Homemade corn tortillas

by Steph Weber - July 24th, 2011
Categories: cook

I totally made corn tortillas from scratch.

I saw the recipe in the latest Fine Cooking, and absolutely had to try it, especially since I had a bunch of masa harina leftover from making tamales. (Masa harina can be hard to come by, so I recommend ordering from MexGrocer.com if you can’t find it.)

The recipe makes about 32 6-inch tortillas that are perfect for soft tacos. It was surprisingly simple to do once I got the hang of pressing them (I used the bottom of a skillet instead of a tortilla press). And the flavor was fantastic! Way worth the trouble of making them instead of just using the store-bought stuff.

Here’s the recipe:

2 lb (8 cups) fine-grind masa harina
4 to 5-½ cups warm water (about 100°F)
1 tsp kosher salt

Cut two 8-inch circles from a clean plastic grocery store bag or gallon-size zip-top bag; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the masa harina, 4 cups of the warm water, and the salt. Mix and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and homogenous, adding more water 1/4 cup at a time as needed—the dough should feel like Play-Doh: flexible, soft, and smooth, not stiff. To test the dough, pinch off a bit, roll into a ball, and flatten between your palms. The dough should flatten easily, with few if any cracks forming around the edges. If deep U-shaped cracks form, add more water and test again.

Divide the dough into 2-oz. balls (about the size of golf balls), keeping them covered with a damp towel while you shape them.

Heat a large griddle over medium heat (or use two large skillets if you don’t have a large griddle). Use a tortilla press or the bottom of a wide, heavy pot to flatten a dough ball between the two pieces of plastic into a 6-inch tortilla of even thickness. Peel off the top piece of plastic, flip the tortilla over onto your hand, and carefully peel off the other piece of plastic.

Slap the tortilla onto the griddle (this breaks any air bubbles) and cook, flipping once, until the surface is brown in spots and appears dry, 1 to 2 minutes per side. While the first tortilla cooks, shape and begin cooking another. Continue shaping and cooking the remaining tortillas in this manner. As they’re done, wrap them in a slightly damp dishtowel to keep them warm and flexible.

You can make the tortillas up to an hour before serving. Wrap them in a clean, slightly damp dishtowel, and then wrap the towel in foil. Keep warm in a 200°F oven.

I served mine with pork tenderloin that I had slow-cooked in my crockpot with garlic and the spice rub that I use when I smoke pork shoulder. I also chopped up veggies from our garden — tomatoes, green bell peppers, jalapeños, and cucumbers. Picked up some avocados, cilantro, and limes from the store to round things out. It was friggin delicious!

As I tend to do with Mexican food, I paired the meal with IPA. Spicy food just screams for IPA. So good!

1 Response to Homemade corn tortillas

  1. Thanks for your experience and input, however, you didn’t prepare your corn tortillas from scratch. To do this you must start with dried field corn(dent corn kernels_. You must nixtamalized this corn by cooking it to a boil, simmer it, and add calcium hydroxide…slacked lime, or as in Mexico it is called CAL. Then cooking it long enough to remove the translucent kernel covering, letting it sit for 8 hours, wash and rub these kernels between your hands and remove these coverings. You remove the slaked lime I use 4 tablespoons to 4 cups of dried corn kernels with repeated washings while removing the covering. Next using a grinder, like a meat grinder, only one made for corn of beans you make the Masa….. these you form into balls that are pressed out for the tortillas, you don’t utilize powdered nixtamalized Harina de Maiz.Please try it, you’ll love it and get the kids involved, fun for sure…a great rewarding meal too! Thanks for this post.