We got tired of eating stale corn tortillas from the grocery store, so one year, one of my family members gave me a tortilla press and we started making our own, delicious, fresh tortillas. I still buy them on occasion, but I don’t know why. These are so easy to make. By making your own, you can also add other ingredients such as, chili powder, cilantro, other herbs, etc. I use an old fashioned, cast iron frying pan to cook them on. Make sure that you get the pan nice and hot before you start cooking them.
There are several brands of masa harina out there. Please, do not try to substitute regular corn meal for the masa harina s it is not the same. The corn kernels used to make masa harina flour have been alkalized before they were ground into flour. If you can’t find masa harina in your local grocery store, try ordering online. A bag will last you a long time and masa harina is also a main ingredient for making tamales, if you’re so inclined.
This basic recipe has been adapted from a recipe on epicurious.com. It’s really very simple.
Makes 2 dozen small tortillas
2 cups masa harina
1/2 teaspoon regular salt
1 1/2 Cups water
parchment, or wax paper
Vegetable oil (for brushing)
Set the ball of dough in the center of the press, cover with a second piece of paper, then press down on the handle. Carefully lift the top piece of paper off of the freshly pressed tortilla, making sure not to tear it. Lightly brush the pan with a very small amount of oil. Take the lower piece of paper with the tortilla on it and flip it over on to the hot pan. Carefully remove the paper.
Cook about two minutes, flip and cook another minute, or two on the other side. (You should see some dark brown spots on the tortilla, but not deeply charred burn marks. (Turn down your heat just a little if necessary.) Remove the tortilla with a spatula, transfer to an open cloth and cover with the cloth to keep warm. The tortilla will be stiff, even crispy at first, but will soften when it sits under the cloth. Repeat the process until all of the dough is used up.
*I have also used the griddle on my stove to cook the tortillas. It works well and allows me to make several tortillas at once.
** Note: If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can also roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment, or wax paper. Try to get it as even as possible, without any high and low spots. It can be tricky to get it smooth and even, so my might want to go for making thicker tortillas using this method.