A few years ago I was casually reading some recipes on various food blogs and I came across a woman who made an outrageous claim. She said that once you begin to make tortillas at home from scratch you’ll NEVER buy them at a store again – which I thought was a lot of big talk from this strange lady on the internet! But here I am, only making tortillas from scratch now. That blogger knew. Now I know and I want you to know too! You can thank me later, your local strange lady.
So these tortillas are the seriously the best. They are tender, chewy and way more flavourful than store-bought. They work perfectly for quesadillas, wraps, tacos, fajitas and basically anything else you’d want to wrap in a warm soft shell of happiness. They also work great as a thin crust pizza crust, just brush with a little olive oil and top with your favourite toppings and bake at 400º until everything crisps up nicely. They’re also very simple to make, AND they freeze beautifully – did I mention that they’re the best homemade tortillas? They’re the best homemade tortillas.
I can’t say that they’re the best I’ve evvvvver had. I had the best tortillas ever back in 2008, about four hours south east of Mexico City in a town called Tehuacãn. I was there on a missions trip with other cool teenagers from my church – see photo below for proof, I’m in the middle-ish in green with the mary-jane style croc sandals.
I watched an old woman make the tortillas from scratch and she was absolutely amazing. We didn’t speak the same language, but I remember her smile and how she let me roll out some of the dough. She would laugh and laugh when I didn’t understand her, but I didn’t care – I was in awe. I watched her skillfully cook them on a hot pan over a fire, flipping them carefully with her fingers. Those were the best tortillas I’ve ever had, but I’ll give you a recipe for something similar you can make at home.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 cup very warm water
- Combine all dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix well using the dough hook attachment.
- Add oil and water with mixer running at a medium speed. Mix for 1 minute, stopping several times to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula or your mix ‘n scraper.
- After about 1 minute, or when mixture comes together and begins to form a ball, decrease mixing speed to low. Continue to mix for 1 minute or until dough is smooth.
- Transfer from mixing bowl to a clean work surface. Divide into 16 fairly equal portions by cutting the dough in half four times.
- Form each piece into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand. Cover flattened balls of dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.
- After the rest time, heat a large dry pan over medium-high heat. I use my skillet. Roll each dough piece into a rough circle, about 6-7 inches in diameter. I use my broken marble rolling pin from the thrift store with no handles, but Pampered Chef has this beautiful one. The marble stays cool so the dough doesn’t stick to it. #neato
- When your pan is very hot, place one dough circle in and allow to cook for about 1 minute or until bottom surface has a few pale brown spots. The uncooked surface will begin to show a few little bubbles. If the tortilla is browning too fast, reduced your heat a bit. If it’s taking longer than a minute to see a few pale golden brown spots on underside of tortillas, increase the heat a bit. Flip and cook for about 30 seconds. You want the tortilla to be soft but have a few small pale golden brown spots on surface. Remove tortilla from pan and stack in a covered container or zipped bag untill all tortillas are cooked. This will help to keep them soft and pliable.
Serve warm or allow to cool for later use. I usually freeze mine in a large ziplock bag.
- I prefer to work on a clean surface for rolling so that the dough is easier to stretch and then it kind of grabs the counter. You might find that you prefer a lightly floured surface depending on your countertop, however I become frusterated as the dough pulls back and I find it hard to get the tortillas thin enough.
- If your dough is pulling back a LOT and you’re having a very hard time with your roll out, you should let the dough rest about five minutes longer. Sometimes the resting time varries depending on temperature/humidity in your home. The dough should be more workable after a little more time.
- Please don’t stack uncooked tortillas on top of each other or they will stick together, and you’ll be very sad.
- The frozen tortillas will separate pretty easily if you let them warm up on the counter for a few minutes, and then you can toss them in the microwave to warm up more as needed.
That’s it folks! Please let me know how it goes, and if you have any embarrassing pictures from 2008 – I’d really love to see those too.
Next week I’ll share my favourite thing to put in these tortillas! Stay tuned!