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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I started making tortillas by accident. I ran out of flour tortillas one evening just as I was struck by a giant craving for quesadillas. So I pulled up some recipes for homemade tortillas of the flour variety. Using simple tools like my iron skillet, mixer with dough hook, rolling pin and a spatula, I went to work and produced a tasty tortilla. I've fooled around with the recipe and this one is the best yet.

These are my whole wheat tortilla variant.
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (You can substitute a cup of whole wheat flour for one of the cups of white flour if you want a little fiber in your tortillas - I like them better that way)
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Toss all the dry ingredients into your mixing bowl and with the dough hook mix up the dry ingredients thoroughly on medium speed. 
  2. Keep the mixer running and add oil and water. Mix for about a minute, keeping the dry flour scraped from the sides of the bowl. When mixture starts to form a ball, reduce speed to low and mix with the dough hook until the dough is nice and smooth.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured cutting board. Divide the dough in half, then in half again. Keep halving each new ball of dough until you have 16 equal dough pieces. 
  4. Roll each piece into a ball.
  5. Flatten the little balls with your hand as much as possible.
  6. The dough may be a little sticky. If it is roll it in a little more flour, then lay a cloth over the dour balls for about 15 minutes.
  7. Heat your griddle or a nice cast iron skillet which I prefer. Lightly oil the skillet and wipe off excess. 
  8. With your rolling pin, roll each dough ball flat into a rough disk about six or seven inches across. You'll have to lightly flour the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking to it. 
  9. Don't stack the uncooked tortillas or they'll stick. I roll them out one at a time getting the next one flattened while the first is cooking.
  10. Make sure the pan is very hot - I work at just above medium heat. Put your tortilla into the pan and cook about 1 minute. The bottom should have a few pale brown spots. The topside will show a few thin bubbles. You'll have to fiddle with the heat to make sure the tortilla doesn't brown too fast or too slow. One way you get too crisp tortillas and the other too tough. It should look right after about a minute. Then flip the tortilla and cook for another 30 seconds. The tortilla should be soft and flexible with a few brown spots on it.
  11. Use a pair of tongs to remove the tortilla and stack it in a covered container. A ziplock bag works too. This will lock in the moisture and ensure the tortillas remain soft and flexible.
  12. Before you start another tortilla, wipe out any flour that may have accumulated in the pan.
  13. You can serve them while they are still warm or after they cool or you can warm them up again. They keep nicely. 
Serving Suggestions:
Flour tortillas will keep pretty well stored in an airtight container or zippered bag. You can keep them at room temperature for 24 hours or longer in the fridge. You can freeze them indefinitely by separating the tortillas with parchment or waxed paper and stack them in a zippered bag before you shove them in the freezer.
When you are ready to use the tortillas, place a slightly damp paper towel in the bottom of a container (with a cover) that will hold the stacked tortillas. I use a microwave tortilla warmer. But then I'm from Texas and we all have one of those. Microwave them covered for 30 seconds or uncovered for 15-25 seconds until warm. Leave the cover on and set them on the table for everyone to dig in.

Great for quesadillas or flour tacos or burritos or..............dang, now I'm hungry for Mexican food. Make up about 4 batches of these, throw out some hot refried beans, cheese, lettuce and tomato with a big bowl of salsa and they'll be a hit for burritos at your next potluck.

© 2016 by Tom King* All photos are © in the public domain

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