February 10, 2014

Homemade flour tortillas!

I had to put an exclamation point in the title because these are homemade flour tortillas! Which means you can make them at home and use them for tacos or burritos, eat them with fajitas, make them into flour tortilla chips or roll them up warm with butter, cinnamon and sugar for a snack! They make a mean tortilla chip, too.

And, even better, you can do all of that even if you live in a country (or state) that suffers from a serious lack of decent tortillas.

I'm from California where all you have to do is go outside, get yourself to a store or farmer's market and, before you know it, ta da! you're home again with a nice stack of soft flour tortillas at a (often very) decent price. So it was a pretty heavy blow when I moved here and realized that the flour tortillas you find in the stores in Munich are heavy, gummy and all-around pretty ick.

After years of weighing down my suitcases with mounds of tortillas and other food products, I finally sat down and looked up homemade tortillas online. Duh! What took me so long?

These tortillas are light and fluffy and taste really, really good. My favorite thing to do is to eat the first one out of the pan with a little butter while I finish making the rest. And, although it does take a little bit of time to roll them out, these tortillas are incredibly simple to make. 5 ingredients, rolling pin and a very hot pan. That's all you need.

Homemade flour tortillas!
Adapted ever so slightly from Homesick Texan

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons olive oil (The original recipe calls for vegetable oil. I always have olive oil handy and find it gives the tortillas a bit more depth, but you can use vegetable oil instead.)

3/4 cups warm milk

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and oil. Add the warm milk, pouring it in slowly and stirring between each pour. Stir or combine with your hands until the mixture forms a loose, sticky ball.
Knead for two minutes on a floured surface until the dough is firm and soft. (You might need to keep adding a bit more flour to the floured surface as you go. The dough seems to suck it right up.)

Place the dough in a ball and cover with a damp cloth. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Break off small sections of the dough - I usually golf ball-sized chunks - and form them into small dough balls. Golf ball-sized chunks will give you around 12 tortillas, but you can make them smaller (for tacos) or larger (for really big burritos). Place these on a plate and cover for another 10 minutes. Make sure they aren't touching.

At this point you can actually let the dough rest for 30-40 minutes if you have an errand to run or get distracted.

On a floured surface, pat a dough ball into a circle and roll it with a rolling pin from the center until it's thin and about 6-8 inches in diameter (very much like rolling out a pie crust). Keep the rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.

Heat your skillet (preferable an iron skillet) on high and cook the tortilla about 30 seconds on each side. It will start to puff up (on both sides) when it is down. Keep the tortillas covered in a clean kitchen towel or napkin until ready to eat. You can reheat them in the skillet, over the flame on a gas-burner stove or in the over wrapped in tinfoil.

Store leftovers tightly wrapped in a damp towel in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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