Cristina’s Homemade Flour Tortillas


by Cristina Zurita Ceniceros
Makes one dozen 10″ tortillas | Prep Time 20 minutes
from Edible Seattle March/April 2009

Like pie crust, great tortillas get easier with practice. And just like any homemade bread, good homemade tortillas are exponentially better than storebought.

3 cups all-purpose flour (you can use up to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup shortening, room temperature (Cristina prefers the non-hydrogenated Spectrum)
1 cup water, heated to boiling point in a saucepan and set

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Rub in the shortening with your fingers until the mixture resembles heavy, damp sand.

Making sure the water is as hot as you can tolerate, add about 1/3 cup to the flour mixture. Using your fingertips, lightly mix the flour and water, until smooth clumps of dough are formed. Remove clumps when they are soft and no longer sticky and set on the counter. Add another 1/3 cup water and repeat, until flour mixture is used up. (If it is necessary to use a bit more water, then do so, but be careful not to use too much. The dough must be soft, never sticky.)

Return dough clumps to the bowl and knead for 30 seconds into a smooth, cohesive mass. Do not overmix.

Begin preheating your griddle or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Break off small balls of dough, large enough to fit in your palm, and shape into round patties for rolling. There should be approximately 12 balls of dough when you finish.

Condition the rolling pin and rolling surface by rubbing a bit of dough over the entire area. Roll out the patties, starting in the middle and working out. Do not be overly concerned about the final shape—if your tortilla isn’t round, do not re-roll, or it will be too tough. At this point, you can also freeze the rolled out tortillas between layers of wax paper.

Cook tortillas at medium heat until spotted with brown on both sides; if the griddle is at the correct temperature, air bubbles will begin to appear after about 25 seconds. Set on a plate covered with a dish towel if the tortillas will be eaten that same day.

To warm them again, gently heat on the griddle. Never microwave them.

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