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.

Making Tortillas at Home


AlainV
 Share

Recommended Posts

Thanks Anna and Andie for your replies. I am going to have to do a bit more research on this product before I get into trying to attempt making corn tortillas. I will have a look at some of our maize flours sold here (they are a staple food in our black population). I will get back to you once I have enlightened myself a bit more.

Cape Town - At the foot of a flat topped mountain with a tablecloth covering it.

Some time ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don't let Kevin Bacon die.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, JohnT said:

Thanks Anna and Andie for your replies. I am going to have to do a bit more research on this product before I get into trying to attempt making corn tortillas. I will have a look at some of our maize flours sold here (they are a staple food in our black population). I will get back to you once I have enlightened myself a bit more.

 

My best friend, who grew up with Mexican food but spent her professional life in Africa (most recently in Capetown) says that she could never find what we think of as corn tortillas in Africa. The masa flavor was missing. We recently had a spirited exchange over what constitutes a "proper" enchilada because I'd made mine with flour tortillas, and to her tastes they didn't have the right flavor. Flour tortillas are similar to the simple flour rounds she could get there, but the masa/corn tortillas have a flavor all their own.

 

In order to make masa, the corn needs to be treated ("nixtamalized"). The process is discussed in this topic: Making Fresh Masa although the first few posts are so old that the photos are lost.

Edited by Smithy
Spelling and, I hope, clarity (log)
  • Like 1

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was almost too ashamed to post, but since a friend at work inquired how my tortillas were coming along, I had to confess:

 

Last night I made a batch of masa from Bob's Red Mill masa harina using the water ratio from Okanagancook rather than from Diana Kennedy.  The more moist masa was a little more difficult to press but on the plus side the edges of the tortillas didn't crack.  There still wasn't much in the way of puffing.  The first victim puffed slightly.  None others that I could see.

 

The problem came as I was determined to increase the temperature to achieve some char and puffing.  Previously for tortillas I had used my Teflon coated DeLonghi griddle.  The DeLonghi goes only to 450 F.  I posses neither comal nor plancha.  I have a Le Creuset cast iron griddle that is totally unusable on my current glass top stove.  What to do?  I dragged out my largest piece of Falk, an 11 inch copper skillet and set it to medium heat, half way between off and high.  My surface thermapen measures only to 572 F so I could not tell the temperature.  Until I obtain a better probe I am out of luck.  The tortillas blackened nicely -- but as I said, they didn't puff.  Tasted OK.

 

The real problem was when it came time to clean the Falk.  Half an hour with Bar Keeper's Friend and twice that with Mississippi punch till the pans* looked again like copper.  Still a bit black in places.

 

 

*depending if one is seeing double.

 

  • Like 1

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That’s Weird because with the mix I use I would say 95% puff.  Humm.  Maybe master tortilla maker Chris Hennes can come to our rescue?  I cannot offer help except it must be the temperature of your pan.  Did you do 30, 60, 30 seconds with pressing on top?

 

i use the masa flour pictured above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

That’s Weird because with the mix I use I would say 95% puff.  Humm.  Maybe master tortilla maker Chris Hennes can come to our rescue?  I cannot offer help except it must be the temperature of your pan.  Did you do 30, 60, 30 seconds with pressing on top?

 

i use the masa flour pictured above.

 

Yes, 30, 60, 30, more or less.

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't worry too much about the puffing. It's nice but you can have an excellent tortilla without it. 
When mixing the masa harina, I just keep adding water until it has an almost play dough texture. And then I let it rest just so the flour can absorb all the liquid, maybe 10 minutes. I don't know if this is really needed. 
If the dough is too sticky, just add some more masa harina until it has the right consistency. 

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 comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

Maybe the pan was too hot.  In the video, Chris says he uses 550F.

 

It probably was.  Hard to measure temperature though when you are about at the limit of your thermometer.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tonight I was planning to reheat the rest of the previous batch of tortillas.  But I tasted one and it was acrid.  It looked acrid.  And that is being charitable.  So using the ratio from @Okanagancook I prepared another batch to the consistency of play masa, if you will.  I pressed and then grilled the tortillas on my DeLonghi.  The DeLonghi has a sear function that heats to 490 F for a short period of time.

 

One tortilla even had a little puff but all were delicious.  There were no leftovers.  And there was no mess.

 

  • Like 2

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
On ‎4‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 1:54 AM, Okanagancook said:

Making tortilla soup from the lunch thread.  You could try using your unwelcome tortillas by slicing them about 1/4 in h and then frying them until crispy.  A nice soup topping or just munching.

 

What is "1/4 in h"?  "1/4 inch"?  "1/4 in half"?

 

I made up another batch of masa by your method, which works wonderfully.  A couple things I've learned:  the masa comes together easily by hand, no need to use a food processor.  (Sometimes I overthink things.)  Masa this moist sticks wretchedly to the heavy vacuum bags I'd been using in the press but comes right off from ordinary food wrap.

 

The plan was use my new high temperature surface probe to calibrate my copper Falk.  I ran out of energy and defaulted to the DeLonghi grill.  Like last time, on sear I got puffing and a little char.  But "sear" is good only for one tortilla at best.  The rest of the batch on 450F came out OK but no puff or char.

 

I'd like to try frying the leftovers.  Any further hints?

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Getting a consistent puff can be tricky.  I have found the right setting on my Wolfe through trial and error.  I cook 30 sec on one side, flip and cook 60 sec, flip and cook 30 sec pressing down on the edges with towel to help the puff.  Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

Getting a consistent puff can be tricky.  I have found the right setting on my Wolfe through trial and error.  I cook 30 sec on one side, flip and cook 60 sec, flip and cook 30 sec pressing down on the edges with towel to help the puff.  Good luck.

 

Yes I use 30, 60, 30 seconds.  I'm pretty sure it's just that the DeLonghi does not get hot enough.  (Though it sure is convenient.)  Eventually I'll have to drag out the heavy pan and the thermometer.

 

Meanwhile, after telling me repeatedly they don't carry any brand of masa besides Bob's, I found three other brands of masa on the shelf in the flour section of the local Shoprite.  Not sure how to choose, I brought home a bag of Masa Brosa Harina de Maiz, Masa Instantanea de Maiz.  Is this the right stuff?  Is it a good brand?  It smells good.  Kennedy calls for Quaker, which I have never seen.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Getting a consistent puff can be tricky.  I have found the right setting on my Wolfe through trial and error.  I cook 30 sec on one side, flip and cook 60 sec, flip and cook 30 sec pressing down on the edges with towel to help the puff.  Good luck.

BD21C9E4-8D9F-48F2-A180-7F60058F84CB.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

This is the only stuff I can get.

 

Maseca was one of the four brands I saw tonight at Shoprite.  Somewhere, in some thread, I thought I read someone was not happy with it.

 

 

Edit:  one thing I noticed, Masa Brosa seems to fly off the shelves since I first saw it a few days ago, compared to other brands.  This area has a large Mexican American, Central American population.  I bought the last bag.  It smells so good, which I can't attest the same for Bob's.

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

OK tortilla masters, I need your help.

 

I'm #stayingthefuckhome during this messed up time we're in, and I've been doing more cooking on a daily basis than I have in years. I found an almost full bag of Maseca and my Victoria tortilla press in my apartment and figured screw it, let's make tortillas.

 

I've done it before without much trouble, but this time it's really giving me a hard time. I'm mostly using the technique in the video below as well as the advice on this whole thread.

 

I'm using the hottest tap water I can get, I'm adding enough water that it's soft but not sticky (looks like what I see in the various videos online), and letting it rest 20-30 minutes. I'm using sheets of Ziplock freezer bags on my press, and I've got a HUGE problem in peeling off the second piece of plastic. More often than not it sticks to the tortilla and ends up tearing it. The only way I get any luck is by not pressing them very thin. If I try to press thin, it absolutely sticks and there's no hope of getting the peel off, an even at "normal" commercial tortilla thickness i'm having lots of problems. Is my dough too wet? Too dry? Another issue is that my bag of Maseca is at least a few years old and is sort of clumpy in parts. I think the mixing and hydration sorts out the clumps but is old flour an issue?

 

The other problem relates to my cooking surface. I've been using my Baking Steel Griddle on the griddle side. Last night I don't think it was hot enough, and unless I perfectly laid the tortilla down, they'd stick. Reading this thread, I saw that the surface should be very hot indeed, so I cranked up the griddle today, and the results were good, but it a) vaporized off much of the griddle's seasoning and b) the sustained high heat appears to have damaged the control panel of my oven (and now my oven won't work)! I don't mind reseasoning my griddle, I guess, but maybe an old beater cast iron pan is the way to go if it needs to be that hot?

 

 

 

 

Edited by Hassouni (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Hassouni I am no expert but the two things that made a major improvement to my tortillas were the proper hydration and using food wrap on the press rather than thicker plastic bags.

 

I credit @Okanagancook with the hydration.  A recipe is 300g masa and 400g water.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you add the water all at once or a bit at a time? I started with equal parts water and maseca and it was kind of soupy, but adding just a bit more maseca made it really dry - i'd say in the end it was maybe 50-50

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...