Wednesday, May 15, 2013

HANDMADE SOFT CORN TORTILLAS, it's easier than you can imagine!

Hand-made tortillas!!!  Do you see…I did it, I did!?!  I’ve wanted to make them for so long.  I’ve only seen them on TV and I’ve always wanted to experience freshly hand-made tortillas for myself.  I’ve imagined that freshly made tortillas would be soooo much tastier than store bought, just like fresh pasta is so much better than packaged. 

But I have a thing about gadgets, I don’t like them, they usually have one purpose and take up space that I don’t have.  So the reason that it has taken me so long to make them is that I don’t have a tortilla press and couldn’t envision myself rolling out a whole whack of tortillas with a rolling pin. 

And then it happened…the revelation!  Aaaaah (angels singing).

I was watching an old episode of Triple D; and one of the cooks/chefs that happened to be on the show was making hand-made tortillas…and he didn’t have a tortilla press!  Aaaaah (more angels singing)  

So how did he make those tortillas?  

He used a dinner plate as a press!  So simple that it’s genius!

And then I did the happy dance (trust me, you don’t wanna see that).

Seriously within the next couple of days I set out to get some masa (the necessary ingredient in corn tortillas), and then I got to getting’!

I was in scratch making mode, so I made these Eggplant Enchiladas completely from scratch!

You know that recipe's comin' your way soon.

It was super simple to make them, and not at all time consuming.  The dough takes a few minutes to make.  The resting is the long part, but I just do something else while that’s happening.  Because the dough is so soft it’s really easy to press out with a plate.  Finally the tortillas are cooked, in just a couple of minutes. 

The texture is softer and the flavor is cornier (I'm pretty sure I used cornier in the wrong context, but I like it so it stays!), than a corn tortilla that’s been sitting on a store shelf for a month.   No more store bought tortillas for this house hold!

Here’s what you do.

This is the masa harina (aka masa) that was available at my super market;  it had great texture and corn flavor for making tortillas.

Mix together the masa and salt in a large bowl.

Add some hot tap water and a nice blob of coconut oil, you may use vegetable shortening if you prefer. 
Start with just 1 1/4 cups of water; you can always add more if you need it.

Use a wooden spoon to stir it all together.

See this?

The ball is not smooth and it's sticking to my finger.

That's because I added too much water to begin with.

Have no fear!

If this happens just add some more masa one tablespoon at a time...

...Until the dough makes a smooth ball and doesn't stick any more.

Think Play Doh like.

 If the dough is too dry, just add more water, a tablespoon at a time.

Wrap the dough up, it's tired and needs to rest for about an hour.

 Put a griddle or a skillet or two on the stove to get hot while you work on the dough.

Now cut the rested dough into equal pieces.  I started with 12, but found that the tortillas were too small...

...So I re-rolled them into 9 balls to make 6 inch tortillas.  I should let it be known that I like my tortillas to have a little tooth to them, so I make them thicker.  If you like them thinner, make 10 or 11 balls. 

If you have a tortilla press you just go on ahead and use your fancy dancey machine.

I don't have one so this is what I did.

Place a dough ball between two pieces of plastic wrap on a flat surface.  

Keep the remaining dough balls covered with plastic wrap.

Place a dinner plate straight down on top of the ball.

Notice the ridge on the bottom of my plate, I'll explain why in a couple of frames.

Use even pressure to press straight down.

The dough is very soft, so this is really easy to do.

Remember that ridge on the bottom of my plate?

Because of that ridge, my tortilla could only be pressed out to about 5 inches; to get a 6 inch tortilla, I had to roll the dough a little with a rolling pin.

I got two skillets going to speed things up a little, if I had a griddle I could get a lot more tortillas cooking.

Place the tortilla that you just pressed directly into the skillet.

It will cook for a couple of minutes on each side until the outside is cooked but the center is still pliable.

Press out the next tortilla while this one cooks.

Keep the cooked tortillas warm while the others are being prepared.

I just bundled mine up in a clean kitchen towel.

So the photos of the tortillas are not that creative. I just snapped a couple of picture really quickly and bundled them back up to keep them warm.

Use your lovely warm tortillas to make enchiladas or tacos.

If there are any leftover tortillas you can store them in plastic wrap in the refrigerator and use them as you would store bought tortillas.


Makes 9-12 tortillas

2                              cups       Masa Harina (corn flour)
¾                             tsp.        Salt
1 ¼ -1 ¾                   cups       Hot water (from the tap is fine)
1                              Tbsp.      Coconut oil (or vegetable shortening)

   1.       In a large bowl mix together the masa harina and the salt.
   2.       Add 1 ¼ cups of hot water and the coconut oil (or vegetable shortening).  Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes into a smooth ball, it should not be sticky, and the dough will resemble play dough. 
If the dough is dry and crumbly add a little water a tablespoon at a time.  If the dough is sticky, add more masa a tablespoon at a time.
   3.       Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for about an hour.
   4.       When the dough has rested; heat a skillet or a griddle over heat that is set between medium and medium-high.
   5.       Cut the dough into equal sizes and roll it into balls, lay plastic over the dough balls while you work.  *See note.
   6.       If you have a tortilla press, use that to form the tortillas according to its directions. 
If you don’t have a tortilla press, the use of a large plate to form the tortillas makes for quick work.   Take a sheet of plastic wrap (or wax paper) and lay it on a flat surface, place one of the dough balls in the middle and lay another sheet of plastic wrap (or wax paper) on top of the dough ball; now take a large plate and press straight down using even pressure, until you have a tortilla the size you like, you may need to gently use a rolling pin to roll it to the perfect size.
   7.       Place the pressed tortilla on to the hot griddle or skillet, cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  The outside of the tortilla will look dry, but the center will be pliable.  Remove and keep the tortillas warm, wrapping them in a clean towel works fine, or if you have a fancy tortilla dish use that.
   8.       While the first tortilla is cooking, you can work on the next one, it goes quite quickly.

Note* to make 6 inch tortillas; cut the dough into 9 equal pieces.
For thinner 6 inch tortillas, cut the dough into 10 or 11 pieces.
For 4 inch tortillas, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.
For thinner 4 inch tortillas, cut the dough into 15 or 16 equal pieces.

 You may also like:

Fresh Semolina Pasta


  1. Ohhhhhh girl! I can't even tell you how excited I am about this! I've been meaning to make corn tortillas from scratch forever and simply haven't taken the time to look for a recipe. I'm going to be a corn tortilla making fool now!

    1. I'm definitely a tortilla making fool, now that I know how dang easy it is!

  2. With my taco addiction, this is definitely worth a try!