With the success of the whole wheat tortillas, you would have guessed that I would have attempted homemade corn tortillas sooner. After all, my mother gave me a tortilla press at Christmas and I had ordered the masa harina from Amazon early in January. But, I think the whole wheat tortillas were so simple to make that it was easy to make them again, rather than learn how to use the tortilla press.
Yesterday, I made a match of homemade chicken tortilla soup (a variation on this recipe) and it was begging for chips, so I thought it was a good day to make my first attempt at corn tortillas. I turned to the 100 Days of Real Food recipe and got going.
To test it out, I just made a half batch of the recipe, which has only three ingredients: masa harina (whole corn flour), salt and warm water. The dough was easy to make; I used my stand mixer but in the future I would probably just mix it by hand.
I started by making the tortillas half the size of what was recommended, but they were way too small (about 3 inches in diameter) and quickly went back to the recommended size. Yes, I realize going smaller was silly….
The only other real change I made to the recipe was that I don’t have a cast iron pan, so I used a nonstick large frying pan instead and gave a quick mist of cooking spray to each side of the tortillas before frying them. (I didn’t want to spray my nonstick pan when it was hot.) I also tried frying a couple of them without the cooking spray, but they didn’t get the browned spots on them.
For whatever reason, I also was expecting these tortillas to be a bright yellow as the ones I had purchased in the grocery store, but they came out really light. Masa harina is quite light color so it makes sense. I wonder if something is added to the grocery store variety to make them brighter yellow or if masa harina comes in varying depths of color?
As for the chips, I later baked some homemade tortilla chips from these corn tortillas, first spraying them with cooking spray and sprinkling with salt. They were good, but not great. Several were not too crispy. I think this is a cooking taste I need to keep working at to master.
I’ve copied in the recipe I used for your convenience.
From 100 Days of Real Food who got the recipe from Bob’s Red Mill
Serves: Makes 12 Tortillas
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Between 1 1/4 cup and 1 1/3 cup warm water
- Oil spray, tortilla press, and preferably a cast iron skillet for cooking
- Blend the masa harina and salt with a whisk or fork.
- Pour in the warm water.
- Stir together the mixture with a wooden spoon until dough starts to form…not too sticky and not too dry. Add more water or flour if necessary. Finish mixing the dough with your hands. You can also mix the dough in a Kitchen Aid Mixer with the dough blade.
- Make a log out of the dough. Cut it into twelve equal pieces by first cutting down the middle, then cutting each piece in half again, then cutting the remaining pieces into thirds until you have twelve pieces.
- Roll each piece into a round ball. Flatten each ball onto a cutting board then cover the entire board (and dough) with plastic wrap.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over med-high/high heat. It is important to let the pan heat up thoroughly before you start cooking the tortillas. So let the empty pan heat up while the dough rests under the plastic wrap for 10 – 15+ minutes.
- Flatten the dough balls into tortillas with a tortilla press.To ensure the dough is pressed evenly you can flip the tortilla around 180 degrees and press again. It’s that simple!
- Spray some oil onto the hot smoking cast iron skillet and then toss in the first tortilla. It only takes a minute to cook on each side (be sure you flip it once). You don’t want the tortilla to cook too much longer than a minute or two because it will start to become stiff.
Keep the tortillas warm and covered until all of them are done.