Tortilla Photo

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, it’s time to get out the tortilla press and shape tortillas. Easier to make than most people think, homemade corn tortillas have a better flavor and texture than the ones you’ll find on store shelves. Traditionally, the best ones are made from fresh masa, a ground mixture of dried corn kernels soaked with lime, but excellent ones can also be made using masa harina, a dried version found in many supermarkets.

Corn Tortillas

Makes about 1 dozen

3 cups masa harina

1-¼ cups of warm water (this may vary depending on air humidity and other wheatear conditions).

2 pieces of round plastic cut out from a bag. (freezer bags are ideal for this purpose).

  1. In a small bowl combine the masa harina and water. Mix well until the water is absorbed evenly and the dough forms a ball. The consistency of the dough should be soft; it should not stick to your hands. If it does, add more of masa harina. If it looks dry or crumbly, add more water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.
  1. Preheat a griddle or heavy skillet (cast iron is great) over medium flame. Lightly oil brush the griddle with a small amount of oil.
  1. Using a tortilla press or the bottom of a pan, place a ball of the dough about 1 ½ inch in diameter between the two plastic pieces and press to form a 6 inch round tortilla.
  1. Press the small ball of dough firmly with your fingers to form a patty between the pieces of plastic.
  1. Open the tortilla press and place the tortilla in your hand. Peel off the top plastic. If the press tortilla has an uneven edge, then the dough is too dry and you will need to add a little water and mix the well.
  1. Flip the dough over in your hand closer to your fingers and carefully peel the plastic off the dough. If the dough doesn’t come off easily then the dough could be a little wet. Add some more masa harina to the dough mix again until it becomes easy to handle.
  1. Place the tortilla on the griddle and cook for 45 seconds. The edge will begin to dry out. Turn over and continue to cook for 1 minute until brown patches form
  2. Turn over again and cook for another 15 seconds. The cooking time is about 2 minutes total. Cook until the tortilla begins to puff. Tap lightly with your fingertips to allow even puffing. Cover with clean towel while the remaining tortillas are prepared. Serve warm.

Recently, I teamed up with ICE to create a short how-to video that takes you through the process. You can view the video on the ICE Blog.