Monday, January 11, 2010

Corn Tortillas

corn tortilla, originally uploaded by Kim De.

It is time to begin to chronicle my journey attempting to make homemade tortillas. It has been a long time coming. Good homemade tortillas can't be found here because they are all mass produced in a factory "somewhere" and sold at the grocery store.

Trust me. If you haven't had a true homemade tortilla, you do not know what you are missing! If you think your local joint is making them homemade, well you MAY be right, but if you ever truly have a fresh made one, you will know the difference! When I lived in Houston, basically every Mexican eatery in town made fresh homemade tortillas every hour, so buying them was a snap. Now...., well I will have to become a master!

So I am trying. It really isn't difficult. Pressing them into the correct thickness is the most challenging part. Mine are a bit too thick, but that is ok. I will just make more, and will take pics of the process. If at first you don't succeed....

Tortillas de MaĆ­z (Corn Tortillas)
(by Rick Bayless, in my mind, the MASTER!)

1 3/4 cups masa harina

Measure powdered masa harina, into a bowl and add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot tap water. Knead with your hand until thoroughly combined. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Set a large griddle (one that stretches over 2 burners) or 2 skillets on your stovetop. Heat one end of the griddle (or one skillet) to medium, the other end (or other skillet) to medium-high.

Gently squeeze dough. If it is stiff (it probably will be), knead in water 1 or 2 teaspoons at a time until the dough feels like soft cookie dough—not stiff, but not sticky. Divide into 15 pieces, rolling each into a ball. Cover with plastic.

Cut 2 squares of plastic bag 1 inch larger than your tortilla press. Open the press and lay in one piece of plastic. Lay a dough ball in the center, and gently mash it. Top with the second piece of plastic and close press. Using the press's lever, gently flatten the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick disk. Peel off the top piece of plastic.

Flip the tortilla onto your right hand (if right-handed)—the top of the tortilla should line up with the side of your index finger. Now, gently roll it onto the side of the griddle (or skillet) heated to medium: Let the bottom of the tortilla touch the griddle, then lower your hand slightly and move it away from you—the tortilla will stick to the hot surface so you can roll your hand out from under it as it rolls down flat.

After about 30 seconds, the edges of the tortilla will dry slightly and the tortilla will release from the griddle—before this moment, the tortilla will be stuck. With a metal spatula (or calloused fingers), flip the tortilla onto the hotter side of the griddle (or hotter skillet).

After about 30 seconds, the tortilla should be lightly browned underneath. Flip it over. Cook 30 seconds more—the tortilla should puff in places (or all over—a gentle press with metal spatula or fingers encourages puffing). Transfer to a basket lined with a napkin or towel.

Press and bake the remaining tortillas. Stack each newly baked tortilla on the previously baked ones. Keep the tortillas well wrapped to keep warm.

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