Okay, you may be asking yourself, yet again, why on earth would I make my own flour tortillas when I can buy them for about $2.00 a package?! Because I can make them myself!! Haven’t you ever planned on having burritos or soft tacos for dinner only to find you forgot to buy the tortilla shells?! I have, lots of times. And what did I do? I scratched that menu and scrambled to think of something else to make with the thawed hamburger that would go with chips and salsa for dinner. Well no more!!! Come on you guys!! You can do this and it only takes a few ingredients that you already have on hand. Just read on and see if you’re not convinced. I betcha you’ll be making these in no time. DISCLAIMER: I will say this; it would be faster if you had a tortilla press (and more fun!! Everybody in the family’ll want to help!! You may even have to keep it a secret that you’re making them!). I don’t have one, but, as of this writing, my wonderful hubby is in the process of designing one to build for me. I know what you’re thinking already – don’t you people ever buy anything ready-made? Yes – cars and Q-tips. Anyway, reading the reviews of the aluminum, and even cast iron, tortilla presses, the handle breaks off within the first 60 days!!!! And the handles seem to be a pretty key component!! Why would I put myself through that?!! So, until I can show you my super fantastic press, this is how I make them – for now.
Here’s the lineup of what you’ll need:
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- vegetable shortening
- hot water (not boiling, just hot from the tap)
Note: The onions behind the shortening are not part of this recipe. They’re just hangin out.
I need to say something about measuring your flour. Before you start to measure, use a large spoon and stir the flour in the canister a few times. This will aerate the flour to help you get a more accurate measurement. Flour “settles” over time and it will pack more in the measuring cup. That’s not for just this recipe, it’s for all recipes. Don’t roll those eyes at me; it’s an important fact. This has been a Public Service Announcement. Now, after the flour has been carefully measured, add the salt and baking powder. Use a whisk it to get everything combined well.
Now, one more thing; listen to your prairie godmother. I’m just sayin, I think it’s TERRIBLY important for EVERY home cook to have measuring scales in his/her kitchen. Did I say TERRIBLY important, I meant REALLY TERRIBLY IMPORTANT. The reason for this is, there are times like this, when the volume (measuring cup) of something is a little weird. Like a hair more or less than the measuring cup holds. The accurate measurement for the shortening in this recipe is actually 3.5 ounces. This, in measuring cup world, is a tiny dollop more than 1/2 cup. Now, is that tiny dollop more going to make or break this recipe, will your kids be stunted from exposure to a mis-measuring of this magnitude?!! Hey, it could happen, but not this time. I’m just sayin that scales should be included in your kitchen equipment inventory. And on that note, I’m not talking about the little $10 scales that measure in whole ounces only. I’m talking about perhaps a scale made by Salter (great RELIABLE brand. There was no compensation to the owner of this website for the promotion of this product – much to my dismay). You want a scale that measures in pounds/ounces, ounces and grams. Ask for it for Christmas!! Put a real gilt trip on your kids and ask for it for Mother’s Day/Father’s Day, for ALL you do for your kids, and have everybody pitch in!!! You can thank me later. Once the shortening is measured just add it to the dry ingredients.
Next, add the hot water. This shouldn’t be boiling by any means, just hot from the tap. Just pour it right in there.
Homemade Flour Tortillas
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
3.5 ounces of vegetable shortening (that’s just a tiny dollop over ½ cup)
1 cup hot water (not boiling, just hot from the tap)
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder with a whisk. Add the shortening and hot water. With a wooden spoon, combine the ingredients until it becomes too difficult, then use your hands. When fully combined, drop the dough onto a clean dry countertop or table. Knead the dough (no need to be as vigorous as for bread dough) for 3 minutes. Add as little flour as you absolutely need to keep it from sticking to your fingers and the work surface. At the end of the 3 minutes, return the dough to the original bowl, cover with a damp dishtowel and let rest for 15 minutes. DO NOT SKIP OR RUSH THIS STEP. Divide the dough into 1.5 ounce balls for small tortilla wrappers (6” to 6 ½”), or 3 ounce balls for large wrappers (9” to 10”). As the dough is weighed, return them to the bowl and keep covered with the towel. Roll one portion of dough into a ball, then flatten it with your hand into an oval. With a rolling pin, roll it into an elongated oval, then turn the dough 1/4 turn. Continue rolling and turning the dough until you have a thin circle. The dough should be rolled just a little thinner than the store bought wrappers. Carefully lift the dough from the work surface (no need for extra flour – the rolled dough will release easily – just be gentle) and place onto an ungreased hot griddle or nonstick skillet. Stay close, it won’t take long. You will see bubbles start to form. If a very large bubble forms, gently press it down but keep an eye on the bottom side so the tortilla won’t burn. Flip the tortilla when it has golden brown “spots”. The entire surface will not brown. Check the bottom side frequently. You’ll notice that only the raised areas are getting brown – that’s good. Flip one more time to the first side only for a few seconds. Remove from the heat and place in either a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a couple of slightly dampened warm towels.
Yields approximately 18-20 small or 8-10 large tortilla wrappers.