Friday, January 26, 2007

tortilla-making 101

A couple of weeks ago, I found the tortilla press I had been eyeing on one of our half-price tables at work . . . I had someone put it on hold for me, and I ended up purchasing it about a week later, for the bargain price of about five bucks. (I love that we get our discout on top of sale prices!!) See how pretty:
Now, this little aluminum tortilla press by NorPro is not the best tortilla press we sell, and if I had all the money in the world, I would have bought the cast-iron press we have, because it works lots better. But, this little dude did a nice enough job for now, and since I don't make tortillas all that often, I figured it would do the job just fine.

I've made homemade tortillas before a few times, but this is my first time using a press, and I have to say, it was TONS easier. Here's what I did!

1. Stir together 2 cups of masa harina (Bob's Red Mill makes a nice masa harina, or you could also probably find it in a latin/Mexican market -- but make sure you're getting masa for tortillas, as opposed to masa for tamales, because they are different flours all together -- the things I learn at work!), 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, and 1 1/3 cups cold water, until a nice, soft dough forms (it will look and feel sort of like playdough.) Cover this dough and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. It should look like this:

2. Preheat a heavy-duty, dry skillet (such as a cast-iron skillet or any other not nonstick coated skillet) over medium-high heat. Form some of the dough into a ball slightly larger than a golf ball. Cut two squares (or if you want to be anal, circles) of parchment paper to approximately the size of your tortilla press. Place one square on the bottom of the press, and slightly flatten your dough ball and place it in the "back middle" of your press's surface. Why? Because the dough will ooze forward slightly (towards the handle/lever part) when you press it.

3. Place the other square of parchment over the dough, close the press, and press down with the handle slowly and gently. Once you have pressed the dough as far down as you can get it, open the press, rotate the tortilla/parchment 180 degrees, and press again. (Why? Because the tortilla will be slightly uneven due to uneven pressure from the press, and rotating and repressing it will give you a more even tortilla thickness.)

4. Open the press and gently remove the top layer of parchment. Flip the tortilla over on to your hand, and remove the bottom layer of parchment. (Carefully . . . the tortillas are kind of fragile and prone to ripping at this point. If you tear it, just remake your ball and repress it . . . no worries!)

5. Cook your tortilla in your preheated pan on the first side until black spots and a few stripes begin to form. (If your tortilla sticks to the pan and you don't get black spots, your pan isn't hot enough.) Flip and cook on the second side, until the tortilla looks dry all over. (But you don't want to brown the second side.)

6. Repeat and enjoy. (Keep your dough covered between tortillas so it doesn't dry out, 'kay?)

Dan and I will be having quesadillas on Sunday night . . . I can't wait! I need to make refried beans this weekend, and pick up a few additional ingredients.

Now, go out, buy a tortilla press and some masa harina, and make tortillas! (Or, at least wish you could go out and buy a tortilla press!) They taste a million times better than store-bought ones, I promise. :)


Kelly said...

Very interesting! I have always been curious about the tortilla press. We should figure out sometime to work on knitting.

Anonymous said...

I think this is the only way I would like to eat corn tortillas. Otherwise it's flour for me. But man - these look incredibly delicious.

Anonymous said...

Wow... that looks so fun and easy, too. I want to make my own tortillas. :)

Judy said...

I didn't even know that a tortilla press existed. Of course, that could be because I've never thought of making my own tortillas. They look great thoughg.
BTW, where do you work? It sounds like you get a lot of neat stuff there.

Judy said...

Never mind, I just saw your post below so now I know where you work.

Carrie™ said...

What an awesome gadget! If you make a lot of tortillas, this seems like a must have.

Mary Worrell said...

These are so cute!

madeinalaska said...

oh what my honey wouldn't do to get one of those in our house!! It would be bribe worthy.. oh honey I'll make you home made tortillas if you......

bazu said...

Thanks for this tutorial. Making my own tortillas has been on my list for a while now.

Brooke said...

Cool! I want a tortilla press now! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this tutorial. Making my own tortillas has been on my list for things to try ! did you think this will work for make whole wheat tortillas too?

Jody from VegChic said...

Holy smokes, making your own tortillas. I'm impressed! You are lucky finding a press for only $5 too.

BTW - Congrats on the job prospects. That sounds really exciting!

Unknown said...

so cool...I've never seen a tortilla press before! Honestly, I didn't know anyone ever made their own. Very cool!