Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Homemade Corn Tortilla Tutorial

Tonight for dinner we had a very simple taco dinner...on homemade corn tortillas and I was reminded of one of my favorite kitchen toys. It's a Tortilla Press that I got about two months ago and have adored ever since. Look how loved it is.
We've been playing with corn around here, since I got a big ol' 25 lb Bag of the organic stuff. I learned a few corny facts. Did you know there are more than 400 kinds of corn?! Oh my gosh. I for one have been a little lax in my use of the golden nuggets. How about you? Last week we made Homemade Corn Nuts for our tutorial using organic yellow corn. If you want to make tortillas from the corn, I have found this resource: How To Make Masa (Dough For Tortillas And Tamales) . To make the tortillas you will need to purchase something traditionally called "slaked lime", but chemically called Calcium hydroxide. It's available for 5$ a lb here.
Bottom line, we can buy prepared masa dough in our grocery stores here, due to the fact that we are so close to Mexico and have many of our neighbors and friends who came here from that direction. Un Beso. (That's "smooches" to the rest of you...)
If I don't buy the fresh dough, I generally use the simple method. It's called... MASECA Instant Corn Masa Flour for tortillas. I don't work for them...but it's pretty good stuff.

I use the recipe right on the bag of Maseca if I use the mix. It's quite simple and the 4lb bag makes a very large quantity of tortillas...so it saves us a lot of money. Honestly though, the taste of homemade corn tortillas is absolute heaven. I have never once had a corn tortilla in a restaurant or off a grocery store shelf to match the tenderness of a homemade corn tortilla...ever. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes to make 16 tortillas from scratch. I do that while the meat for the tacos is cooking. It's quick dinner.

This recipe for the corn tortillas is from Doña Masita. MASECA - Tortillas

For the Dough:
In a bowl mix 2 cups loose MASECA®, 1 1/4 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt until it is all incorporated and a smooth dough is formed which doesn’t stick to your hands.

If the dough feels dry, add teaspoons of water (one by one). Once the dough is ready, cover with a wet towel so that it does not dry out.

Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and form little balls.

Cover with a damp towel to keep moist.

Flatten each ball between two sheets of wax paper, using a press for tortillas and start making the tortillas. You can use parchment paper or heavy plastic wrap as well. You don't have to use a tortilla press, but it takes a lot less time and energy to use one.

Hello you lucky dough ball. Brace yourselves...

Once the tortilla is ready, cook on a hot griddle for 1 minute each side, or until the tortilla fills with air. Look how cool they look...

Again, one minute on each side is all it takes to cook them. On a large griddle I can get eight at a time going!

I keep the tortillas in a nice covered tortilla warmer until we're ready to eat.
If you decide to fry them to make chips, be prepared to let them cool completely first. Also, they make amazing enchiladas, tostada shells, taco shells, quesedillas...you name it. We went ahead and used some fresh salsa verde. With home grown cilantro...also still growing nicely in the garden. Be jealous. I walked out barefoot and gleaned some from my cilantro forest. Arizona is amazing for year round gardening. I'll be calling you in July when I'm crying in my 200 degree kitchen.

Today, in December, I may gloat...just a little. Eat your heart out Seattle.

Cheese is optional...but always loved. Just like me.

There you go. Make yourself some corn tortillas!


Beverly@Beverly's Back Porch said...

You are so right about the taste of homemade tortillas. Once you make your own you will never buy another from the grocery. I love my tortilla press. Mine looks as loved as yours.

Dave'sWife@{thediaryofdaveswife} said...

Where did you find your tortilla press?? I WANT one! Are they expensive???

mlebagley said...

Wow! Love it! I didn't realize it was so easy to make tortillas... I need to get me one of those tortilla press things. Where do you find them? New or used? Hmmm. Thanks for sharing. Your camera takes very pretty pictures ;)

Chef Tess said...

I got my tortilla press here at Preparing Wisely for 14$. I actually linked it right into the post if you click on the words "tortilla press". Thank you Em. Yes...new camera for Christmas from Ace and our mom and dad. Smooches!!

Anonymous said...

Yup, we've got to have a tortilla press! Home made tortillas are the best but they do take a lot of time.