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The humble tortilla.

Have you ever wanted to make tortillas?

STEP NUMBER ONE:  Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the reality that small children will assault you as soon as you get out the flour container.  They WILL want to help.  Get out the child-size rolling pin before you start.  Make extra dough for them to roll out, lick, roll out some more, and lick again.  Turn your back while they lick the dough.  Cook the tortillas for them and serve them to their baby dolls and bears if you cannot bear the thought of eating the lovingly caressed dough yourself.  

THE RECIPE:  My mom gave me an easy recipe for tortillas that we’ve been using for years.  We’ve modified it to add whole wheat flour and we really enjoy them.  CAUTION:  this recipe will not produce tortillas like you get at the store.  To do that, you will need to use shortening and/or lard, white flour,  a cooking class with a patient Senora and an aluminum tortilla press.  What I am giving you is kind of like a tortilla.  🙂  You will not need to go to culinary school; very rudimentary childhood practice with playdough will suffice.  You will use  basic and HEALTHY pantry supplies that are readily available.  They cost WAY, WAY under $1.  We use our “tortillas” for  fabulous low budget bean burrito and soft taco nights–And, let’s not forget the quesadillas!

Yes, it is true, it is easier to pick up a baggie of (sometimes sodden) white tortillas at the store.  I have done it many times myself.  However, when I buy these tortillas that have a shelf life of 45 days, I am purchasing a preservative packed product that is most definitely made with trans fats.  If the label says zero grams trans fats, that only means it has less than 1 gram per serving.  If the ingredients list includes “PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL,” it contains trans fats.  Also, I think tortillas at the store are just expensive.  NOTE:  it would take forever to make enough for a huge crowd.  This is just a recipe  big enough for our family.  On party nights, I buy store tortillas and serve them with love and a smile.

1 c. white flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 T. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 c. hot water

4 T. oil (we use olive oil)

STEP NUMBER TWO:  Mix up the dry ingredients, stir in the hot water and oil.  The dough will be easy to work, be careful not to add too much flour.  It should NOT be as stiff as a bread dough.  Form it into a mass and then cut the dough into small pieces.  If you have patience and time for it, let the small pieces rest for a few minutes so that the gluten will develop.  After that, roll each small piece out with your rolling pin, trying to get it to look like a circle.  (Ha, ha)  Ed is really good at this because he is patient.  He also makes nice, thin tortillas.  I am in a hurry and mine turn out round-ish and more like chalupas than tortillas.  Whatever the case, they will eat.

I toss them onto a skillet warmed on medium.  (We have good luck with our two cast iron skillets.) Let them cook for a few minutes and then flip.  It just takes seconds if your pan is the right temp.  Stack ’em up on a plate and enjoy.

Note for quesadillas:  when I am making a fresh tortilla, I cook one side, then after I have flipped it, I toss on the cheese.  Generally, I try to lower the heat a bit so that the cheese has enough time to melt before the tortilla burns.  When the cheese has melted, I fold it over, plate it and cut into pieces.  If I’m making them for me or Ed, I spoon on a little sour cream and salsa after the cheese has melted.



About onlifeandbeans

I like to make the adventure taste good by cooking tasty, wholesome food. Most of what I've learned in cooking, I've picked up from cookbooks and lots of practice. (Thank you, Fannie Farmer, for the right start. ) I so appreciate cookbooks that tell how and why to do something; that's why I do the same for my readers. I want to know what is in my food. I want my family to sit down and share a meal together. I want our food to taste good. Home-cooking takes time, but it gives back rich dividends in budget minding, good health and familial love. One meal at a time.

9 responses »

  1. Thanks for the encouragement and recipe. I’ve been wanting to try making our own.
    Question – is that a flat-surface stovetop you’re using with your cast iron skillet?? When we moved into our current home, I gave up using my cast iron except in the oven, because I read in multiple places that unless you have a special diffuser-type device (which we haven’t found), a flat-surface will quite possibly cause your cast iron to split. I’d be thrilled to hear “they” are wrong. 🙂

    • Hi Laurel If I am not supposed to use cast iron on this silly glass top, don’t wake me up :). We moved into the house in June and I’ve been using the cast iron on the glass top since then. It’s harder to control the heat then it was on my gas stove, though. Hope you are doing great!

  2. I really want to try to make these! But I am nervous! I don’t have a cast iron skillet — is that awful or what? And please tell me where you got that awesome, sturdy child-size rolling pin. It looks fantastic.

    • Oh, gosh, use any skillet you have! If you ever want a cast iron skillet, though, you can find them at second hand stores or garage sales. Even if they are rusty, they can be leaned up. Both of mine are second hand. We use them everys ingle day, I think. I don’t have teflon because I don’t want to eat teflon, although I do hear that they are great for making eggs.

    • OH yes–the rolling pin. In the picture, Quinn is using my rolling pin (which I broke the handles off of trying to pound out a frozen turkey break 2 thanksgivings ago). The kids just have some old playdough plastic rolling pins that they use. Viva la Walmart.

  3. P.S. In a future post will you please share what all the recipes are on the flour container????

  4. I’m lovin your blog and it’s time for me to come out of the lurking closet. 😉 Your thrifty and resourceful spirit speaks to my heart. We met at Becky’s house for dinner (if you don’t remember) … I love that I got to meet you while we’re here.

  5. Pingback: Make-Your-Own: Tortillas « Motherhood on a Dime

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