Tuesday, September 15, 2009

*UPDATED* Mexican Feast Part 2: Tortillas de harina/Flour Tortillas

The other day, I introduced the first part of my Mexican Feast, which were cheesy frijoles refritos or refried beans. In that post, I promised to present these flour tortillas next.
Ummmmm, flour tortillas. I wish I could make another batch of these babies. They are so good. In fact, they were the star of the entire Mexican Feast (even more so than the steak and the chicken!). They were soft and flavorful. They even tasted just as good the next day after spending the night in the refrigerator. They were so good that I would sneak out a tortilla, put butter on it, roll it up like the ones pictured, and gobble it up. So freaking good!

Whenever I make Mexican dishes, I take advantage of my multilingual abilities by looking at recetas (recipes) from Mexico. I have made flour tortillas before, but they weren't nearly as good as these were. I don't know why these tasted so much better since the ingredients were basically the same. The procedure was slightly different, though.

I didn't find this recipe on a blog or a cookbook; I found it on YouTube! The recipe is written in Spanish, so I translated it below for the non-Spanish speakers out there. You're welcome. :)
With this recipe, you don't have to cut in the lard or shortening. Also, you don't need to use much flour to roll out the masa (dough). Using a Silpat makes the process even easier. Enjoy!

Tortillas de harina/Flour Tortillas
Translated recipe from Blanca Díaz
(I highly suggest you watch the detailed video of her making the tortillas.)

*UPDATE* I've been making these tortillas quite often now, and sometimes they come out perfectly, and sometimes they came out just okay. Here are some tips, if you're planning on making these:

The tortillas should be soft and bubbly. I think the key to a good tortilla is to mix/stir the dry ingredients (even though she stated not to do so), and break in the shortening. Next start the mixer and then add the hot water as it mixes. The dough should be wet but not too wet (I usually use all of the water in the recipe). Don't forget to let the dough sit for 30 minutes before rolling the dough. You should be able to roll it in a ball easily. I also add an extra 1/2 tsp of baking powder to ensure rise. Also, don't let it heat up too long the first time you put it on the comal or skillet. The first exposure to heat is the most important part, I think. Flip it over as soon as you see a few bubbles.

Make ahead: Roll out all the dough balls and place between wax paper. Then place the wax papered tortillas in a freezer bag for later use. When ready to make them, just take them out and heat them on the comal or skillet. *UPDATE OVER!* Go HERE for make-ahead photos and more information!

3 ½ cups of AP flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
100 gr (7/8 cups or a little less than 1 cup) of lard or shortening, cut into small pieces (I didn't cut it into pieces, and it was fine)
¾ to 1 cup of very hot water (almost boiling)

1. Place the flour in a bowl.

2. Add the salt, baking powder, and fat without stirring.

3. Little by little, pour the very hot water over the ingredients and mix them with your hands (or dough attachment in your stand mixer), measuring the quantity of water until you reach the desired texture. It should be moist and soft, but not sticky.

4. Knead/Mix the dough for approximately 5 minutes, and form a ball.

5. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel, and allow it to rest inside of the bowl for 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Form small balls weighing approximately 40 grams each (if you don't have a scale, the balls should be more or less the size of a ping-pong or golf ball). Cover the little balls again with the towel as you roll each one out.

7. Place one of the balls on top of a clean surface, and press down on it lightly with your fingers.

8. Roll out the little ball until you form an oval. Lift up the oval and turn it to the right 45 degrees, and roll it out again. Turn it 45 degrees again to the right until you creat a circle of the desired size.

9. Place the tortilla on a hot comal, griddle pan, or cast-iron skillet until it forms small bubbles on the uncooked side of the tortilla. Turn over the tortilla, and wait until it inflates a bit. Turn it again and with a spatula, press on it until the air inside goes out and stops inflating (I didn't do this last part because it stops puffing up once you remove it from the heat).

10. Store the tortillas in tortilla holder, covered container, or wrapped in a towel. You could also keep it warm in a low-temperature oven. These tortillas can be reheated the next day; store them in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Yields 18-20 tortillas; this recipe can be halved easily.


  1. Lovely! I love homemade tortillas--like this method with the hot water, too. Thanks!

  2. I've only made home made tortillas once or twice, because I haven't found a great recipe. This one looks great, I'm going to have to try it!

  3. Ohhhhh.... I'm kind of drooling over here. THANK YOU for the translating and the fabulous recipe!

  4. Umph, umph, umph, you know what, Mem? I see now that your cooking is as diverse as your ability to speak seven, yes, count them, seven different languages! I really do love your photos of the tortillas! Hey, how about a dish for each language that you speak? We know you got the Spanish one down--and how! You also gave us a taste of the Italian one with the foccacia bread (no cheese, right)? Maybe French next, or have you already done that one? Portuguese perhaps :o)

    Au revoir :o)

  5. I cant wait to try this out! I am so happy I stumbled upon your blog!

  6. It sounds so easy and delicious! I would love one with butter and jam, or maybe even Nutella!

  7. I've been wanting to make homemade tortillas for a long time, but I never get around to it. I'm bookmarking this recipe and, dang it, one day I will make these!

  8. This is great! I have always loved tortillas, no groceries in town carries them. I will try this very soon. AP flour is just ordinary flour?

  9. This recipe is has the potential to be SO much better than the ones I've been unsuccessfully trying forever. But I've made these twice now and found both times that they were extremely greasy. After doing a little investigating, I think I found out that 100 grams of lard/fat/butter/oil is not 7/8ths of a cup, it's more like 2/5ths of a cup. So instead of being a little less than a cup, it's a little less than 1/2 a cup!

    I can't wait to try the adapted version.

  10. OK I will spill the beans.....
    I tried this recipe and just like the last poster, mine felt greasy. Talked to my friend's grandmother the other day and she finaly shared her recipe, if you wish to try:

    1 C VERY hot milk
    1 C very hot water
    6 C flour [aprox]
    1 ts salt
    1/2 stick of unsalted butter cut in chunks

    In a large bowl whisk salt and 2 C of flour. Place butter in the center, pour the hot liquids and stir with a wooden spoon until the fat is all melted. Keep stirring until you have a glossy mass, start adding/stirring 1 C of flour at a time until no longer sticky. Knead a few times to form a ball and let rest for 20 minutes [covered]. Divide in 20 pieces, cover and start rolling @ as thin as possible. If your comal is hot enough you'll achieve a Puff every s i n g l e Time! This lady is 92, owned a lobster joint in Puerto Nuevo, Mexico. So glad to have her around!

  11. Hola, yo vivo en Tijuana, Mexico y tengo un pequeno negocio de tortillas de harina. Esta receta es casi identica a la que yo uso, solo que yo agrego un poco de azucar a la mezcla y el resultado es adictivo. Para las cantidades de tu receta serian 2 cucharadas. Intentalo y me cuentas que te parecio. Felicidades por tu blog, las fotos son lindisimas.

  12. Great tips. I can't wait to try it next go round...which is next week right? Who goes more than a week without Mexican night?

  13. Hi! I'm Blanca Diaz, from the youtube video. I'm very pleased to see that my recipe helped you to make those yummy looking flour tortillas! You see, I always wanted to know how to make them just like my grandma, but she makes them by memory and she doesn't have measurements, so I tried many times until I found the right ones. Yay! :)
    I want to share with you all the same video but in english:

  14. i tried this recipe and it came out hard and buttery, but thanks for getting me on the ball, i'll be trying my own recipes in search for a winner


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