tortilla recipe...sort of


It seems my tortilla photos from the last post have left some readers hungry for the recipe. I must preface this by saying that it's not so much about a recipe as it is about experience and consistency. Remember, I said that my Grandmother has been perfecting her technique for 70+ years, so it's going to take some practice!

It's not even my Grandmother's recipe that I follow...because she doesn't use a recipe! She measures by sight and touch and she nails it every time. She is a tortilla genius. She can make any size batch she wants and somehow knows the perfect proportions for the ingredients. On the other had, I have to follow measurements or I am doomed to fail, so I refer to a randomly Googled recipe that Seth found one day. Click here to go to the recipe page.  Ultimately, I think you can start with any recipe--the key is practice, practice, practice, like so many other things. 

Basically, tortillas are made from five ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, fat and water. It's the "fat" part that will vary for some people. We don't buy lard or shortening in our household, which are the two most common fats to use in the recipe. Instead, we substitute with oil, specifically canola oil, although we first tried olive oil. Changing the fat will change the outcome, noticeably in flavor as lard will likely appeal to the meat eater with that smoky rendered animal fat (honestly, this is hands down what makes my Grandma's tortillas what they are, flavor-wise!)

Also, you'll need a good cast iron plate or skillet, or what is referred to as a comal, which is a plate with a handle. I use a plate that likely has some other official name but I'm not sure. It was handed down to us from my Grandma and it's about 8 inches in diameter--perfect for taco-size tortillas. You'll notice it in the pics from the previous post, specifically under the stack of finished tortillas and the close up of the single tortilla cooking and bubbling up. Anyway, regardless of what you use, it has to be cast iron and it has to be preheated. Again, this will take some time but may come a bit easier to those with a gas stovetop so you can fine tune the flame a bit better.  

Two other things that effect the outcome are the kneading process (knead too long and it will yield tough tortillas that are hard to roll out, in my experience) and the rising process (the dough has to rest at least 10 minutes so you get a light and fluffy tortilla rather than a dense one).  

Bottom line, with a little patience, consistency and repetition you'll be making homemade tortillas in no time. It took me years to get enthused about carrying on this tradition, but thankfully I saw the light after Seth's attempts at tortilla making. Although I don't make them quite the same as Grandma, it's still "from scratch" and waaaay better than any partially hydrogenated, loaded with preservatives, lasts for weeks on end, bleached flour discs from a factory. Not to mention that those store bought ones taste like soap. Yes, that's right. Store brand or name brand, I think the preservatives are reminiscent of Dawn detergent. Don't believe me. Try a big 'ol bite of a plain tortilla from the store--no spreads, sauces, fillings, etc, just plain tortilla. Now close your eyes and focus on that aftertaste. Yum, freshly washed dishes. Now throw the rest of them away and start mixing up those five ingredients!



tortillas: the real way


Yum. Black bean tacos with homemade tortillas. And spinach. And salsa. And cheese AND sour cream. Because, two fats are better than one. Did I mention homemade tortillas?

We've been dabbling with making our own tortillas over the past year. First it was Seth who made them, and then I became interested because, well, I thought I could make better ones. And I can, so I do. I am the tortilla maker in our house. However, it's ultimately my Grandmother who makes the best tortillas. EVER. I'm not even going to attempt to compare my tortillas to hers (she's been making them for 70+ years). So instead I will just post a few images of the tortilla making process and let you marvel at my talent. Enchiladas, anyone?






Mother's Day








After dinner last night I asked Seth to take some photographs of me and Logan to commemorate Mother's Day. I think he got some great ones, don't you?!? I can't believe I'm going to turn 30 next month and Logan will be three in August. Wow. Neither of us looks our age. Logan's usually mistaken for being older, and as it has always been my story, I look young for my age. But now that I'm weeks away from 30, I think I'll start embracing that!