Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Homemade Corn Tortillas. Yum!

One thing that I've discovered since going gluten free? You have to cook a LOT of things from scratch. This has been a challenge, but also a lot of fun. Yesterday I decided to try making some corn tortillas. There are only 3 ingredients, so how hard can they be? I started with the recipe from the back of the Maseca bag. Turns out there is a bit of a learning curve. The first dough was too dry and I didn't know how to properly cook them. They were also a bit bland for my liking. Today I tried again and I am happy to report that I have been successful. Here is my recipe. I added a bit more water and salt to that first, original recipe off the bag.

Corn Tortillas
2 cups masa flour
 3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
(plus more if needed)
In a bowl, wisk the salt into the flour, mixing it in thoroughly. Add the warm water and mix it in using your hands and fingers, until all the flour is incorporated. You want the dough to be the consistency of Play-Doh. If the dough feels too stiff, add some more warm water, a tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too moist add a bit of masa flour. Once your dough feels right, cover it with some plastic wrap. It dries out really fast. Get out your tortilla press and start heating your pan. Start with your pan on medium high heat. You may have to adjust the heat up or down. All stoves vary and it will also depend on the type of pan used. I use a cast iron frying pan and a medium heat. Anything hotter and it burns off the seasoning from my pan. Cover your press with some plastic wrap.  
Take a small amount of dough (about walnut size) and roll it into a ball, then slightly flatten the ball and place it on the press.
Top the ball of dough with another piece of plastic wrap and close the press, pressing down hard on the lever.
Open it up and "ta da"! You've made a tortilla. I like to rotate the tortilla 180 degrees, then press again, to make sure it is flattened evenly.
Carefully lift the tortilla and remove the plastic, one side at a time. Brush the tortilla lightly with oil (depending on the type of pan you are using. Mine needs oil) and lay the tortilla in the pan. Cook it for approx. 50 seconds per side. You want it to get cooked and slightly browned, but not burnt. Flip it once the first side is done.
Don't worry if your tortilla feels a bit stiff. You may be wondering, as I did, "how is this thing going to roll up or fold around a filling without breaking"? Here is the secret to soft, moist tortillas. Once they are cooked you place them into a tortilla warmer (or steamer). These can be made of cloth, pottery or plastic. Mine is blow molded plastic. You close the lid and the tortillas steam each other, making them soft and pliable. Like magic.
Once you get the hang of it, making fresh tortillas from scratch is incredibly easy. You will never want to eat those rubbery tortillas from the grocery store, ever again. Enjoy!

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