Mexican Series #1 Flour Tortilla

My first introduction to the tortilla was bad. In my innocence, I bought a packet from the nearby American supermarket ( "Wow the supermarket has rotis!"). Heat them up, close your eyes tight and imagine Home and mom and garam garam rotis and then eat - not half as bad. Let them go cold though, hoo boy, its like biting into rubber.

Hand made tortillas, corn or flour are really good. They are soft and melty and are the base for the best enchiladas,quesadillas, burritos and taquitos.Corn flour tortillas dominate most of Mexico while of Maida or Allpurpose flour tortillas are found in Northern Mexico.

Ill begin this series on Mexican food with flour tortillas one of the building blocks of mexican cuisine.

Ive run into a couple of recipes for Flour tortillas(eg. from 30 min Vegetarian Mexican) but they usually duplicate the rubberiness of the supermarket tortilla. Exactly the opposite of what you want to do.

Most books on mexican food I checked always referred back to Rick Bayless and his first book, Authentic Mexican. This recipe for flour tortillas comes from Authentic Mexican, and it makes killer tortillas.Soft and crumbly mmm mmmm....

A note on special equipment: If you already make rotis or parathas, No special equipment is required for Flour tortillas. Just use your rolling pin and some flour to dust the surface and you are good to go.

Wheat flour tortillas Recipe:
(Tortillas de Harina)


3/4 pound(2 3/4 cups) all purpose flour
5 tbsp lard or vegetable shortening
3/4 tsp salt
about 3/4 cup very warm tap water

1.The dough: Combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl, working in the fat with your figners, until completely incorporated. Dissolve the salt in the water, pour about three fourth of it over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork, the dough will e in large clumps rater than a homogenous mass. If all the dry ingredients havent been dampened, add the rest of the liquid(plus a little more if needed). Scoop the dough on your work surface and knead until smooth, it should be a medium stiff consistency - definitely not firm but not quite as soft as bread dough.

( Should be roughly like a roti dough consistency, a shade softer).

2. Resting: Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes ( to make the dough less springy and easier to roll.

3. Rolling and putting it on the griddle / tava.
Roll out the tortilla like a normal roti.It is best if you use a heavy cast iron tava or else your usual roti tava should do in a pinch. The tava should be hot. After 30 to 40 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip it over. Bake 30 to 45 seconds more, until the other side is done. Donot overbake or the tortilla will become crisp.

Remove and wrap in a towel.

Cooks notes: For roti makers this is a very easy process. The results are far, far superior to supermarket products, so the time invested yields good results. You can make a stack of these and store them in the referigerator or the freezer. To store in the freezer, first take a baking sheet, and lay out the tortillas in a single layer. After about an hour you can stack them up on top of each other and then put them into a ziplock bag.