In high school, I remember making a list of the foods I would choose to survive on if I could only pick a few. Tortillas were on that list then, and they still are. Tortillas originated in Mexico, and while their consumption has spread widely, it has unfortunately not spread all the way to Argentina. I did find one sad package of tortillas for sale in one grocery store, but they were the small (4”) kind and carried a hefty $6 price tag. $6! I think I paid about $2.25 at Trader Joe’s for a package of 7”-8” flour tortillas, perfect for burritos or quesadillas.
Not being able to live without them, and necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to try making my own tortillas.
Guys. I can’t even tell you how much I am kicking myself for buying tortillas all these years. The homemade ones taste better, without question, and I feel good about eating them since I know exactly what goes into them. Making a batch of tortillas takes about 20 minutes total and you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen, so take my word for it and try this!
Makes 8-10 tortillas 7”-8” in diameter
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil or other neutral flavored oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 cup hot water (not boiling, but steaming a little)
Step 1) Prepare a surface for rolling out dough by sanitizing and then lightly flouring your countertop. If you do not have a rolling pin, prepare a substitute (I have found that a wine bottle works just fine, and I seem always to have one around…).
Step 2) In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, and oil.
Step 3) Add water and immediately begin working the dough with your hands. Form dough into one large ball.
*Step 4) Pinch off a ball of dough about 1 1/2” in diameter and place on floured surface. With your rolling pin, roll the ball into a circle (or as close as you can get it) and an even thickness. I think the best thickness is the thinnest you can get it until right before the dough breaks, but you will have to feel this out for yourself. Hint: thicker tortillas are harder to fold without breaking. Hint #2: it’s easier to roll the dough thinner with hotter water.
*Step 5) Heat your fry pan to a medium heat and toss in your dough circle – do not use any oil. You will be able to tell as the tortilla cooks, as the dough goes from translucent to opaque. You should flip the tortilla when it is opaque when viewed from the top, and has browned spots on the bottom. Depending on your heat setting, I would say this is anywhere from 30-50 seconds. The tortilla will likely form bubbles – you can eliminate these by pressing out the air with a spatula.
Step 6) Once your tortilla is done on both sides, remove it to a plate and cover with a towel or paper towel. Tortillas stay fresh for more than a week if refrigerated in a sealed container.
*One of the best things about this recipe is that the tortilla in the fry pan takes about as long to cook as it takes to roll out a new tortilla dough circle! There is zero wasted, waiting time if steps 4 & 5 are done simultaneously.
Once you know how to make your own tortillas, you can go totally crazy with customizations. Want a tomato wrap? Use tomato juice instead of water. Love the taste of lime, but don’t want a drippy burrito? Add some lime zest or juice to your dough. Want some subtle herbiness in your spinach quesadilla? Add some dried thyme and rosemary to your dough. These combinations might take some experimentation, but the possibilities are endless!