Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homemade Flour Tortillas


Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I've wanted to make homemade tortillas for a long time. When I first got into cooking last year, my friend Antonio raved about director Robert Rodriguez's tortilla-making video which came as a special feature on one of his movies. I never saw the feature, but Antonio's excitement about the video was palpable, and that, along with my love for Mexican food (my favorite cuisine, actually), got me interested in trying to make my own tortillas. I finally got around to doing so last week, and the results were plate-sized chewy deliciousness.

I found this great recipe on TexasCooking.com that looked easy enough to attempt, and was off to the kitchen. Thankfully, these tortillas are ridiculously cheap to make, and require only kitchen cabinet staples. Okay--onto the recipe!


Start out by grabbing your large mixing bowl.


Add two cups of flour. Note: that's f-l-o-u-r, flour. This note is for the person who emailed me asking if dandelions would make for a good base for a pie crust.


Rumford Baking Powder. Touted as aluminum-free, but comes in an aluminum-based container. Just a little Beach City Cooking dramatic irony for you.


Add 1.5 tsp of this stuff. The container is set up so it's really hard to measure teaspoons of baking powder and not get some all over your fingers. You know, just to make things more interesting.


Whisk it up.


Heat 3/4 cup milk (whatever % you like should work, I used 1%) on the stovetop or in the microwave. You'll only need to bring it to lukewarm.


Add 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp vegetable oil--


--and then get a little more use out of your beloved whisk.


Pour the milk into your mixing bowl, little by little, stirring with a spatula as you go.


You should end up with a sticky dough that looks something like this.


Next, gently dust a wood surface with flour.


Take your dough, and place it on the floured surface.


Knead well for about 2 minutes--


--and return to the infamous mixing bowl.


Cover with a damp kitchen towel, and take a 15-minute break. 15-minute break ideas: read one chapter of Jonathan Lethem's new book, Chronic City; take a foot bath; eat an oreo in 10 bites, one per minute, taking a one-minute break after every two minutes.


*tweet* Break's over! (That's the noise of a whistle! Not to be confused with a single utterance from a Twitter user.) Line a baking pan with baking powder's BFF and worst of enemies: aluminum foil.


Uncover your cloaked mixing bowl and tear your dough ball in two.


Divide each of those pieces in two.


And, one last time.


Shape your eight pieces of dough into balls, and arrange them on the baking sheet--


--and cover them again. This time, you get a 20 minute break. See how generous I am? You're welcome. It's my pleasure, really. Let's watch an episode of Curb this time. Those episodes are usually more than 20 minutes, but it's okay--the dough's not rising, just resting, so we can totally finish the ep without worrying about over-rising dough.


Okay, now comes the fun part. Preheat your cast-iron skillet to medium high, so it can get very, very hot very quickly.


Take one ball of dough and flatten it in your hands, then work it into a 4 or 5-inch circle.


Dust your rolling pin with a little flour, then roll out your dough patty into a circle with an 8-inch diameter.


Carefully place your almost-tortilla onto the hot cast-iron skillet.


These only need 30 seconds on each side (or less--I frequently found the tortillas only needing 15 seconds on the second side), so flip your tortilla as soon as it begins to blister.


Allow your tortilla to finish cooking.


Remove, let cool, and enjoy. These are great for burritos, tacos, whatever you like. Just make them larger or smaller depending on your preference. You can also freeze them and reheat them, wrapped in that dreaded/beloved aluminum foil, in the oven, until they reach your desired temperature (like any tortilla, they're good at room temperature but great when heated).

Pacific Coast Highway

Thanks for stopping by Beach City Cooking, and I'll see you all tomorrow for another post. Have a great night, and stay cool!


  1. "whisk it up" was my favorite part.

  2. These look great. Even my Droid thinks so. Everyone at the hockey game thinks so.