Friday, June 19, 2009

Making Flour Tortillas - Easier Than You Think

When it comes to bread and tortillas I usually buy them from the store. However a few days ago I saw a food show where the host was making flour tortillas. When I saw the final product I was inspired to give it a shot for myself.

I searched through my collection of food magazines (it’s in tight competition with my music collection) and found a basic flour tortilla recipe. The writer expressed in the article that once you taste a homemade tortilla the store-bought variety may not taste the same ever again. I totally agree! With a little practice you could be whipping these together faster than a Ramones' tune.

These tortillas are not loaded with preservatives so it’s best to use them soon after making them (I made quesadillas) or you can let them cool thoroughly and then freeze.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp table salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup cold vegetable shortening or lard, cut into small pieces
2/3 warm water

In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt and baking powder. Add the shortening. Cut it into the flour with a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water with a fork until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a flour surface and knead until smooth and soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add more flour as necessary. The dough shouldn’t be very sticky after kneading. Portion the dough into eight equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out each dough ball into a 9 to 10-inch round (it doesn’t matter if it’s perfectly round). The dough should be rolled out so thin that you can vaguely see the pattern of your counter top through it.

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat until hot. Lay a tortilla in the skillet. Cook until the tortilla bubbles and puffs and the bottom browns in spots, about 1 minute. If you get gigantic bubbles pierce them with a fork. Flip the tortilla and cook until the second side gets brown spots and any raw-looking areas become opaque. If tortillas brown too quickly reduce the heat to medium low. Transfer cooked tortillas to a clean dishtowel and cover to keep warm (so they stay pliable).

Volume: Makes 8 flour tortillas

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Brent Garell
The Kitchen Roadie

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