas area come by from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. For more information check out the Del Rio Council for the Arts web site or the Facebook page under the name Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen. Its a hard place to get to but worth the trip. Look for photos tomorrow.

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I was waiting in line at a very busy puesto preparing tacos at the Maxwell Street market in Chicago just this last weekend. While waiting I watched with interest as the tortillera did her work. Her tortillas, not surprisingly, puffed every time. I never saw her put oil on the comal but I did notice that, when a tortilla stuck in a certain area of the comal, she'd wipe it clean with a damp towel and then proceed with the next tortilla.

She made the whole process look so easy. I suppose it becomes second nature when you've been doing it for years!

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Jmahl   

I was waiting in line at a very busy puesto preparing tacos at the Maxwell Street market in Chicago just this last weekend. While waiting I watched with interest as the tortillera did her work. Her tortillas, not surprisingly, puffed every time. I never saw her put oil on the comal but I did notice that, when a tortilla stuck in a certain area of the comal, she'd wipe it clean with a damp towel and then proceed with the next tortilla.

She made the whole process look so easy. I suppose it becomes second nature when you've been doing it for years!

Based on the advise of my resident expert I'll bet the damp towel was damp with vegetable oil.

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Meet the Rolls Royce of tortilla presses:

524038_10150783153178606_25415388605_9521165_285970807_n.jpg

522849_10150783153093606_25415388605_9521162_1820897902_n.jpg

I just got it. I'll find out the name of the wood next week, but it's some exotic wood that doesn't grow north of Michoacan. It's very heavy and every inch seems detailed. I am smitten although I haven't made a single tortilla, yet.

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heidih   

I am smitten as well. Lust and coveting going on here. Eager to learn how it performs.

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That's beautiful RG. I have two bowls carved from Mexican liquidamber heartwood that is the same color - it's a very hard wood and I got one of the bowls in Chiapas forty years ago and the other in Taxco in 1985.

The red heartwood often shows a "flame" pattern in the grain and also has a natural satiny sheen that is not seen in many bare woods. Rosewood, African blackwood, tulipwood also exhibit this effect.

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IowaDee   

The wood looks a lot like iron wood as well. I have several items carved from that. They are far more

heavy than you would expect. I bought the carvings in Mazatlan, Mexico. I too am anxious to see the results

from the stunning press.

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It works like a charm. I normally have to flip them to get an even press but it's not needed here.

It weighs 5.25 pounds. The wood is either granadillo or cueramo. I'm still waiting to hear.

It's true love.

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Just got this in from my friend who got it for me:

The common name in english and almost all around the world is Cocobolo. But in Mexico, you know, sometimes we feel as the center of the world, is called Madera de Granadillo, because colour is somewhat like redish... like pommegranate juice: Granada.

Scientific name of this three is Dalbergia retusa, it's important because there are many varietis of Dalbergia family but the most appreciate is the retusa one.

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Jmahl   

A thing of beauty.

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Lior   

mine never ever puffed!

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I don't think we should get obesessed about the puffing. It's possible to make delicious tortillas that don't puff.

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It works like a charm. I normally have to flip them to get an even press but it's not needed here.

It weighs 5.25 pounds. The wood is either granadillo or cueramo. I'm still waiting to hear.

It's true love.

I just checked mine, it weighed in at a hefty 7 pounds 9 ounces!

Whatever it weighs, it is a thing of beauty.

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Made my first-ever batch of flour tortillas on the weekend. So easy and so good. The recipe I used called for a touch of baking powder (1/2 tsp to 500g of flour); I assume that's just insurance to help them puff. And puff they did!

Flour tortillas.jpg

I cooked up some chorizo and eggs, and made some pico de gallo, and served with avocado slices and sour cream. Best brunch I've had in a while.

Breakfast Burrito.jpg

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