Flour Tortillas (Tortillas de Harina)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, plus more for rolling out
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons olive oil (light flavored), plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
Place the flours, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; whisk to combine. Remove ½ cup of the mixture and place in smaller bowl; use a fork to stir in the olive oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes. (This frozen mixture will simulate shortening when combined with the remaining flour, a technique the test kitchen at Eating Well magazine used a dozen or so years ago.)
Place the dry flour mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Scoop out spoonfuls of the semi-frozen olive oil mixture and place on top of the flour. Process in quick pulses to combine until it resembles coarse cornmeal.
Dump everything back into the large bowl. Drizzle in about 1 cup of the warm water while stirring with a fork until you have a soft dough. If you have dry spots, just sprinkle on a little more of the water, a teaspoon at a time. You may not need the entire 1½ cups.
Turn dough onto the countertop and knead just until combined - you don't want much gluten development. Place a bowl on top of the dough, or cover with plastic wrap (this prevents the dough from drying out) and let rest 25-60 minutes.
If you want relatively thick 8-inch tortillas, divide the dough into 10-12 pieces, and form into a ball. For thinner, crisper ones (or if you have a smaller griddle/skillet), divide into 15-20 pieces. Oil your hands so the dough doesn't stick.
Place the balls on an oiled baking sheet, flatten with the heel of your hand, cover with plastic wrap and rest for about 15 minutes. Flatten the balls again to make them relax more, then let them rest, covered, 10-15 minutes more.
When you are ready to make the tortillas, heat a griddle or large flat skillet over medium heat. Wipe a wooden surface with a damp cloth and sprinkle with flour. Flour your rolling pin.
Roll a circle of dough from the center and keep lifting and turning to keep the circle round. Keep a cup of flour nearby so you can keep dusting the surface of your board and the rolling pin. Keep moving your dough so it doesn't adhere to the board. You can pick up the tortilla when it's about 8-9 inches (if you've made the larger balls) and stretch it more by running your fingers underneath. This step isn't necessary, but produces even thinner tortillas.
Lay the rolled tortilla gently on the heated griddle. When the tortilla is covered with bubbles, turn, using your fingers or a spatula. Cook until the tortilla is freckled, about 60 seconds on each side, longer if you prefer them crispier and more cooked through. I turn the tortilla several times until the bubbles stop forming and are golden.
Place the tortilla inside a folded dish towel to keep warm, and repeat with remaining dough. Serve at once, or let cool, then wrap in foil or place in a Ziploc bag. They will keep for several days.
Per tortilla: 185 calories, 4g protein, 29g carbohydrate, 6g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 307mg sodium, 2g fiber.
To make quesasdillas
Instructions: I stockpile strips of charred poblano chile, bits of chopped jalapeño, sauteed mushrooms and even minced spinach to pile on to quesadillas.
To make a quesadilla, place a few teaspoons butter or oil into a large skillet, and heat. When bubbling hot, slip in a flour tortilla. On one half of the tortilla, arrange 3 or 4 slices of cheddar. Add bits of your own stockpile. My favorite is strips of poblano chiles.
Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the filling. Sizzle the quesadilla until light golden. Turn to cook the other side until golden. Remove and eat.
For a party, make several quesadillas and cut them into strips. They're good when made with fresh Dungeness crab and fontina cheese.