I am always up for a challenge, especially if that challenge involves making bread of any kind. So when my fellow breadie Phyl invited me to make tortillas with him this month I quickly accepted the challenge. Actually, they turned out to be fairly easy - and addictive! Never again will I buy store-bought tortillas, who knew they were so easy to make at home?
I have a cast iron crepe pan that I use specifically for flatbreads, I highly recommend it. For actual delicate crepes I use a non-stick crepe pan. I have a lot of pans.
I'd like to extend the challenge to any an all who would like to give it a go - I promise you won't be sorry! They are tender with a little elasticity and so much more tasty than store-bought.
Makes 12 tortillas
Recipe from the Authentic Mexican Cookbook
3/4 pounds (2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
5 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, or a mixture of the two
3/4 teaspoon salt
about 3/4 cup very warm tap water
1. Make the dough. Combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl, working in the fat with your fingers, until completely incorporated. Dissolve the salt in the water, pour about 2/3 cup of it over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork; the dough will be in large clumps rather than a homogeneous mass. If all the dry ingredients haven't been dampened, add the rest of the liquid (plus a little more, if necessary). Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead until smooth. It should be medium-stiff consistency -- definitely not firm, but not quite as soft as most bread dough either.
2. Rest the dough. Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes (to make the dough less springy, easier to roll).
3. Roll and griddle-bake the tortillas. Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough into an even 7-inch circle: Flatten a ball of dough, flour it, then roll forward and back across it; rotate a sixth of a turn and roll forward and back again; continue rotating and rolling until you reach a 7-inch circle, lightly flouring the tortilla and work surface from time to time.
Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle (you should hear a faint sizzle and see an almost immediate bubbling across the surface). After 30 to 45 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip it over. Bake 30 to 45 seconds more, until the other side is browned; don't overbake the tortilla or it will become crisp. Remove and wrap in a cloth napkin placed in a tortilla warmer. Roll and griddle-bake the remaining tortillas in the same manner and stacking them one on top of the other.
They were perfect for making Mexi-style sammies for my son. He loves what he calls a breakfast burrito - I make seasoned ground beef, folded into a tortilla with cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and a sunny side up egg on top. Yum!
When I season my ground beef, I brown it in a cast-iron pan, drain it, and add a cup of water. When the water is cooking in on medium heat, reducing and softening the meat, I add some garlic salt, chili powder, black pepper, ground cumin, minced chipotle in adobo and a little ketchup. I just go to taste. When all the water is evaporated and I have the flavour I want - it's done!
Put the meat on a tortilla, add your cheese, tomatoes and a beautifully cooked egg and you have a delicious treat of a weekend breakfast sammie. Perfect for Deb's Souper Sunday - a celebration of soups, salads and sammies.