Our family's journey to the heart of a handmade life

The tortilla saga, part deux

The tortilla saga, part deux

So I’m a little late, but at least I made it. Here’s the other recipe for homemade tortillas. And not ‘the other recipe,’ all italicized and quotationized implying that it’s not as good as the original. These live in their own world, with a texture and complexity that is quite different. These tortillas are flat, like, flatter than a pancake (haha). Super thin, but pliable and soft. After a day or two at room temperature, they become almost a little too soft. You try gently rolling it around some black beans and rice on that third day, and suddenly it splits right in half. I mean, hey, it’s still delicious. Just make sure you have a sturdy plate and fork handy. And napkins. Lots of napkins.


For straight-up Spanish food, these are the way to go. For a healthy lunch, maybe oh-I-don’t-know, diced tomatoes, sauteed peppers, a spoonful of Greek yogurt, handful of sharp cheddar cheese, I prefer the first recipe. Either way, once you go homemade, I swear you will never go back to store-bought. (If you do go back, no need to feel ashamed. Just slap your wrist and go stand in the corner for a few hours…)


Homemade Flour Tortillas, part two
Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures 
Makes 8 tortillas
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup very warm water


Put the flour, salt and shortening into a large bowl. Mix with your fingers until well incorporated. You can use a pastry cutter, but I find shortening to be too soft to make it worthwhile.
Add the water a quarter cup at time until the flour mixture is moistened but not wet.
Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes until smooth and shiny. I do this right in the bowl.
Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Cut the dough half, then each bit in half again, until you have 8 separate pieces. Roll the dough pieces into balls, set aside and cover with a damp cloth or paper towel to prevent drying out. Let them rest for at least 20 minutes.
Pre-heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. (My stove is the kind with dials numbered 1 to 9 , and 5 is perfect.)
Work with one piece at a time: Roll the dough out, until about 7-8 inches in diameter, and place it in the pan. It should sizzle, and it should not stick. If it doesn’t sizzle, the heat is too low. If it sticks, the heat is too high. (I have a system where the moment I set a tortilla in the pan, I begin rolling out the next one, so it’s ready to go when the one cooking is done.)
Depending on your stove and pan, it will take about 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes per side. I found that, like pancakes, the first side down almost always looks better, i.e golden brown. The second side tends to get really dark in spots, which is normal and delicious. Transfer the cooked tortillas to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm. You can serve them now, keep them tightly wrapped at room temperature for a few days, or throw in the freezer for an quick and easy dinner later on.