Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making Flour Tortillas - Final Attempt

I think I did it...I'm close to mastering flour tortillas.  I had another practice round this weekend, and I feel satisfied with my progress.  I altered the recipe just slightly and I got even closer to making them with smooth, round edges.  The rolling definitely still needs practice, but I'm getting there.

I want to express appreciation to my husband for willingly consuming all my practice tortillas, and my brother for patiently listening to me dither about ingredients and technique over and over.  What a burden they must bear.

Here's the latest scenario...

Flour Tortillas
Made 9 tortillas

2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
5/8 cup warm water

Put flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl.  Then add 1/2 cup shortening and cut it in with two knives.  You take a table knife in each hand and cross them in the bowl and pull them away from each other to break the solid shortening into little pieces and mix it with the flour.  It is a concept used to make pastry.  You can also use your hands or a pastry cutter/mixer.  You want the mixture to be a little crumbly-looking, some say the texture should resemble peas.

Add the warm water a little bit at a time and use your hands to mix while doing that.  I needed to add  about 5/8 cup of water.  You might need to add a little more or less, so that is why you shouldn't just pour in the water all at once.  You want the dough to come together and be pliable, but not be too sticky or it won't roll out well.

Knead it into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes.

Heat a cast iron skillet/griddle over medium low heat.  Then, make balls of dough for each tortilla that is to be rolled.  I managed 9 this time.  Using a rolling pin, roll them out on a lightly floured surface, until they are about 1/6 inch thick.  You can push down a little harder than with piecrust, but don't over-handle or you can make the dough to tough.  I was closer to round tortillas this time.  I rolled from the center each time, and turned the roll of dough to keep myself even.  I also corrected the edges a bit with my fingers to try to make them more even.

Cook each tortilla on the hot cast iron skillet/griddle.  It take about a minute and a half on each side, and when the surface looks a little bubbly you know it is time to turn them.  Place the cooked tortillas in a towel-lined basket or wrap them in aluminum foil.  It is important to keep them warm.  They taste so much better hot.

I plan on making a big batch later this week for a special dinner we are hosting.  Wish me luck and I will share the results with you next week.

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