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My family eats tortillas all.the.time. In fact, we almost use tortillas more often than we use bread! We sometimes use tortillas to make a sandwich wrap. A favorite “dessert” here is fried tortillas with cinnamon and sugar. And don’t judge, but some members of my family (definitely NOT me) will even eat leftover spaghetti wrapped in a tortilla. We just might have a carb addition….!
So, when the lockdowns started in the spring of 2020, I bought some Masa Harina. There was no flour on the shelves, and the Masa Harina was like $4 for a 4 pound bag. My intent was to learn how to make homemade tortillas.
Well, we didn’t end up getting actually LOCKED in our homes, so we just carried on with our “new normal” lives, buying tortillas as needed. But, for this edition of the Self Reliant Skill of the Week, I’ve decided to make my very own homemade tortillas. Turns out they are pretty easy, even for beginners, and very budget-friendly.
Tortillas, while they are considered a budget food item, can get expensive. We are a family of 7, and we eat more than…well…the average family. No 1-tortilla serving size for us! So we have to buy at least a 16 pack. And that size of a pack is about $5.
I have calculated that for me to make them, 16 tortillas cost me maybe $1. Such a huge savings, and they’re really not hard to make!
In this episode of the Self Reliant Skill of the Week, I’m going to be making both flour tortillas (my favorite), and corn tortillas. So let’s get started, shall we?
Homemade Flour Tortillas
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil, shortening, or lard
- 1 cup hot water
Whisk together dry ingredients until well incorporated. Add the fat of your choice and mix together until slightly crumbly. Then add water and mix in a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple times during mixing. When the dough comes together into a ball, reduce speed to low and mix for another 2 minutes. Put dough onto a well-floured work surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or Saran Wrap and let sit for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten slightly with your hand. Cover flattened balls with your kitchen towel or Saran Wrap and let rest for another 15 minutes.
To cook, warm a dry but well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Roll each ball out with a rolling pin into 6 inch circles. Put each tortilla in the hot skillet and cook for about 1 minute on each side. You should get slightly browned bubbles on the surface of the tortillas. If it takes longer than about a minute, turn the heat up. But if you’re starting to get burnt spots, turn the heat down.
Makes 16 tortillas. Store in a ziplock bag in the fridge for up to a week, or store in the freezer separated by parchment paper in a ziplock bag for 2-3 months.
Homemade Corn Tortillas
- 2 cups Masa Harina
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
Put Masa Harina and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl and combine with a whisk. Add 1 cup of the water and stir until water is absorbed. Add more water in small amounts as you mix, until it makes a soft dough. Knead the dough into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add a little Masa Harina to it. If it’s still crumbly, add a little more water. Separate the dough into golf ball-sized pieces. This will make the tortillas about 4 inches across.
Flatten the dough balls using a flat bottomed pan or a tortilla press. Line each side of dough with plastic or a ziplock bag. * The easiest way to do this is to cut the top off a gallon sized bag, slit down the sides, and leaving the bottom connected. Put a tortilla on one side of the bag and fold the other side over it.
Heat a dry, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Put the flattened tortillas in the skillet and cook each side for about 1 minute, until light brown spots form. If it takes longer than a minute to lightly brown the tortillas, turn up the heat. If you’re getting burnt bubbles on the tortillas, turn the heat down.
Makes 16 4″ tortillas.
I’m not going to tell you that these homemade tortillas were the easiest things ever to make. The idea is simple, but the technique takes practice. In fact, working with any gluten takes practice. I still haven’t mastered making homemade bread!
The corn tortillas were much easier than the flour. Since corn doesn’t have gluten, they don’t have to rest. They also don’t need to be kneaded as much. And they would be even easier to make if I had a tortilla press.
While homemade tortillas are fairly easy to make, I’m not 100% certain that the results are worth the effort. If I really need to pinch pennies on our food budget, I would consider doing it more often. Or if we get locked down more than before, I might need to do it all the time. But in the meantime, that $5 at the store doesn’t seem so bad.
Have you made homemade tortillas? Do you have any tips for me? Please share in the comments. I really want to get better at this, and can use all the help I can get!