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AlainV

Making Tortillas at Home

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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.


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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)
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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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

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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. 


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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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?

 

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17 minutes ago, robirdstx said:

 

Strips at 1/4 inch wide.

 

The fried strips are also good for making Migas!

 

Thanks!

 

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Sorry, I think the ‘h’ was a typo which happens on my iPad key board....so, yes 1/4 inch wide...or wider if you like!  All good when fried to crispy.

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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.

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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.

 

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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

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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)

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I usually put it in the freezer because I want the flour as fesh as possible.

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5 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

 

I usually put it in the freezer because I want the flour as fesh as possible.

 

Must be nice!

 

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