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Homemade tortillas

February 23, 2010

tortilla

A few weeks ago, my friend Chad said something about eating homemade tortillas, and ever since then, I’ve had that idea in the back of my head. I’m learning that almost anything you can buy ready-made in the grocery store, you can prepare yourself and it will be tastier, healthier, and less expensive.

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It’s amazing how many choices there are in the tortilla aisle. I like to buy whole-grain foods, and try to avoid a lot of extra fat in our everyday meals. That leaves a few VERY expensive choices.

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I looked around and found several tortilla recipes, combined a few that didn’t include a cup of lard, made some changes, and this is what I came up with:

taco

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2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. oil (I used olive oil)
3/4 cup warm water

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Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Measure water into a cup and add oil, stir to combine.

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Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture one tablespoon at a time, and combine with a fork. I can’t emphasize enough how important this step is. The first time I tried these, I dumped all the water/oil mixture in, and by the time I had it all combined, it was a big, crumbly mass and had to be thrown out. Thankfully I always have plenty of flour on hand.

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Once all the ingredients are combined, turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead for about 5 minutes. Add flour as needed if it’s sticky. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

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Put the dough ball back into the bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let it rest for 20 minutes.

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Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into golf-ball sized balls, place on a cookie sheet, and cover again with the damp towel for about 10 minutes.

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Preheat a cast iron skillet (I just used a regular Teflon-coated skillet) over medium-high heat. 

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Take a dough ball, flatten it out with your hands to about a 4-inch patty, then roll with a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/8″ thick, and about 7 inches in diameter.

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Pop the tortilla in your hot skillet … you don’t need to add any oil or spray or anything. Let it cook for about 30 seconds, flip it over for another 30 seconds, and put it in a dish covered with a towel or in a tortilla warmer while you make the rest. That’s it! This recipe makes about 12 tortillas.

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OK, these tortillas were seriously good. Everyone in the family loved them. I made two batches (one and then the other, rather than combining into a double batch). The more I rolled out the tortillas, the faster I got, and the easier it was. One thing I want to buy now is a small rolling pin. I don’t have a ton of counter space, and my big rolling pin kept bumping into the toaster oven. They keep well in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, and I would imagine they would freeze fine also. We’ve been using the leftovers for quesadillas and for topping with butter, cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat. Fantastico!

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