Homemade Flour Tortillas

I don’t make flour tortillas from scratch very often because they take a little time, but every time I do (and I did yesterday) I vow never, ever to buy tortillas in the store again. Flour tortillas are high on the list of things that just don’t translate well to mass-production/supermarket fare, and while larger urban areas do have specialty markets that offer fresh tortillas for sale, I don’t happen to live near one. The tortillas in my store are lifeless, wrapped in plastic, and were probably churned out when Grover Cleveland was president. Okay, so that’s probably not the case. I’m sure they’re as fresh as mass-produced supermarket tortillas can be, which pretty much means there’s just no comparison. Once you’ve tried homemade flour tortillas—either at an authentic Mexican restaurant or at home—it’s really hard to regard the storebought tortillas as anything but inferior. Try these sometime! They’re a real treat, and after you get through the first handful, they’re a cinch to make. Note that I use lard in my recipe (it’s sold in supermarkets next to the Crisco), but you can use Crisco if the word “lard” makes you want to hurl.

Photo by Gayle H.
Adapted from thepioneerwoman.com

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

12

servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

12

servings

Adapted from thepioneerwoman.com

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2

    cups All-purpose Flour

  • 2 1/2

    teaspoons Baking Powder

  • 1

    teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1/2

    cups Lard Or Vegetable Shortening

  • 2

    Tablespoons (additional) Lard Or Vegetable Shortening

  • 1

    cup Hot Water

Directions

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large wooden bowl. Stir together. Add spoonfuls of lard or shortening (use 1/2 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons), then use a pastry cutter to combine the ingredients. Cut mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly pour in hot water, stirring to bring mixture together. Lightly knead dough 30 to 40 times, or until it becomes a cohesive ball of dough and is less sticky. Cover with a tea towel and allow dough to rest for at least an hour. Roll into ping pong size balls, place on a tray, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rest for another 20 to 30 minutes. When you’re ready to make the tortillas, head a dark or cast iron griddle to medium/medium-high heat. One by one, roll out balls of dough until very, very thin. Throw tortillas (one by one) onto the griddle. Cook on each side for 20 to 30 seconds, removing while tortillas are still soft but slightly brown in spots. Remove and stack tortillas, and cover with a towel to keep warm. Serve immediately or allow to cool before storing tortillas in a container. To warm, nuke tortillas in the microwave, or wrap in foil and warm in the oven. Helpful tips: * Make sure the water you pour in is very warm. * Allow the dough to rest, both after kneading and after forming into balls. * Roll out very thin. * Get the heat right on your stove: Too hot, and the tortilla will burn in spots. Not hot enough, and the tortilla will begin to crisp before you can get it to brown. I get my stove between medium and medium high heat; that seems to do the trick. * Use a dark griddle or cast iron skillet to brown the tortillas. * Cook just long enough to lightly brown the tortilla in spots; don’t cook too long or tortillas will crisp. You want them to be soft and pliable when you serve them. * Finally: Have fun! And enjoy them. They’re absolutely scrumptious.

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