If you've eaten freshly made corn tortillas when you've traveled to Mexico, then we don't need to tell you how good a fresh tortilla can taste. And, the reality is they're actually easy-ish to make at home.
Here are our top tips and a full step-by-step recipe to help you make them even if it's your very first try!
If you live near a Latin market and have access to fresh masa (or are game to make your own!), then definitely try to make homemade corn tortillas with it. The result will be a tortilla that's really pliable, flavorful, and pretty much never dry.
Your other option is to use masa harina and make the dough from scratch as we're doing in this recipe. Just so we're on the same page, masa harina is a flour used for making all sorts of Latin American recipes from tamales to tortillas and garnachas. It is made by grinding corn that has been soaked in lime (the mineral not the fruit) -- a process known as nixtamalization that also helps make the flour nutritious by adding calcium and upping the naturally occuring amino acids.
There are various brands of masa harina but our two favorites are Masienda (which we used in our video and to test this recipe) and Bob's Red Mill because they're both Non GMO, organic, and flavorful!
Professional tortilla makers can shape tortillas by hand and you can certainly do that -- either by patting it between your palms or using a rolling pin! But, until you have a lot of experience with it you'll likely end up with an uneven and thicker tortilla. It will obviously still be tasty but it might not be as pliable and usable as you'd like. Here are all the tools we recommend you use when you start making homemade tortillas:
Here are a few of our favorite recipes where you can use these tortillas!
Okay, you're all set! Check out these step-by-step photos then follow the instructions below and be sure to tag us at @saltandwind on social and use the hashtags #swsociety #tastetheworld if you make them!
Heads up that Aida made this recipe on her IGTV so head there to check it out!
Make The Corn Tortilla Dough: Place the masa harina and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix a few times on low so the salt gets evenly incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and, while the mixer continues to mix, drizzle in all the hot water.
Let the mixer continue for about 5 minutes or until the dough is uniform, thoroughly hydrated, and it no longer is stuck to the sides of the mixing bowl.
Salt is not always added to tortillas so you can leave it out if you want.
Test The Corn Tortilla Dough: For making tortillas, you want a dough that is just right in terms of moisture. You're going for something that's neither so wet and tacky that it sticks to your hand when you work with it nor so dry that it's crumbly. It should be moist to the touch and easy to work with. You can even try to roll and press a tortilla and, if it easily pulls off the plastic (see above), you're good to go!
Form The Corn Tortillas: Line a tortilla press with two pieces of plastic wrap, a ziploc bag, or (my personal preference) with a clean plastic shopping bag cut into rounds the size of the press sides. Pinch off about 1 heaping tablespoon (about 1 ounce) of the dough from the bowl.
Roll the piece of dough between your palms into a ball. The dough should not stick to your hands and should be very easy to work with at this point FYI. Place the dough ball in the middle of the bottom plate of the tortilla press (that is lined with one of the plastic pieces), press on the dough lightly to flatten it just a tad, the cover with the second round of plastic. Close the tortilla press and press. Open the press, flip the tortilla over and repress so you have an approximately 5 to 6-inch tortilla. Peel off the plastic then immediately cook the tortilla.
Keep the dough you aren't working with covered with a kitchen towel so it doesn't dry out!
Cook The Corn Tortillas: Heat a cast iron pan, comal, or griddle on very high heat. Once the pan is very hot, add one prepared tortilla to the ungreased pan and let it cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds, until slightly charred, slightly puffed, and cooked. Flip and repeat on the second side. The finished tortilla should be toasted but not crispy.
If you want to use the tortillas later, let them cool completely on a cooling rack then wrap tightly in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for a few days or freeze up to 3 months. To rewarm stored tortillas, pat them with a little water or use your spray bottle to spritz them lightly then toast them on a cast iron pan, comal, or griddle exactly as you did to cook them so that you essentially recook them. Of course, if they were frozen, let them defrost first!
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