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Homemade Flour Tortillas

Once upon a time, I knew a lady named Estella Almaguer Rodriquez from Chihuahua, Mexico.  We had a good time together.  We taught Bible classes together. We ate together, We played together. We studied together, and we cooked together.  She taught me a lot about Mexican food, and she was a good cook. If you look back through my blog, you can find other things she taught me like Mexican salsa, refried beans, fajitas, etc.  When she got married, she went away, and I only heard from her a few times after that. I promised you when I was making those blogs about Mexican food  that I would also teach you  to make homemade tortillas.  Today is the day. This blog is about making homemade flour tortillas.

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I begin by finding a place on my cabinet where I can roll things out. My cabinet space here in Korea is virtually non existent.  The place I have to use is small, and it isn’t really a cabinet, but I use it as such because I need it to be a cabinet.  Korean kitchens can be very small. They are more like kitchenettes.  I cover the space with tinfoil.

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I put 3 cups (675 grams) of flour in a large mixing bowl.
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I add 3 teaspoons of baking powder to the flour.
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I add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil to the 3 cups of flour.

Next, I get out a large mixing bowl.  In the large bowl, I put 3 cups of four (675 grams) of flour.  For each cup of flour I use, I put one teaspoon of baking powder. However, I have learned that they turn out the same whether you put baking powder in them or not, so if you can’t get baking powder, it is okay, just skip it.  Next, I put three tablespoons of cooking oil.  The cooking oil is not optional. You must use cooking oil or the tortillas will be crunchy and not like tortillas at all.

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I put some water in the flour, baking powder, and cooking oil mixture.
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After I put the water in, I realize it really isn’t enough water because when I mix it, it doesn’t turn into a stiff dough, so I add more water.
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I add a little more water.
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After I add a little more water, I mix it and get a stiff, sticky dough. It should be stiff, but not sticky.
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The solution to the sticky dough is to dump a little more flour in, and then mix it up again.
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knead your dough, and if the dough has enough flour, it will not stick to your hand. If it is still sticky, add more flour.
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When you pull your hand off the dough, there should be flour on your hand, but the dough should not be sticking to you.

The next step is water. Estella never gave me an exact amount of water.  This is how she did it, so this is how I do it.  You have to add water, but not too much because what you are looking for is a stiff dough that is not sticky.  I first put a little water in, then I mix it up, but it isn’t really dough yet, so I add a little more water.  After I add a little more, I get a stiff dough, but it is kind of sticky, so I put just a little more flour in the dough.  I end up kneading it like bread dough to make sure all the flour goes through the dough.  When you pull your hand off the dough, your hand should be dirty from flour, but the dough should not stick to your hand.

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Something to use to roll out my tortillas.
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Put just a little bitty bit of flour on your tin foil and spread it around. If you use a lot, your tortillas will burn.

 

Next, I take out something to roll my tortillas out with. I choose a glass glass because it is sturdy and flat on the outside. If you have a rolling pin, that is best. I have one, but my daughter works in my kitchen too, and I am not sure where she put it.  I put a tablespoon or two of flour on the tinfoil where I have prepared it to roll the tortillas out.  I don’t put a lot like you are making cut out cookies or biscuits. I Just put a little because if you use too much flour, the tortillas will burn. I spread the flour around the tinfoil a bit.

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Take a little bit of dough out that is slightly larger than a walnut and make a ball.
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Put the ball of dough down on your slightly floured place and flatten it out.
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Roll your dough out into a circle as best you can. The dough should be rolled out thin.

Next, I get a piece of dough that is slightly larger than a walnut.  I make a ball, then I flatten it out on the slightly floured tinfoil.  I begin rolling it out.  I try to roll it out to make it as round as I can.  The Mexicans judge you on how round and pretty your tortillas are.  In the beginning, it is hard to get them right, but with practice, you will be making pretty tortillas.

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I get out my cast iron skillet.
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I use a paper towel and rub oil around on my pan. I don’t use much oil because I am going to be baking, not frying.
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I turn the fire under my skillet to medium high.

Next, I get an iron skillet.  If you only have a skillet that isn’t iron, it works, but the iron skillet is best.  I turn the fire on under the skillet to medium high.  I put just a drop of oil in my skillet and rub it around with a paper towel.  I am going to be baking these tortillas, not frying them.

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After my pan has heated up, I put my tortilla in the pan and wait a minute or two, and I can see that is has begun to bubble up.
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Here is a close up of he bubbles. When you see the little air pockets in the tortilla begin to raise like this, it is time to turn the tortilla over. It won’t take long.
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When you turn your tortilla over, you will see lots of black and brown spots. That is normal. That is what it is supposed to look like.

After I have given my pan a chance to warm up for a bit, then I put my tortilla in the pan.  While it is cooking, I begin rolling out more tortillas. However, I don’t leave the tortilla alone because it will only take about a minute or two on each side according to how high your fire is.  As I watch the tortilla, I see that it begins to bubble up.  When I begins to bubble up, that means that is cooking inside, and it is ready to turn over.

I do the same thing again and again until all the tortillas are cooked.

 

When I turn it over, I see there are black spots on my tortilla. That is okay. That is what a tortilla is supposed to look like.  I cook it a minute or two more, then I look at the underneath side, and it looks like the top, so I take it off and put in on a plate.  I leave the fire on and put the next tortilla in the pan.  While it is cooking, I roll out another tortilla.

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My stack of tortillas are finished, and my daughter will be very happy!

I do the same thing again and again until all my dough is used and my tortillas are finished. My daughter has been after me to make these. She loves them! She is right when she says they are so much better than store bought tortillas, but I hardly make them because I am lazy.  It is much easier to buy tortillas and use them, but they just aren’t as good as these, so I make these sometimes.  I plan on making homemade enchiladas for dinner tomorrow, and I made these ahead of time so it wouldn’t be so difficult tomorrow.  Whenever I cook, I often do things ahead of time to make it easier the next day.  When I made pumpkin pie and pumpkin cookies, I cooked my pumpkin the day before.  When I make mashed potatoes, often, I peel them, cut them up in the morning, and just leave them until it is time to actually cook them.  It is a lot easier to do it ahead of time instead of trying to do everything all at once. –I hope you enjoy your homemade flour tortillas. I know we will. 🙂

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