Monday, August 18, 2014

Fresh Corn Tortillas

homemade corn tortillas
Oh oh baby, things are getting REAL in the kitchen lately.  

I've had a desire lately to make basic items that can be easily purchased in the store.  I'm convinced homemade versions are fantastically better and so far, my theory is proving true.  

I've also had a desire lately to make insane elaborate cakes but I suppose we'll cover that in another post.  

corn tortilla recipe
The corn tortillas are alarmingly simple to make.  And unbelievably cheap!  A bag of masa costs no more than two bucks and will last you several batches of tortillas.  Water is, well, free (for me at least).  And uh, that's it.  Oh and salt.  But come on, salt is pennies.

I will say, as with many doughs, there's a learning curve to really knowing what this dough should feel like.  Recipes are great and all but dough is finicky and your climate is influential so "knowing your dough"is key.

"Knowing your dough" is also the name of the personal investment seminar I'm offering at the local park district.
corn tortilla recipe
But I digress.  

Now don't worry if you don't have a tortilla press.  It's just as easy to make this recipe using a heavy-bottom'ed pie pan and gentle even pressure.  Just smash your dough ball slowly and you've got yourself a perfect circle.  

I happened to get this beauty of a tortilla press from my father-in-law from his recent trip to El Paso and Mexico.  Gen-u-ine tortilla press, my friends.  Looks like you can get them super affordably from Amazon too.

Won't be quite as gen-u-ine though.  
corn tortilla recipe
Here's the recipe! 

Fresh Corn Tortillas
makes approx. 16 tortillas

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
1.  Combine the masa harina and the salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the water, stirring to combine, beginning with 1 1/4 cup and adding more if necessary.  The dough should come to together easily and hold together well but not be wet.  I used the full 1 1/2 cups of water and even added a few tablespoons more to reach the desired dough consistency.  Put a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat on the stove.  
2.  Pinch a section of dough away from the dough ball and begin rolling into a ball.  It should be about the size of a golf ball but slightly smaller.  Using a tortilla press (or a heavy bottom-ed pie dish), lay down a piece of parchment paper before placing the small dough ball in the center of the press.  Place another piece of parchment over the dough ball (effectively sandwiching the dough ball between two sheets of parchment), lower the tortilla press and apply gentle pressure to the handle (or, apply gentle pressure to the pie dish while lowering on top of the dough ball).  After opening the press, the dough will likely be stuck to a sheet of parchment, gently pull away the pressed dough.  If there are small cracks along the perimeter of the tortilla, your dough may be too dry.  Return it to the bowl and add water by the tablespoon until you can produce a tortilla with no cracks along the perimeter. 
3.  Place the tortilla in the dry hot pan, cooking for about 45 seconds on one side.  Then flip the tortilla and cook another 45 seconds on the other side.  The tortilla should be pliable when fully cooked and slightly golden.  If your tortilla isn't pliable, you may need to use slightly less dough for a thinner tortilla.  
4.  Repeat this process with the remaining dough: pinch, press, fry, moving one at a time.  When done, store the tortillas in a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm.  They should store well in an airtight container for about 3 days.  

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