"Let's be cheerful"! We have no more right to steal the brightness out of the day for our own family than we have to steal the purse of a stranger. Let us be as careful that our homes are furnished with pleasant & happy thoughts as we are that the rugs are the right color and texture & the furniture comfortable and beautiful"! Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, May 2, 2011

tortillas 101

my favorite for this job is the 3rd in 

I still purchase commercial tortillas now and then, but they can't come close to the flavor and texture of home-made.  My mother in law grew up in New Mexico and learned from her mother, who learned from her mother, who learned...

the underside shows the edges pressed forward, to meet in the center

Although I still don't have the giftedness that she does, I've learned to produce a tasty, good looking, facsimile!

roll once, then flip

They are wonderful fresh off the griddle with peanut butter or with a sprinkling of cheese for a simple lunch or a hearty snack.  Our favorite is ground beef cooked with red chili sauce sprinkled with cheese.  Just tear off a piece of tortilla, form it into a kind of scoop/spoon.  Then, eat the whole thing in one bite making a new 'spoon' for each bite!  Mmm...

continue rolling and rotating

For dinner serve with, shish ka bob (Americanized fajita), anything grilled and salad, or lay out a taco bar.

ready to flip

Homemade Flour Tortillas

3 cups flour (I like 1/2 unbleached white, 1/2 whole wheat)
1 heaping teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/4 cup olive oil (authentically shortening, but olive oil works great)
1 cup water

*Set your electric griddle to the highest heat setting.

Mix all dry ingredients.  Add oil and water, mixing with your hand.  You want to feel this, and it's only a small amount of dough so it's easy (and pleasant).  Add a tiny amount of water or flour to get the dough to the consistency that you need.  You want a soft dough but not sticky.  You do not need to knead it.
Make balls the size of small fists.  The ones I made are a little large because we were going to be wrapping ingredients inside.  If you are making these to serve beside something, a bit smaller is better (nicer looking on the plate, and easier to handle)  

Now let these rest.  (You'll notice that I am always very considerate of my breads. I always give them a rest before pounding, rolling, and sacrificing them to the inferno)

*Remember that anytime you have a waiting time for breads you are going to rinse everything you used.  Fill the sink with hot soapy water and place it all in there.  Wipe down you counters with a clean dish cloth.  Now it's time to cook the tortillas.

Sprinkle your work surface with a little flour.  Take your first ball and rotate it in you hands, gently pressing the edges (away from you with) toward the center.  This is the best way that I've found to make a disc that will roll to a uniform shape.  Now begin rolling and rotating, rolling and rotating, using gentle pressure.  After my first roll I flip the tortilla, but then I don't flip it again, just rotate.  When it's nice and thin place it on the hot griddle.

It's ready to flip when there are bubbles in the center (sometimes the bubbles are very tiny) and the edges are a bit dry.  Once the other side is no longer shiny (this happens very quickly) place the finished tortilla in a cloth lined basket.  They will steam and keep each other warm and soft.

the girls love making them

it's hip to be square!

Remember that the more you make these the easier it gets.  Also remember that the shape is really just a pride issue.  It doesn't affect the flavor!

enjoy... I mean it, have fun!

Yes, I do let my children young adults play with their food.  Don't judge me!

Blessings, Debbie


  1. Mmm. I made corn tortillas a little bit ago, and they were so wonderful I almost made a whole 'nother batch just to eat by themselves. I need to try flour tortillas again!

  2. I made some with shortening just last week! Think I'll try the olive oil next time:@)

  3. The tortillas looks so warm and delicious. I will have to try the recipe sometime soon.

  4. Your tortillas look great. I am so thankful that you included a recipe since I would like to try making these. I make naan bread which cooks the same so I think I can make tortillas.

  5. This is a good recipe to have on hand. No running out just to buy tortillas...I like that. I also like your tip about cleaning up while the dough rest. Playing with your food is good for the digestion!:-)

  6. Thanks for sharing...I need to do this, I have never tried, because we have fresh ones I can purchase so easily...this would be fun and Benjamin would love it.
    Oh I want your rolling pins!!

    Love your sew-saw on your header.

  7. That is a nice recipe, I haven't made them in a long time. My Dad made commercial tortillas in his grocery stores when I was young and I still love the smell of them cooking. Nothing better than warm tortillas and butter. :)

  8. YUM..nothing tastes as good as home made does it?! ;D

  9. YUMMM!!! :) these look very delicious! My sister use to make us homemade tortillas using a mix. I believe it was Masa Harina??? not sure of the name of it now. When she moved to N.Y. she couldn't find it at all, so when she would come back for visits she would buy it and ship it home! Here in California we eat a whole bunch of Mexican food. It is a family favorite for sure. I actually have never made homemade tortillas though, believe it or not. I will have to try out your recipe! Thanks for sharing...:)
    Have a great day!

  10. Debbie, Can these be made with wholemeal flour only?
    It good to let your children play with food. My daughter always encouraged her young ones. Maa.

  11. Oh...forgot to say, I love your rolling pins photo! :) beautiful!!

  12. I have never made tortillas before! I might just try this when the girls get home. It seems too fun to do alone.

  13. I love making tortillas too --- but haven't made white flour ones for a very long time. They are so delicious, though! I make mine from mesa flour --- and use one of those Mexican tortilla presses to flatten them out. There's something soothing about working so closely with your hands to create yummy food! Great post --- you have nice kids!

  14. Hmmmm, these look so good! I must try your recipe soon! Have a lovely day!

  15. Oh I bet these are so much better than the ones from the store!! I love your collection of rolling pins!

  16. My daughter and I made tortillas just the other night for fajitas! Couldn't make them fast enough. I have a press but could not locate it. That would have helped a lot :).

  17. What? It's that easy? Why haven't I done this yet?


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