Monday, April 30, 2012

Flour Tortillas

Do you ever just have the desire to open up a package of supermarket tortillas and eat one straight outta the bag?

Of course you don't.

Because they don't taste very good.

When I was growing up I was lucky enough to have a mom that made tortillas from scratch whenever we had soft tacos. They were soft and flavorful with a distinct floury texture that supermarket tortillas just can't even begin to match. These were something of a kid-comfort food for me. I still remember when I was in kindergarten and we were asked to draw pictures of our favorite foods, I drew a yellowish circle, representing my beloved tortillas and I can still remember getting my paper back with a question mark next to my drawing because my teacher couldn't make out what I drew. (Ha!) I loved to eat them fresh with butter and I even recall a time or two requesting she make them when I was sick and didn't have much of an appetite. I wonder if tortillas were even widely available in supermarkets when I was growing up (in the 80's), because it almost seems strange to me in retrospect that my mom always made them from scratch.

But I am really glad that my childhood experience enlightened me on the simple pleasure of eating homemade flour tortillas. After I was married I was eager to share this experience with my new family and begin making my own homemade tortillas.

If you are the least bit intimidated by the thought of making these, don't be. This is literally the easiest dough you can work with. It is so forgiving, when it comes to the process of rolling out the tortillas into rounds. The only thing your may have trouble with might be making perfect circles. But no worries, the rustic appearance just means everyone will see how amazing you are for making your own homemade flour tortillas.

Flour Tortillas
~makes about 14-16~

Note* When stacking the rolled tortillas on a plate prior to cooking, be sure to sprinkle flour between the layers,(then using your hand gently rub the flour to spread it into a thin even layer) to prevent the tortillas from sticking to each other when you go to cook them.

4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
6 T. vegetable shortening
luke warm water
vegetable oil

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add shortening and using your fingers, rub the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Add in water, a little at a time stirring after each addition until the dough comes together. (I used a little more than a cup of water.)

2. Briefly knead the dough until it comes together in a firm ball. Pinch off pieces of dough in the palm of your hand and roll into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Place dough balls on a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel.

3. Roll out tortillas: On a floured surface, place a dough ball and flatten into a disk using the palm of your hand. Roll into a round, 8-10 inches in diameter. (Sprinkling with flour and flouring the rolling pin as needed to prevent sticking.) Place rolled tortilla on a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining balls of dough. Stack the rolled tortillas on top of each other sprinkling a little flour between the layers of tortillas (then using your hand gently rub the flour to spread it into a thin even layer) to prevent them from sticking to each other. 

4. Heat 1/2 t. vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Using paper towel, carefully wipe the oil out of the skillet (a very thin layer should be left behind). Add a tortilla and cook on the first side, until bubbles appear evenly over the surface of the tortilla and it is just browning on the underside, about a minute. Flip the tortilla and cook on the second side, about another minute. Tortilla should puff when you flip it. Remove to a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining tortillas. (You won't need to add any more oil.) 

5. Enjoy. 


  1. I have been wanting to make homemade tortillas FOREVER! I'm excited to see your recipe - you make it look so simple and I'm glad the recipe makes plenty of tortillas for all sorts of yummy creations. Thanks!

  2. I was looking at the tortillas in the photos on your pinto beans post and though, "those look amazing!" I alway love eating fresh tortillas when I go to restaurants. It really makes such a big difference. I am definitely going to be trying this recipe!

    1. Thanks Kristen! I know, it really does make a big difference.

  3. I love the uncooked tortillas you can get in some stores. Those are way better than the other ones. These look really good though. I tried another recipe and wasn't very impressed. I'll have to try this one!