Thursday, July 25, 2013

Flour Tortillas 2

I adore homemade flour tortillas. Probably too much. This one has been buttered.

As you can probably infer from this post's title, I've already posted a Homemade Flour Tortilla recipe. In the last year and a half, I've made those tortillas about once a month. I love them. Along the way, I've gotten better at making them the right size and shape, and I've discovered that I like them less bready and more chewy. I've figured out how to achieve all of these things and I'm writing it up here. So, if you like your flour tortillas thicker, with slightly less fat (this recipe already has very little, as far as I'm concerned), then you might want to try out the other recipe. I'm going to try to post the video on that recipe too, because you'll be able to see how to achieve the roundest shape. It's not 100% fool proof, and it takes a lot of practice, but if you watch it, you'll get the idea and after about 16 batches of tortillas, you'll get there too.

Homemade Flour Tortillas
   --adapted from

1. Place the flour, salt, add baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low for a minute.  Add vegetable shortening and mix on low until it resembles cornmeal.
2. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add water.  Mix on low until dough forms a cohesive ball.  You may need to scrape the sides once with a silicone/rubber spatula.  Once it's in a ball, increase speed to medium low and kneed until smooth and elastic (about 5-6 minutes).  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest while you get your other tools ready.
3. Gather your cast-iron skillet, rolling pin, flour, canola oil, and large plate with a clean dish towel (to place finished tortillas).  Very lightly grease a smooth, flat surface with canola oil by spreading a few drops onto the surface with a flat hand.  
4. Remove dough from the bowl and cut into the desired amount of pieces.  If your skillet is small, cut more pieces (up to 24); if you have a large skillet and want large tortillas, cut no fewer than 10 pieces.  With your hand cupped over a piece of dough that is sitting on the greased flat surface, gently push the dough around using a small circular motion with your hand until you have a well-shaped ball of dough. Place dough balls on a floured plate or piece of wax paper and cover with plastic wrap.
5.  Once you have all of your dough balls, wipe your flat surface down with a paper towel to remove any canola oil residue. Place about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of flour in a small bowl. Take one dough ball and toss it in the flour. Without shaking off the excess flour, place the floured dough ball onto the rolling surface. I start with a couple of strokes across the entire surface in opposite directions, just to get it started.  Then I start so roll from the center and go out, turning my rolling pin about a quarter of a turn with each roll, so hopefully the tortilla will end up in a relatively round shape. Sprinkle very small amounts of flour, as needed to prevent sticking and pulling. (After doing this a few times, you'll start to get the feel for when it's starting to reach the sticky point.) Roll as thin as you possibly can if you want a thinner tortilla.  

6. Preheat your cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Carefully transfer raw tortilla into pan, making sure you don't make any wrinkles.  Cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until light brown spots appear.  My skillet is fairly large, as were my tortillas, so I had to move it around once a crust was formed on one side, to make sure the edges got cooked a bit on the hot spot of the skillet. Using a clean pastry brush, brush off any excess flour, and then wipe the pan out with a clean paper towel if there is residual flour in the pan because it will continue to cook in the pan if you don't remove it.
7.  Repeat with remaining dough balls.  When a tortilla is done, put on a dish lined with a clean dish towel folded in half to cover the tortillas.  You can stack cooked tortillas on top of one another as you go.
8. Store leftovers in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator.
Makes from 10 large to 24 small flour tortillas.

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