Flour tortillas at home?
October 11, 2010 2:26 PM   Subscribe

How do I make decent (but preferably great) flour tortillas at home?

After many years of eating chalky, bad store bought tortillas (I live in the northeast) or having to ship them back here from my old local place in Southern California, I'm going to try making them at home.

Anybody have any tips for successful flour tortilla preparation at home? I have pretty good corn tortilla skillz already. Thanks!
posted by pianoboy to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Robert Rodriguez's Sin City Breakfast Tacos included a recipe for kick-ass homemade tortillas. Sometimes the video gets taken down, but you can still find it. This one still works.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:28 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I use the recipe here and they turn out great.
I often have to cook them a little longer than the recipe calls for.
posted by Adridne at 2:51 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

I found that several recipes work well, but you need to make LOTS of them the first few times or you find every recipe unsatisfactory.
posted by SMPA at 3:20 PM on October 11, 2010

The recipe I use comes from Beth Henspergers' "The Bread Bible."

4 c white flour
1 1/2 T baking powder
1 1/2 salt
1/2 c shortening or lard
1 1/2 c warm water

Mix until they come together, then allow to rest from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Shape into small balls, then allow to rest again for 20-30 minutes.

Roll out on a lightly floured board

Cook on a griddle or comal. This part will go fast, so watch it.

As good as my mom's!
posted by Gilbert at 3:44 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

err, that what 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
posted by Gilbert at 3:47 PM on October 11, 2010

For a different slant, replace 20% of your AP with mesquite flour. It will give your tortillas a naturally (not too) sweet, wonderful flavor. Since it contains no gluten, you may have to use bread flour. Different brands of AP vary in gluten content.
posted by JABof72 at 4:33 PM on October 11, 2010

I saw the question on the front page and found that Adridne beat me to it. Best tortillas I've ever had.
posted by dogmom at 5:38 PM on October 11, 2010

I often add just a little bit of buttermilk powder to my flour tortilla recipe - it gives them a little bit of tang that I like quite a bit.
posted by Philbo at 6:01 PM on October 11, 2010

Like you, I grew tired of the rubbery discs sold at my local grocery store. So I tried making them myself. They turned out OK, I guess, but with the amount of tortillas I eat on a weekly basis, I couldn't keep up.

Then I found La Abuela raw, frozen tortillas (first product at the linked website -- green packaging). When you make it on your own, the most important thing (for me) was getting the dough very flat, which is hard to do. A package of La Abuela tortillas comes with 20 extremely flat, round pieces of dough. To get them ready to eat, you just heat up a pan and cook each side for roughly 20 seconds. And the quality is AMAZING -- just as good as home made tortillas, in my opinion.

The only place I can get them is Wal-Mart, though it looks like HEB is an option as well. Their website has a list of distributors, or you can buy them online as well. (The online price is very good, actually. Same as what I pay at Wal-Mart.)

I buy 5-10 packages at a time and store them all in the freezer save for a single package in the fridge. When that runs low, I move a new one to the fridge.
posted by nitsuj at 6:08 AM on October 12, 2010

Thanks for these recipes, now I have to try to make my own, but just for the record, if you can find the Mission brand, they are miles better than the rest. You can find them in NY sometimes and I keep backup stock in the freezer, as nitsuj does.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:08 AM on October 15, 2010

Mission brand is pretty good, but by far the best tortillas I have ever had (including a variety of homemade ones in SoCal and Mexico) are the Trader Joe's handmade tortillas. They sell non-hand made ones which are only ok, but the hand made ones are truly amazing.
posted by vegetableagony at 9:19 PM on October 17, 2010

Best answer: Thanks, everyone, for the great thoughts. I made a batch tonight using the recipe in the Sin City video mentioned above and they were fantastic. I've adapted my own recipe for them in the food processor, below.

(and yes, I used lard)

2 c. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ c. lard, butter or shortening

Using a food processor, pulse ingredients just until they are a crumbly, cornmeal-like consistency; the mixture should *just* bind together in a clinched fist, then crumble back apart again.

Pulse in ¾ cup warm water just until dough forms a ball. Remove from food processor and knead gently for a minute or two. The dough should feel smooth and elastic.

Break dough up into 8-10 golf-ball sized balls. Cover them with a dampened cloth and let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the tortillas with a rolling pin; preferably one with a small diameter. Cook in a dry skillet (preferably cast iron) or comal, over medium heat, about 1 minute per side. Blistering on the surface of the tortillas is normal.

Keep warm and covered until ready to serve.
posted by pianoboy at 7:15 PM on October 24, 2010

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