I got a new toy!
Well, actually, I got it awhile ago, but this weekend was the first time I’ve gotten to use it because my life is JUST.SO.CRAZY.BUSY.
HOWEVER. I was craving some thick, fluffy, homemade tortilla-y goodness. So I busted out the tortilla press and away I went! (ps WOW a hundred pictures of tan-colored tortillas can get real boring real fast. BUT HEY there’s a pretty, colorful taco picture at the end. So there’s that).
It’s actually very easy to make your own flour tortillas. Especially if you invest in one of these tortilla presses. The dough is very springy (much like this pierogi dough) so rolling it out by hand can be a pain. And make your arms hurt. But when I use the press, the dough is much less likely to spring back on itself and my tortillas are much quicker to make and much better about holding their shape. I picked this one up for twenty bucks at Crate and Barrel over Christmas, although before that I’d been eyeing this one from Amazon for quite awhile. (It was Christmas. It was an impulse buy. What can I say).
All you have to do to transport yourself to homemade tortilla land, though, is throw some flour on your press (or on a cutting board, if you’d rather roll it out by hand with a rolling pin! It’ll take a bit longer but works just fine):
Then roll up a ball of dough that fits in your palm:
And put it on the floured side of your press. Make sure to flour the top of your dough, too, so that it doesn’t stick to the top of the press!
Then flip the top piece down onto the dough,
Then pull the handle back over the top of the press, and push down for about 20 seconds (to make sure the dough is all stretched out and will hold its shape!)
And voila! A beautiful, raw tortilla. Set the formed tortillas on a floured tea towel until you’re ready to cook them.
To cook the tortillas, heat up a dry pan (I used cast iron) until it’s feelin’ HOT HOT HOT. Then cook tortillas for 30-40 seconds on each side, until they’ve developed some pockets of a nice, brown, crispy color.
See?? How easy was that? These tortillas are a bit thicker than what you might be used to, but they are great for tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, you name it! I’m in love. Look, here’s one in action: (Recipe comin’ atcha later this week!)
- 3 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening (some folks like to use lard, but I prefer Crisco)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 and ½ cups water (you probably won’t need it all!)
- In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and vegetable shortening. Work through the mixture with your hands, breaking up the shortening until the mixture is incorporated and has a slightly mealy texture.
- With the dough hook on your mixer (or by hand, if you prefer) stream in about 1 cup of the water and stir until it has been absorbed by the flour. Then, add water a tablespoon at a time while your mixer kneads the dough (or add a tablespoon of water, then break and knead by hand for a minute to incorporate it) until you have a smooth dough. Dough should be smooth and elastic, but not sticky. I used a little under 1 and ¼ cups of water when I made these, to achieve the right consistency. If you add too much water and the dough is too sticky, even it out by kneading in another tablespoon of flour.
- Roll the dough into balls that fit comfortably in your palm. Using a tortilla press or a rolling pin, roll each ball of dough out into a round tortilla shape.
- Heat a large, flat pan (preferably cast iron) over high heat until it is HOT. Cook tortillas for 30-40 seconds on each side until they’ve browned up a little bit. Serve immediately or store them in the fridge and reheat whenever you’re craving a quesadilla.