20 June 2012
Years ago, when I was just out of university and living in San Francisco, I remember going to the Mission District and being in awe of the tortillas being made by hand. For a girl from the Pacific Northwest suburbs, tortillas came packaged and wrapped. I remember thinking, "wow. you can make these things." I know, now that sounds ridiculous. But, at the time, my life changed just a bit and I returned to my Alamo Square apartment to begin on an adventure into handmade tortillas.

Today, I'm still making tortillas. But, now, it's out of necessity rather than novelty. Here, in Eastern Europe, there are a million different types of flat bread--- square, rectangular, oval. But, anything that even remotely resembles Mexican food fails to exist here. However, our produce stands are overflowing with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and I have fresh olives in the fridge. It's tortilla making time.

3 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of cold butter or shortening*
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
cold water

Place the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter or shortening into the dry ingredients to create a sandy texture. Add the vegetable oil and stir until combined. Now, add just enough cold water to get the mixture to stick together. Using your hands, knead and add more flour or water as needed in order to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. Once formed into a soft large ball, place in a clean bowl, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

Begin forming your tortillas. Roll a golf-ball sized piece of dough. On a generously floured surface, roll out into a thin circle. Heat a frying pan on the stove top (don't add any grease, keep it dry). Add the rolled tortilla and cook for about a minute on each side. Note that you want the tortilla to be pale in color so that the texture stays pliable. It might take a few 'practice tortillas' in order to get the correct doneness-- when in doubt error on the side of undercooked.

When ready to serve, wrap a stack of tortillas in parchment paper, reheat in the oven and serve with your favorite toppings!

*Take your pick! Shortening creates a more traditional tasting tortilla, however, butter works well too (and I can't get shortening in Tbilisi so.....)

1 comment:

Susan said...

I didn't think to make my own! Going to give it a try tomorrow!

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