Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pressing matters: making corn tortillas

I forgot I had a tortilla press. When I was recently riffling through my cabinet on the hunt for an errant springform pan, I came across it buried under a pile of Chinese delivery menus and a rolling mat. There it sat—dusty, rusty and unloved. I felt so unappreciative, especially as my tortilla press had been a gift from my mother.

When I lived in Iowa in the early '90s, the only flour tortillas I could find were at the health-food co-op, and they were the color and texture of cardboard, heavy with grains and just way too nutritious for me. I wanted fluffy, thick white-flour tortillas that came spotted with brown specks from the comal, still warm in the bag they were so fresh. But that wasn't happening, so I realized I needed to take matters in my own hands and learn how to make flour tortillas at home.

After doing much research, I settled on a recipe from Diana Kennedy. I don’t know if it was my inadequacies or her directions, but something wasn't right. Working with the dough was like pulling elastic—I'd roll it out and just when I thought I’d formed a perfect tortilla, it would snap back to where I had started.

I don't know much about chemistry, but a friend suggested the proportion of fat to flour was incorrect. So I tested the dough with different types and measurements of fat in an attempt to achieve the perfect blend. But to little avail, the flour tortillas I tried to make were nothing like they should be. When I told my mom what I was doing, she said, "I hope you don't die in your apartment. Someone will find you and think you expired because of all those tubs of shortening and lard in your kitchen." Well, I didn't die. And since I kept on living despite the copious intake of pig and vegetable-oil fat, she said she would send me her tortilla press to help me along with my cooking adventure.

Her offer was a sweet gesture. But a tortilla press is used for making corn tortillas and back then I was all about flour tortillas. And by the time her gift arrived, not only had I grown tired of trying to replicate those airy, white-flour tortillas from home, but she had also included several packages of my favorite flat bread in my care package: my needs were met. I treated the flour tortillas she sent like gold, and while they were precious, I was satisfied. So my tortilla press (which had been used by my mom when I was a kid to make amazing homemade corn tortillas) spent the past 14 years languishing in multiple kitchen cabinets in three different states. Until yesterday.

I’m fortunate that in New York, Whole Foods sells decent flour tortillas—thick, fluffy and delicious—I don’t have to mess with making them from scratch for a quick fix. But the corn tortillas found here are another story. They’re plentiful, yes, but they are the rubbery variety that comes stacked in perfect 30-count cylinders, completely devoid of any human touch. They have no soul.

I’ve been getting into the flavors of corn tortillas lately—there’s nothing quite like a hot corn tortilla spread with a pat of butter and a dash of salt. It’s the perfect snack. Not to mention how well corn tortillas wrap around a variety of fillings such as beans, pork, chicken and beef. When I found my forgotten friend, I knew I should tackle making homemade tortillas again, only this time they’d be corn instead of flour.

There are slight variations in how people make corn tortillas at home. Some cooks prefer a wooden press, while others, like me, use a cast-iron one. Some suggest using wax paper on the press while others say you can cut circles out of a plastic bag. But while there may be a couple of differences in approach, every recipe I saw for the corn-tortilla dough was the same (heck, that common recipe was even on my bag of masa harina), and the instructions for cooking them are universal as well. And when it comes to taste, well, that should go without saying: anyone who has had a freshly fried corn tortilla hot off the skillet will agree, there’s just no comparison to the machine-pressed ones you buy at the store. They’re so different in texture and taste, you almost wonder how the two are related.

So I welcome my tortilla press back to the land of active cooking. I’m delighted I found it and it will never go unused and unloved again.

Corn tortillas
Ingredients:
2 cups masa harina (in New York, I can buy it at Kitchen Market. Do not use cornmeal!)
1 1/4 cups of warm water

Method:
Cut from a freezer bag two circles of plastic, the width of your tortilla press.
Mix the masa harina and warm water until a dough is formed.
Knead dough for about five minutes until smooth.
Divide into 12 equal-sized balls.
Heat an un-greased skillet, griddle or comal until very hot.
Place a piece of the cut plastic on the press, put a ball of dough on it, and then lay the other piece of cut plastic on top.
Press out the tortilla.
Take the tortilla wrapped in plastic off the press, gently peel off the two pieces of plastic and place tortilla in hot skillet.
Cook thirty seconds on one side, flip it, and cook a minute on other side. It should start to puff a bit. Flip it again and cook thirty seconds on the first side.
Place cooked tortilla in a basket lined with cloth or, if you have one, a tortilla warmer.
Repeat process for remaining balls of dough.

Note: If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can pat the balls into flat discs or roll them out with a pin. You can also place the balls (with the plastic) between two very heavy books and press them out that way.

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61 comments:

The County Clerk said...

OK... this is going to have to stop darlin.

I need to EAT some this stuff and not just look at photos of it.

Damn it. What the hell has happened to my life! I need some tortillas!

The County Clerk said...

And some borrach beans.

Linda said...

a tortilla press - i've never seen one of these. obviously i'm not from texas. what a shame. thanks for the heads up on this. i needed a better tortilla recipe too -- the last ones i made were miserably rubber-like.

mipmup said...

i just made tortillas for the first time this past weekend. what brand of masa do you prefer? i used maseca and the flavor just wasn't there.

Tommy said...

I came across your blog via Hungry in Hogtown. I have read some of your material and I gotta say, man I really like your site and your simple approach to food.

Your photography is excellent and it augments your writing really well.

You come across as a "Good ole food snob" without any "Bon Appetit " attitude.

I am gonna bookmark you for sure.

Nice to meet you.

Lydia said...

It's wonderful that you kept your mother's tortilla press until you were ready to try again. So often, especially when we move, it's easy for things we really love to get lost. There are good corn tortillas in NYC, in some neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn. Never as satisfying as making your own, though, especially with a kitchen tool that's a family treasure.

Freya said...

We have a tortilla press (yes, in England!) but it doesn't make very thin tortillas...however, you just can't beat the flavour of homemade ones. I like them in Tortilla Soup or Huevos Rancheros (deep fried then) best of all.
Freya

Shawnda said...

A tortilla press has been on my "want" list for ages. Just wish I had the space for it!

Cilantro said...

I took an extension class a while back on tortilla making. They used Maseca, which I like better than the other brands, and they added some fat to the mix. The resulting tortillas are more pliable and have much more flavor. They taught us this recipe, which I follow for wonderful corn tortillas: 2 cups dry masa, 1/4 cup softened fat (margarine, butter, lard) to 1 cup warm water. Mix it like you would a piecrust, combining the fat and masa and then adding the water. Wet your hands a little when pinching off the dough.

A friend of mine whose mother made tortillas when she was growing up told me that there is an old saying that the more the dough puffs up when you cook it, the more beautiful the cook. Your mileage may vary. :-)

Michaela said...

I moving away from Texas again in three weeks (to the midwest... no good Tex-Mex has yet to be found). I can't wait to try this recipe once I'm settled.

one tip from a friend when I was moving away is to take hot tortillas (was planning to buy some) and place wax paper between them to freeze them. They last great this way and might be helpful for those who want to make a larger batch and reheat them.

Homesick Texan said...

County Clerk--Hmmmmm, perhaps I'll make borracho beans this evening. Great idea!

Linda--They sell them on Amazon, I believe.

Mipmup--I used Maseca, and I didn't mind the flavor. Much better than storebought, but I haven't tried the others. I'm sure it's nowhere near as flavorful as fresh masa, though.

Tommy--Thank you! I'm a very simple person, I reckon, hence my simple approach to food. I look forward to seeing you again!

Lydia--I'm glad I managed to hold on to it as well, especially as I'm bad about throwing away important items when I get into a cleaning frenzy. As for the outer boroughs, I need to leave Manhattan more often, eh? Peter Meehan wrote about a tortilla factory in Brooklyn a few months ago, and I've been meaning to go there. Thanks for the reminder!

Freya--The ones I made weren't super thin either, but they tasted so good I didn't mind.

Shawnda--If I have the space in a tiny Manhattan kitchen surely you have the space in Texas?

Cilantro--Thanks for the tips! I'll have to try these next time I make a batch. And what a great saying!

Homesick Texan said...

Michaela--That's a terrific idea! Good luck in the Midwest. It was there that I taught myself to cook.

wheresmymind said...

I dig corn tortillas, but I find they break apart super easy...then I get all fired up and wish I had flour tortillas!!

nika said...

beauty! I use a cast iron pan (good work out and you do not end up making too many tortillas :-) Problem with my last batch is that I used an Emeril cast iron pan and it has his logo on the bottom so my tortillas were embossed with "liremE".

Cigarlady said...

I make both types of tortillas usually once a week, they taste so much better than bought. For flour tortillas, I use 2 cups of flour to 4 Tb of fat (half butter half shortening) 1/2 ts salt and 1/2 ts baking powder. One thing is this dough must rest to let the gluten relax. I let it set after mixing and then I divide the dough and pat it into 3 inch circles and let them rest again and then roll them out. Whenever I make either tortilla, I eat at least one with butter and salt. I use to make big tortillas, but my hubby likes smaller and thicker flour tortillas. The corn tortillas are great for tacos. I use a regular plastic bag, not freezer, because I find it more flexible and easier to peel off than freezer. The biggest rule, if you are in a hurry, the tortillas seem to take twice as long to make. I also use a nonstick griddle to cook the tortillas. I love the picture.

Anonymous said...

Hey I have the same tortilla press! I don't know why i get such a kick out of that but I do, lol.


Ari (Baking and Books)

christine (myplateoryours) said...

Your mom sounds like a hoot. "I hope you don't die in your apartment," indeed!

We used to make corn tortillas a lot but the novelty wore off and we gave the tortilla press to my step daughter. Now I want it back.

shauna said...

I, too, love corn tortillas with a pat of butter and some salt. (remember Monterrey House?) But I also love them reincarnated as puffy tacos or gorditas.
By the way, what high school did you go to?

Yvo said...

Man, making me hungry here....
BTW do you have any restaurants in NYC that come close to the kind of Tex-Mex that you like? I can't keep reading about this stuff and not make it, over and over, and not eat it, too. I need to eat it...

ann said...

My mom and I used to make homemade corn tortillas way up in frozen upstate New York when I was a kid. Her best friend was a Mexican lady from Oaxaca that had moved to Albany for love and she taught us tortilla making as well as all sorts of other wonderful traditional Mexican eats. I miss the flavor... All corny and wonderful and fresh. Maybe I'll try it again...

gilly said...

Excellent - I've been looking around for a corn tortilla recipe... I'm glad to have found your blog - lovely pictures!

scribbit said...

Oh my mom used to have one of those that we used on our Playdough. I wonder if she still has it . . .

Homesick Texan said...

Wheresmymind--If your eating tacos, you can double up and then they stay together. Also, these were so thick there wasn't a chance of them falling apart.

Nika--That's too funny. I'd love to see a picture of those!

Cigarlady--Thanks for the flour tortilla tips. Maybe mine were so elastic because I hadn't let them rest long enough.

Ari--That's cool you have the same press!

Christine--My mom, the hoot, read this post and emailed me to say, "I'd forgotten I gave you my tortilla press." I hope she doesn't want it back!

Shauna--I remember Monterrey House, we didn't eat there very often though. And making puffy tacos is next on my list of things to try. I went to Cy-Fair HS on the outskirts of town.

Yvo--See, that's the problem, there are restaurants here that serve Tex-Mex, but it just doesn't taste right. And the places owned by Pueblans are good, but also don't taste quite right either. I keep meaning to go to El Maguey y La Tuna--from what I hear they come pretty close.

Ann--What a lovely memory. You should try it again! (I reckon in your new neighborhood there has to be a Mexican grocer!)

Gilly--Thank you! Enjoy!

Scribbit--The tortilla dough reminded me a bit of Playdough in texture--I bet that was fun when you were a kid.

Julie said...

I've always wanted a tortilla press. And yours is so cool looking.

I've never tried making tortillas and my motivation to make corn tortillas is low these days because I've discovered a tortilleria that makes beautifully fragrant corn tortillas with a lovely, delicate texture -- a completely different beast than the stuff you buy at the grocery store -- for less than $2 a kilo.

But I don't have a good source for flour tortillas and I think that if I want decent ones I'm going to have to learn to make them. Any chance you'll do a future post on making those?

Susan said...

What a happy ending to a great story. Glad your tortilla press has been dusted off.
I've only had homemade tortillas once, and I can say I've never tasted better. Course I haven't tasted yours yet.

Cigarlady said...

The nice thing about tortillas, especially corn is that they are very forgiving. They don't need to be perfectly round and if you mess up a corn tortilla just smoosh it back together and try again, there is no gluten to toughen. I used to be scared to make them until I tried and found they were so easy, just give yourself plenty of time so that you don't get flustered. I got my press at World Market. My first press was from a Mexican grocery in Charlotte, but it was so roughly made that it didn't close and press properly so I bought another. Like so many other things, (macaroni and cheese, corned beef hash) once you've made it yourself, you are forever spoiled for store bought. I haven't tried using prepared masa, I can get a bag of it at the Mexican grocer, because it only stays good for a few days and dinner plans are somewhat fluid, how late my hubby works and whether I have a sinus headache, can delay me cooking something. Is using prepared masa any better than masa harina? I also must say I loved your chili powder mix and made up a jar of it. I used to bring out all my various chile powders and spices and Mexican oregano and just sort of add by eye, but this is easier. The chipotle powder gives it a nice flavor without too much spice.

Garrett said...

A friend of mine suggested your blog. very excellent! You have a new reader.

Toni said...

I used to make flour tortillas when I lived in New Mexico. I had a friend come by and make them at my house. He didn't measure anything - just dumped ingredients into the bowl. I made him pour the salt from his hand to mine before dumping it in, so I could get a feel for how much. I got pretty good at making tortillas - but only in that bowl!

I've never tried to make the corn ones. I've eaten other people's home made ones, though, and I agree with you - they bear no resemlence to the store bought ones. Thanks for the post! You're making me even more homesick for NM!

Draconian Clown said...

I am pretty sure I used the factory rubber torts you describe back home in Texas and at every foreign outpost since.

It requires too much patience of me to produce torts from a press. Unless, of course, they are really that much better! If so, it would be a project like making pasta or reloading shotgun shells.

I only met a few dozen torts I didn't like and in every case it was due to them being served underdone. It takes a mean place to serve a raw tortilla!

Acme Instant Food said...

I live in Los Angeles and there is NO SHORTAGE of tortillas, corn or flour, in the city. Thank God for that! However, reading this post makes me want to try making them. It sounds like a romantic, rustic kind of thing to do.

Eric from Eager Eater said...

I'm inspired. I have some smoked pork, and this will be the perfect match.

Homesick Texan said...

Julie--I think I will tackle flour tortillas again soon. Watch this space!

Susan--I'm glad I found it, too. Hopefully I'll be using it on a regular basis.

Cigarlady--I've never used prepared masa, just the flour. People say prepared tastes better, but I haven't found a local source for it yet. And I'm glad my chile powder recipe worked for you!

Garrett--Thank you and welcome! I love your blog, too!

Toni--You need to find that bowl! I think that corn is probably easier than flour, probably because the dough is simpler. Give it a try!

Draconian Clown--It does take patience, but the process is part of the fun and the rewards make it all worthwhile--as long as they're properly cooked!

Acme--I think we live in such an instant-gratification society, that anytime you stop and do something by hand there's a feeling of rustic romance. Try it, it's fun!

Eric--Oh yum! Pork goes so well with corn tortillas. You're making me hungry! (Did you smoke the pork yourself?)

Judith in Umbria said...

Thanks for the recipe, Tex. It was all I was missing after the holidays brought me a press from Houston and masa from Rome.

May I offer you my crema di pomodoro recipe in return? It's even easier than yours and dietetic if you've had too many tortillas.
http://expatsinitaly.com/judith/?p=15

MomLady said...

Hi, just discovered your blog. I'm not from Texas, though my son and his family are now living there. I remember what tortilla deprivation is like. When I was a kid our Navy family was stationed in Norfolk, Virgina. In those days the only tortillas available were canned. Yuck! Needless to say, we did without unless a visiting relative brought us the real thing. (Even though we're Hispanic, my mom didn't usually make her own -- no time with that many kids.)

I'm now in the Los Angeles area, so I have access to pretty good corn and flour tortillas -- some markets make them fresh and they're not bad. I've made the corn ones from masa harina. My tortilla press is made of heavy plastic and was put out by the Quaker Oats company. :) It gets the job done.

Does anyone know if you have to add anything to fresh masa when you're making corn tortillas? I'm assuming you'd use the plain masa? Masa preparada is for tamales. (Though in our family we prefer to buy the plain when we make tamales and beat in the shortening and broth ourselves. Can't use lard as we've all inherited my mom's high cholesterol.)

I should ask my mom for my grandmother's recipe for flour tortillas. They were rather thick and fat. I think they had baking powder in them.

Anyway, thanks for a good looking food blog.

kenneth.friend said...

I have read that lots of the presses commonly available tend to make uneven tortillas due to the engineering. (thin on the edges) I wonder if you can roll out your dough in a pasta machine? You know the one with the steel rollers and crank.

Homesick Texan said...

Judith, thanks for the lovely recipe! I can't wait for the pomodoros to be in season here!

MomLady--Canned tortillas? Are you joking? Blech! I've never used fresh masa, just the masa flour so I don't have an answer but I'm under the impression you don't have to add anything.

Kenneth--I've never used a pasta machine but I guess it's worth a try! I haven't had any problems with my press, though. Even if they're not perfect, they're still delicous.

Mary (www.ceresandbacchus.com) said...

And here I was all proud of myself for making rancho gordo beans and a pork shoulder with mojo for today's party (and salted butter caramel ice cream and simple syrup for the mojitos). I'm feeling deflated. But hopeful.

Bob The Dragon said...

FWIW...Iowa now has awesome tortillas, both corn & flour. :-) We've got such a large Hispanic population these days...

Now if I could just get my damned corn tortillas to separate from the press!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks. Where i grew up, you didn't have to make your own tortillas. The store-bought ones were just so good there was no point. Now I'm in Yankeeland and the prospect of good tortillas is bleak (and I'm allergic to wheat!).

Best, M.

(Port Arthur Tx native)

Peko Peko said...

Yes, a beautiful tortilla is a beautiful thing!

Sprittibee said...

I send countless people to your blog - especially for this and your flour tortilla recipe. I have a friend living in Italy right now going through Tex-Mex withdrawal. I'm surprised she's alive still (or her husband who is a hot-food fanatic). Not only do they have the problem with getting flour or corn tortillas, but they have ITALIAN CHEESE and nothing similar to our cheddar and Mexican varieties. Poor things. The only hot sauce they have there is tabasco (for a price)... and they don't have CILANTRO! Heaven forbid. I'd sure like to visit Italy, but man - an OCEAN between me and Tex-Mex would be the final straw!

Anonymous said...

For those people that live over here in Europe, yes even Italy one can find ingredients for tex-mex just under different names, for example cilantro is called coriander and if it cant be found in the local supermarket, one can check the local Asian food market where one can find fresh hot peppers to make hot sauce. If not Asian then check African and even Indian food stores which also have masa harina. As for cheese yes cheddar is hard to find, but jack cheese is quite common, its just named different, its usually made with cream and rennet no special flavors. Typical farmers cheese not aged. Just go to the cheese counter and sample cheeses that look like jack cheese

John said...

I live in Thailand, and when I started my quest to make corn tortillas -I had to make the masa myself!

If anyone else is struggling to find masa, it took me a while to figure this out - but popcorn works great when mixed with the lime. Just takes a little elbow grease to run it through the hand grinder!

Ah - the things we do for tortillas! Great blog post

Anonymous said...

Any tips on getting the plum sized ball of masa to stretch to a full 6 inches? I made a batch last night and, while they were tasty, they were so thick it was like folding a pita. Maybe my $12 press from the latin market doesn't provide enough pressure?

Homesick Texan said...

Anon--Are you using an iron or a wooden press? I use an iron one, and if I press real hard with both hands, it becomes thin enough. You could, after pressing, always roll it out a bit more with a rolling pin. Good luck!

Kristin said...

When I moved from Texas to the UK 6 years ago, I got so fed up with "enchiladas" made with flour tortillas, and "Corn" tortillas that were half flour that I actually got my folks to ship me one of these metal presses, and managed to find some Masa Harina at one of the small grocers in Edinburgh.

I have moved to Finland and still have it, but I cannot find masa, or packaged corn tortillas at all here...parents to the rescue again, they sent me some lovely Austin-made ones, which live in my freezer and are treated like little flat diamonds until I find a replacement.

Long live corn tortillas, they are one food I cannot do without! I just need to find a new source in Europe for either the flour or the tortillas themselves...

Radman said...

My mother used to use a tortilla press to make Indian rotis and parathas. same concept.

Anonymous said...

It never occurred to me to make my own Tortillas until I was at the Northeast Market in Baltimore City last week. Amid the fried chicken and deli stands, I found a stand selling Mexican and Central American food. I was about to order some tacos, but was surprised to find a hand-written sign advertising Valeadas for $3.

I had never heard of them, although now I know that Valeadas (also written as Baleadas) are a Honduran staple, involving a flour tortilla, refried beans, mantequilla, and sometimes egg or avocado.

I ordered one, and watched in amazement as the woman ran to the refrigerator and pulled out a tupperware bowl full of dough balls. Right in front of me, she fried up two fresh tortillas, and all I could think was, "oh yeah, I'm totally doing that."

The food was great, and now I've ordered a metal press from Amazon. I'm glad to have found your blog, so that I can experiment with the recipes.

For what it's worth, I've found that most common, everyday foods from around the world -- bagels, matzoh balls, pizza dough -- are not all that hard to make. Which, I suppose, accounts for all the people around the world who are not dead from starvation.

-- Brad from Baltimore

P.S. My friend Tricia grew up in Puerto Rico, and tells stories of her abuelita's tortillas which were so fluffy you could peel them in half lengthwise, while they were still warm and steaming.

Noor said...

I love love love your blog. I am from TN so I appreciate all this Southern food. I am also homesick, I am an expat in the Middle East now..

Lauren said...

I've started making my own flour and corn tortillas. I'm having problems working with the homemade corn tortillas, though. They seem so fragile compared to store bought. Today I made enchiladas, and no matter how I prepared the thing (briefly fried in oil, longer fried in oil, no oil just dipped in sauce, dipped in sauce then microwaved to warm)every single one of the tortillas cracked while trying to roll it. So they'll taste like enchiladas, but they're going to look funny. I tried using them to make fried tacos, and I couldn't get crispy, just chewy. So what am I doing wrong?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Lauren--It sounds like they may be too thick. Try using less on the press. And when you fry them, your oil may not be hot enough or you may not be frying them long enough.

Jeanne said...

Hi! I am thinking about selling homemade flour tortillas on the web. I live in New Mexico, grew up eating them hot from my mother's hands every day, two times a day. Crazy women, spoiled dad. You can pretty much buy them commercially across the country now, but they aren't like my mom's. I am looking for feedback, would you buy them? They freeze well. Stay separated so you can just pop one out and warm it up. Let me know.
Jeanne
PS: I didn't see anyone mention hot tortillas with fried eggs in the morning. Yummmmm

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jeanne--I'm sure someone would be interested.

Melanie said...

I am currently living in Kenya, East Africa and I've looked everywhere for a corn tortilla recipe without masa harina. I can't buy that anywhere here. Do you have a recipe without the harina or is there something I can substitute?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Melanie--Without masa harina, you'd need to nixtamalize your corn and then grind it to make masa. I don't know how to do this, unfortunately.

Kate said...

Thank you so much for this recipe! We left Texas over a year ago and were missing corn tortillas like crazy. I'm not much of a cook, but your recipe seemed simple, and it was! We planned for fajitas, but ended up sitting around the table eating tortillas and butter. Thanks!

Ashley- Buchanan County said...

My fiance's mother is bringing me back a big iron- square press from Guanajuato! I love making homemade corn tortillas- the ones in the packages smell and taste like vinegar, disgusting. I have never had luck making them between books or rolling them with a pin, but I do want to share that when I make them on the square press I take a plastic sack (like the ones you get from grocery stores), cut a long rectangle out of it to fit the press, wash the plastic, dry it, and use that instead of a freezer bag. Works great also to peel the tortillas off the plastic!

Vi said...

I remember viewing this recipe ages ago and getting a little sad at the fact that I had no tortilla press - well after looking closely at the picture and rifling through a few websites, I just realised that I've had one in the kitchen my whole life. That is a roti/chapati press! No joke, sold in India, made by Indians. So strange, they're actually identical. Now to track down masa harina...

Marsha said...

these are fabulous!!! great for tacos, enchiladas, and just about everything! a fellow Texas recommended adding lime juice to the dough to help keep it from tearing; I have done this once, but couldn't tell a difference...possibly I didn't add enough.

Sunshine from NM said...

I'm from New Mexico and my abuelita died @ 96 years of age. I was a professional cook at a large conference center when a woman started nagging me about white flour and how gross and unhealthy it is. Then after hearing her say. "eat white bread soon yooull be dead", at least a hundred time I told her that she was absolutely right and that was the cause of my 96 yo abuelitas death. I told the woman that my grandma had eaten tortillas all of her short life. :) needless to say she shut up. :) Lizzy

Rick said...

I have the same tortilla press and I am very happy with it. The plastic serves two purposes. One is to keep the masa from sticking to the press. The second is that it allows you to rotate your tortilla for a second pressing to get it even thinner.

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