How to Make Tortillas From Scratch
If you've already mastered margaritas and guacamole, why not take your Cinco de Mayo celebrations to the next level with artisanal, homemade tortillas? You only need two ingredients and a few tools—namely, a heavy skillet or griddle (preferably cast iron)—to experience the freshly made taste of this iconic Mexican foodstuff.
- 3 cups masa harina
- 1 ¼ cups warm water (the amount needed may vary slightly depending on air humidity and other weather conditions)
- 2 pieces of round plastic cut from a bag (the thick plastic of freezer bags are ideal for this purpose)
- 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.
- Preheat a griddle or heavy skillet (cast iron is great) over medium flame. Dip a clean kitchen cloth in oil and, using tongs, lightly brush the rag over the griddle to apply a small amount of oil.
- Place a ball of dough (about 1 ½ inches in diameter) between the two plastic pieces, and press with your fingers to create a small patty. Using a tortilla press or the bottom of a large pan, further press the patty to form a 6-inch round tortilla.
- Open the tortilla press and place the tortilla in your hand. Peel off the top plastic. If the pressed tortilla has an uneven edge, then the dough is too dry. On the other hand, if the dough doesn’t come off the plastic easily, then the dough could be a little too wet. Add some more masa harina or water to the dough and mix well to achieve desired consistency.
- Place the tortilla on the griddle and cook for 45 seconds. When it appears that the edges have begun to dry out, turn over and continue to cook for 1 minute or until brown patches form. Turn over one final time and cook for another 15 seconds. When the tortilla begins to puff, tap lightly with your fingertips to allow even puffing. (The cooking time should be about 2 minutes total.) Remove the tortilla from heat and cover with a clean towel while the remaining tortillas are prepared. Serve warm.