23 December 2021

How to Make Homemade Flour Tortillas - With or Without a Tortilla Press

How to Make Homemade Flour Tortillas - with or without a tortilla press / www.delightfulrepast.com

Yes, flour tortillas can be made with a tortilla press, despite what you (and I) may have been told!

Flour tortillas of the store-bought variety often have a lot of questionable ingredients that leave an odd aftertaste. But some of the homemade flour tortillas I've had were greasy and rubbery (and some 1/4-inch thick!), so about 10 years ago I decided to try making my own with just four simple (and organic) ingredients. I made up the recipe as I went along, and they turned out great the first time—which only means homemade flour tortillas are easy and practically foolproof!

Then a few weeks ago I got a cast iron tortilla press to make corn tortillas, posted about it, and a reader asked if the press could be used for flour tortillas as well. I told her I had always heard it couldn't but had never actually tried it. 

So I whipped up a batch and in about an hour reported back to her that you can indeed use the tortilla press for flour tortillas but that the press doesn't get them as paper-thin as I like them. So that set me on another round of experiments in the kitchen.

I discovered that giving the tortilla two additional (three, in all) 90-degree-turn-and-presses resulted in a beautifully thin tortilla. But if you have a different press that doesn't get that result for you, there is another way that spares you from getting out your great long rolling pin.


How to Make Homemade Flour Tortillas (with or without a tortilla press)  / www.delightfulrepast.com


A handy-dandy little gadget called a wooden pastry and fondant roller (4 inches wide, though it says 6 inches) makes quick work of making the tortillas as thin as you like. Just leave the pressed tortilla in its plastic "folder" and give it a few swipes with the roller. And it is useful for so many other things, such as rolling a press-in crust right in the pan to give your bars and traybakes a perfectly even base.

You can use any type of fat for flour tortillas, but I prefer organic unsalted butter. Organic lard is more expensive than organic butter and is not as readily available. The mild butter flavor is sooooo good! Cooking for two on most days, I usually just make a half batch. If you don't have a tortilla press, you can roll them out with a rolling pin.

I've been making so many tortillas since I got the tortilla press, I haven't even bothered to decide where to put it when I put it away. I just leave it out looking cute and compact in one of the corners of my U-shaped countertop.

Hope you'll make some flour tortillas or corn tortillas soon and let me know how they turned out for you. I love hearing all the different ways these versatile flatbreads are made. 

How to Make Homemade Flour Tortillas - with or without a tortilla press / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Flour Tortillas


(Makes 12 7-inch tortillas)

2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder, optional
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (5.33 fluid ounces/158 ml or grams) hot* water

*push the 160F (71C) button on my electric kettle, then measure the water in a glass measure, which cools it down a few degrees.


1 In medium mixing bowl, mix flour and salt (and baking powder, if you're using it) together with your hands. Grate the butter into the bowl or use a small knife to slice tiny pieces of butter into the bowl. With your fingertips, mix the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Pour the hot water while mixing with a fork, in case you don't need to add all the water. The mixture should be moist enough to come together into a tacky dough. Knead, right in the bowl, with one hand or on a smooth countertop for about 3 minutes until it is smooth and springy, adding a little more flour if the dough is too wet or a little more water if it is too dry. 

Note: If you measure ingredients using a digital kitchen scale, you'll likely not need to add more flour or water and will come out with precisely enough dough to make 12 50-gram tortillas. 

2 Cover the dough tightly to keep it from drying out. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour. Divide total weight of dough in grams by 12 to portion out the dough, rolling them into smooth balls (about 50 grams each). As you make the tortillas, keep the dough balls covered to keep them from drying out and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Note: The first time or two that you make tortillas (before you've developed "a feel" for the dough), test one dough ball first to make sure it presses well and peels easily from the plastic before portioning out all the dough.

3 Preheat your griddle well over low to moderate heat, about 5 minutes. Since I used my nonstick griddle, I rubbed a tiny amount, 1/2 teaspoon, of extra virgin olive oil on the cold griddle (because you are never supposed to preheat a nonstick pan empty or over high heat or use cooking spray on it). Then when I was ready to start cooking the tortillas, I wiped the griddle, removing nearly all the oil, and turned the heat up to medium to medium-high.


How to Make Homemade Flour Tortillas (with or without a tortilla press)  / www.delightfulrepast.com


4 On lightly floured (not more than a tablespoon) small plate, flatten slightly one of the smooth balls to a disk about 2 inches round, getting a dusting of flour on both sides. Place it between the two layers of plastic in the center of the tortilla press. Then gently press the dough ball. Turn it 90 degrees and press again. It will be about 6 inches in diameter. If you would like it a little thinner, as I do, either give it two more 90-degree-turn-and-presses or give it a few swipes with the little wooden pastry roller. It will be about 7 inches in diameter. 

5 Peel back the top layer of plastic, turn it on your hand, and peel back the other layer. Lay it on the hot griddle and cook for about 45 to 60 seconds when the tortilla starts getting bubbles on top and specks of brown on the underside. Turn and repeat. You can give it another turn, if you like. Transfer to a tortilla warmer or a makeshift tortilla warmer—a clean kitchen towel in a glass pie plate. Repeat. Serve from the bottom of the stack first, as they'll be softest.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

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26 comments:

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

I think you live in Menlo Park and are channeling Tom Edison. Consider renting out your place to Gordon Ramsey. Love your gadgets and innovative ways of adapting them. Methinks you are one iteration away from re-inventing the printing press with real paper-thin paper. When you get there, I’ll turn off the computer and write my next novel on your tortilla press/fondant roller. Seasons cheer and 5 cleavers!

Daniela said...

Dearest One,
thank you for sharing another stunning masterpiece of yours!
I wish for happiness to surround you and yours this Holiday Season.
May you feel Love and Joy like never before.
Stay safe and take care
Daniela at ~ My little old world ~ (Dany)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Sully. I know it isn't easy to get the coveted 5 cleavers award! Yes, I believe Gordon Ramsey or any pro chef would be quite pleased to work with my equipment. Happy snow and speedy skis to you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Daniela, you were on my mind this morning and I visited your beautiful blog. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked before I could comment. But I'll be back to do that soon. Love, joy, and peace to you as well. Have the coziest of winters in your charming surroundings. 🤗

Jeanie said...

Sounds good and not impossible!

I send you all good wishes for a beautiful Christmas -- peaceful, healthy and filled with love. I know it's been a tough year. Find the memories and love and joy of the season.

ellen b. said...

I bet they are so good. I always enjoy Mexican restaurants when they have someone making fresh tortillas!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, thanks so much! Getting a bit easier. Wishing you a wonderful 2022!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Ellen! Not too many of those restaurants around, but I enjoy them when I find them.

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

We used to make tortillas at my school many years . Homemade tortillas are the best. Thanks for the recipe,

Sherry's Pickings said...

merry christmas and happy new year
cheers
sherry

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Gerlinde. They would be a wonderful thing to make at school!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sherry, thank you! May 2022 be a wonderful year for you (for all!).

Louca por porcelana said...

Merry Merry Christmas!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you! I love the teacups in your latest post. Wishing you a wonderful 2022.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

It’s funny, I only use my tortilla press for corn tortillas. I use a small rolling pin for the flower ones. I like your suggestion for using a fondant roller. I would love to be able to make flour tortillas the way they are done traditionally by slapping them between your hands. I could never get that down…

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

David, the corn tortillas are made that way as well. I call it the "pattycake" method! The only place I've seen it done since seeing a neighbor do it when I was a child is at one very expensive Mexican restaurant that prided itself on its handmade corn tortillas. I loved watching the woman make them!

Vee said...

I was just thinking my store bought tortillas taste "off." It's nice to know that I can easily make my own from scratch.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Vee. Yes, make your own and you will notice such a difference, no more "off" taste!

Kitchen Riffs said...

I make corn tortillas a lot, but never flour ones for some reason. Maybe because I like corn tortillas better? :-) Anyway, I do use flour tortillas some of the time, so I should really learn to make my own. Terrific post -- thanks. And Happy New Year!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

John, thank you! And I *used to* like corn tortillas better. Until I started making my own flour tortillas, which are sooooo much better and more flavorful than store-bought. I could make a meal of them! I hope you'll try the recipe soon and let me know your thoughts.

Treat and Trick said...

Your tortillas are perfect and so much better than store bought. Hopefully I would have a chance to try it one day. Happy New Year....

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, T&T. I hope you will, too. And may 2022 be a better year for everyone!

Karen said...

We tried to make tortillas last week. They didnt turn out so good. They were too thick as you mentioned. I'm going to try again though.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Yes, Karen, do keep trying. Sometimes it takes a while to get one's technique down with a new thing. I just can't stop making these!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Ho Ho Ho! Oh well, Jean, it's almost the end of January. I have saved this recipe to study and now is the perfect time for it. I've been into making fish tacos with the snack size tortillas. I figure this would be another fun part to make from scratch. I, of course, with my dump and pour technique will be pressing by hand rather than with that very interesting press you got! Happy New Year!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sue, thank you. Hope you and the mister have a wonderful 2022, including fish tacos with homemade tortillas! Pressing by hand or using a rolling pin work very well. I used to just press them by hand and was able to get them so thin you could see them through them (and it gave my arms such a great workout!).

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