Monday, October 10, 2011

Homemade Flour Tortillas

As promised, I attempted homemade tortillas on Saturday night to console myself for the Phillies' loss.  And consoled I was!  I found a highly rated recipe from and despite the author's explicit instructions not to substitute shortening for lard, I was certainly not going to run out to buy a tub of lard just for this recipe.  And besides, many of the reviews had subbed in shortening successfully.  A few notes:

  • I don't really know what homemade tortillas taste like, but these tasted great to me.  Good enough that I will certainly make them again and will even buy a small amount of lard so I can see what the fuss is about.
  • They were a pain to roll out because the dough kept stretching back toward the center.  I made just half the recipe and was still tired.  Next time I will try Pioneer Woman's recipe, which calls for resting the dough for 1+ hour - this is supposed to help with that problem.
  • These were much smaller than I was envisioning.  Dinner plans quickly changed from one burrito to two quesadillas.  Based on the instructions in the recipe, each ball made a tortilla the size of corn tortillas you buy from the market.
I'm excited to try making these again.  This is one of those times when it's totally great to live alone.  If I had anyone else to feed these would be long gone and not worth the time and trouble of making.  Is that selfish?  Probably, but I'm not a machine and these take time and effort!  It's a similar thing with dumplings.  Of course, if I have assistants, they would be welcome to the spoils...

Homemade Four Tortillas
(adapted from LaDonna's recipe at

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons lard (or shortening)
1 1/2 cups water (I used hot water based on reviewer comments)

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the lard with your fingers (or a food processor!) until the flour resembles cornmeal. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together; place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic (or knead with food processor!). Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a thin, round tortilla. Place into the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly and golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side. Place the cooked tortilla in a tortilla warmer (or under tea towel); continue rolling and cooking the remaining dough.

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