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Flour tortillas

December 30, 2012


This entry is more of an update on my continued quest for a home-inspired flour tortilla recipe. The past year I’ve been trying through trial and error to come up with a recipe for a flour tortilla that is tender, a little fluffy, pliable, and tasty.  Several months ago I arrived at a recipe that comes closest to what I remember my grandmother made and that my mom still provides for us sometimes for our family gatherings.  After much more  experimenting with flour/fat ratios, baking powder, bread or all-purpose flour,  I’ve come back around to that recipe, with just a little tweaking.  I could just ask my mom for the recipe, but my attempt to duplicate it has taught me a great appreciation for this family tradition.

For a more “authentic” taste you may try substituting lard for all or some of the shortening.  I prefer them vegetarian friendly.


This recipe will make 8   6-inch diameter tortillas.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4  teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon table salt

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

about 3/4 cup lukewarm water


Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and mix.  Add the shortening and rub it into the flour mixture until well-dispersed. Add most of the water, and gather it into a shaggy dough. Put the dough on your work surface.  You may need to very lightly flour the surface as you begin. Knead it for about 5 minutes adding water or flour until it is smooth, soft, and neither dry nor sticky.  Using a pastry scraper, portion the dough to 8 balls.  Cover them with plastic and let rest for about an hour. Pre-heat the comal or griddle to medium heat as you begin to roll out the tortillas. This dough rolls out easily into nice round shaped forms.  I think it is a good sign when the dough behaves cooperatively.   Some recipes resulted in doughs that required very careful rolling out to make round shapes.  You should roll out the dough thinly since they will nicely fluff up as they make contact with heat. Cook the tortilla on the hot comal for about 30-45 seconds on each side.

These tortillas are not quite exactly  what I’ve been used to since childhood but they are close.  The soft tender texture and delicious flavor of these tortillas are very satisfying. I would use this recipe if I were cooking for guests.  They are best served the same day, especially right off the griddle.  To store the tortillas, I wrap them in a kitchen towel and then put them in a ziplock bag.  They will keep several days in the refrigerator.  To warm up, I use a hot griddle or comal.  It’s amazing however, that five simple ingredients mixed and manipulated basically the same way will produce a different end result in each household.   Each tortilla-making family has their personal tradition and story to relate.   I still haven’t reached my “holy grail”  and so will continue my quest.

Tip: Getting the right amount of moisture in the dough is something that may take a few attempts to get the hang of.   Too much water will result in a tortilla with moist patches. Too dry of a dough will give a one that will turn brittle.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2012 1:19 am

    Great post!!! And, great pics, the stack pic at the top was the best ever man you’re good! The other pics were very good too! The grill marks were very cool! I have to try this one for sure! Thanks!

    • December 30, 2012 1:05 pm

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the photos! It’s also a learning process for me.
      Thanks Roberto!

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