Sunday, May 9, 2010

Store and Make Ahead Flour Tortillas *UPDATE*

From the fridge to the skillet to the calentador de tortillas hecho en México
(tortilla warmer made in Mexico)!

I make these flour tortillas quite often enough that I have the recipe memorized, and I know just how the masa or dough should feel. It should be very warm from the hot water, moist but not too wet that it leaves remnants of dough on your hands, and it should not feel dry anywhere on the dough. If it is, keep fiddling with the dough ball until it is all moist. Click here for more...

When I add too much water to the dough, which can happen due to weather changes, I usually have to add a bit more flour to get it to the right consistency. If I add too much flour, however, I have to adjust the rest of the ingredients as well. Fortunately, this doesn't happen often, and when it does, it isn't a big deal since there are only 4-5 ingredients.

The only part of making tortillas that causes me to want to buy them instead is the time it takes to flatten out the balls of dough and cook them. I usually set up my rolling pin, Silpat mat, and mixer bowl of masa in front of the television or laptop and get them ready for the skillet. Doing it this way as opposed to standing up for a long time next to the hot stove, has made the process a bit more desirable but increases the time to make them since I have more distractions.
I love the process of weighing out (35-40 grams each) and rolling out the masa into balls!

However, I have found a way to make the tortilla-making process a bit less daunting. Instead of rolling the tortillas out for the skillet on the same day, I now prep them out for the next day (or you could do it a few hours before you need them!). That way, on the next day, I usually forget about all the work I did the day before and just plop the uncooked, moist tortillas on the hot skillet or comal for a few minutes. They still come out just as perfectly as when you cook the tortilla right after you roll out the dough ball.
I've only done this process twice (including for this post), so this is all an experiment in progress. I know that you can store raw, rolled-out tortillas for one day, and I will find out if they are still good after a 2-day rest. I will update this post with that information later.

I took the rest of the tortillas out today, and they looked a bit different than the previous day but I forged on. Fortunately, they yielded delicious tortillas, but the texture was slightly different (a bit more grainy?) than the very first (I made some on the day I made these but didn't post photos of them) and next day (the ones posted) tortillas. Here are the photos of the 2-day tortillas. I would not recommend going beyond 2 days to cook your tortillas.Lastly, two commenters asked me about using a tortilla press or tortilladora to facilitate the process. I have a tortilladora, but based on my experience, I am unable to get a thin, flour tortilla when using one. Tortilladoras are good for flattening out and shaping corn tortillas and to make gorditas (fatter flour tortillas), but not for thin, flour tortillas. Also, even when I use the tortilladora for my corn tortillas, it can at times be a bit daunting as well, so the press is not a huge time-saver; however, it does shape the tortillas much better.

So, the next time you want to make homemade tortillas, weigh them, roll them, and shape them the day before. Use wax paper (or something more economically-friendly) to keep the tortillas separate. I accidentally found out that you can stack two tortillas on top of each other, and they will not stick together, but I wouldn't put too many of them like that.

I aimed for separating each tortilla with a sheet of wax paper. I made the wax paper sections bigger than I would have liked for the purposes of this blog, but after taking photos of the first few, I made the papers much smaller (closer to the size of the tortilla). REUSE these wax papers; it will be fine. Just let them sit out to dry, and use them again for the next time. Store the covered, raw tortillas in a clear, Ziploc bag, and leave them in the refrigerator for the next day.
Process of stacking the uncooked tortillas. The last two photos show them fresh out of the refrigerator. The tortillas are a bit moist but come out just fine in the skillet.

On the day you cook the tortillas, you do not need to let them warm to room temperature. Just take the cold tortillas out, remove the wax paper as you go, and place them on a pre-heated comal or skillet. As soon as you see a few bubbles, turn them over with your hand if you dare (the way many Mexican households and I do it.) or with a spatula (I recommend the latter if you're new at this). Then once the other side bubbles up (the bubbles will be bigger), turn it over one more time for a few seconds, and then place the cooked tortilla in a covered container.
I bought this calentador de tortillas for fewer than 5 dollars (and the $1 pasta plate for the carbonara) at Fiesta Mart, a store that caters to Latin-American foods and products, but you can buy one online here.

Many use paper towels in addition to the container, but I'm trying to lower my use of paper products (hence the reason I reuse the wax paper).

For the recipe for my go-to flour tortillas, go here. I hope you find this post helpful!Dear Mom,

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!! I thank you for being the best role model a daughter could have. I love you so much. You're my best friend and my best mom.
I hope you enjoy the 60-minute massage and the rest of your gifts hehe!

-Love your FAVORITE and ONLY child :D

Dear Mothers,

Happy Mother's Day to all the female, parental-figured readers out there! :D Have a fantastic day; you deserve it!

-Love Memoria


  1. Tu blog luce cada dia mejor...te felicito !!!!
    Y estas tortillas me encantan !! Nunca las hice, voy a probar !!
    Después te cuento....
    Un beso grande

  2. These are awesome. I always buy whole wheat tortillas - but I'd never even thought about making my own. Seems really daunting!

    If you make them all the time, you should invest in a tortilla press. Would that make it an easier process for you?

  3. I made your tortillas and they were amazing. I'll be making them again and thanks for these tips. It was a big job. Didn't realize tortillas had fat in them though! So am careful about how many I eat!

  4. Me encanta esta idea. It would seem like you were cutting the work in half. Thanks for this post.

  5. OneOrdinaryDay- I have a tortilladora or tortilla press, but based on my experience, it is good for only flattening out corn tortillas. When I used it for the flour tortillas, it flattened it out enough to be a gordita (thicker, pancake-like tortilla). I ended up having to roll it out to make it thin enough. Also, it is still time consuming using a tortilladora. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

    Thanks for your comments, everyone!

  6. I would like to try these sometime. I've never made my own tortillas, but we eat so many of them.

  7. I grew up spending my summers with my Grandma in a very small southern arizona mining town. Everyday one of the Mexican ladies in town would bring dozens of fresh homeade tortillas to my Grandmas general store to sell. She would always have a special tortilla seperated just for me, hot and buttered. OMG, Heaven!
    What cauht my attention is your tortillas are the same color as hers! The way they are supposed to be. Not those white, pasty, flour gobs you get at the super market but thin, golden and buttery!
    Thank you so much. I have never made them before but I will definatly try it now.

  8. I LOVE fresh tortillas. I'm curious - do you always roll them out? Why not use a tortilla press?

  9. Liz, as I told Michelle of OneOrdinaryDay, I do have a tortilladora/tortilla press, but they don't press flour tortillas as thin as a rolling pin does. Also, using the press takes just about the same amount of time as using the rolling pin.

  10. Memoria,
    Would love to try these! They look wonderful!

  11. We love all types of flat bread. I tried making flour tortillas but weren't as successful as I hoped to be (it did not call for hot water). I am going to try your recipe and let you know how they turned out.

    Have a great week.

  12. Oh my, I am jealous of your tortilla. They look so scrumptious!

  13. Oh! I never made tortilla at home, your sure look delicious...nothing like homemade ones ;-)

  14. Such a valuable and informative post. Thanks for sharing all the tips. Love it!

  15. home made tortillas look very good indeed!

  16. I lurrrve flour tortillas. Especially when they are homemade!

  17. God its been posts since I came here last...sorry...been a little distracted lately... Im so glad U made tortillas cos now I can compare the ones I made sometime back,,and Im so happy that htey look the same ....I LOVE the round box that u put it in...what a great uve made me want to look for one just like it :))) Great looking tortillas in a beautiful box!

  18. I once knew a woman who made her own tortillas. That was 25 years ago. I've never known another until I read your blog. I am sooooo impressed! You are amazing. I am going to give this a try.

  19. Memória, thanks for all the great tips on making these. I have tried to make tortillas a few times, but they always came out very dry and rubbery, and were not good at all after sitting for a day. Maybe I wasn't using enough fat. Do you have any tips about substituting some of the apf for whole wheat? Great photos by the way. I'm getting hungry now...

  20. This so reminds me of my grandma. I miss her so much!

    The only time I've ever made tortillas has been with her. I don't know if she'd be proud of me for making them myself or if she'd think I was cheating one her :-)

    Thanks for the sweet mother's day message on my blog Memoria. I appreciate it so much.

    Hope your mother had a good day too!

  21. An exceptional post with loads of useful info. Thank you. I have learnt much.

  22. I love making my own tortillas and yours look freakin' incredible. I can taste them through these beautiful photos! I really need one of those tortilla containers, as my husband and I go through enough of them!

  23. I love making flour tortillas and now that I've seen the calentador, this will spur me on to make more. Your tortillas and photos ARE PEREFECTION!

  24. Found you on PW on a comment you left on tortillas~ I love Blanco Diaz's video! I've made these with canola oil and even subbed half the flour with white wheat...divine! You have a great post here!

    My friends have asked if I can make these ahead (Like the Costco version), but I'm not sure if it would work. Costco's has oxygen absorber packs in their raw tortillas, which keep them fresh. After a few days, the tortillas begin to stick together.

    I believe the 'grainy' texture that you refer to on your 2-day tortillas is due to the fridge sucking out moisture from your tortillas.

    Tortillas cooked the day before, cooled and stored at room temp in a plastic bag have lasted up to four days, which works great for me.

  25. I found you on PW also. I am a very homesick Houstonian living in London and my life is now almost complete. If I could just get some queso blanco!

  26. Hi! I can't wait to try your recipe! Have you ever tried making the tortillas in the morning and reheating to eat at dinner? If so, any tricks on how to store it for those hours before official serving?THANKS!

    1. Homemade torillas really do taste best right after they are done. They are so good that I just put a little butter on the tortilla, roll it, and eat it just like that! So yummy! However, if you need to make them ahead of time, you can do so. Just allow them to cool a bit. Then wrap them in clear/cling wrap or foil. Reheat in lightly damp paper towels in the microwave for a few seconds to 1 minute, depending on how many tortillas you reheat. Good luck and enjoy!!


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