I love just about all Mexican (or Tex-Mex) food, even the stuff that is so spicy that it makes my mouth water. So does the rest of my family. Because we are trying hard to eat as simply and cost efficiently as we can, I have begun making my own corn tortillas (two of us are gluten-free). You can use a flour tortilla recipe just as easily, but you would have to roll out your dough with a rolling pin, rather than press with a tortilla press – read on for more about that press.
I bought my cast iron tortilla press from some seller on E-Bay a couple of years ago. Since then, I have used it quite a bit. If you make corn tortillas, this is the way to go, as it is easy as pie to “press” a tortilla and get it to a desirable thickness. Now, if you make wheat tortillas, you cannot do this, as the gluten in the wheat flour makes the dough too springy to effectively press. In this instance, use a rolling pin to roll out a circle to the size and thickness you desire. I do not make wheat tortillas (using all-purpose flour) any more, but when I did, I found that rolling them nice and thin was a pain in the neck.
I hope you will give this recipe a try because it is SO easy and healthy. Make sure you only keep them in the fridge for a day at the longest. If you don’t use them quickly, they will mold, so freeze any leftovers. Amen for mold and spoilage because it is a sign that your food has little or no preservatives in it.
Corn Tortilla Shells
2 cups masa harina or corn flour
1/2 tsp. salt, optional
Warm water to create a soft ball, about 3/4 – 1 cup (more or less)
Place flour and salt, if you’re using it, in the bowl of your food processor. Turn on and slowly pour in warm water until the mixture comes together and forms a soft ball (using the S blade). Wrap the ball of corn flour in plastic wrap while you get a skillet or griddle hot. Do not oil the skillet!
Drop some water droplets on the skillet and if it dances around, it’s ready. Pinch off a small piece of dough at a time and press (or roll) into a thin, flat round. *If using a press, it’s easier to remove the tortillas if you put a sheet of plastic wrap over the pressing surfaces of the tortilla press.*
Place tortillas one at a time on the griddle or skillet and cook just until the tortillas begin to puff – less than a minute so watch carefully! Flip and heat the other side for a moment or two, just until both sides are browned and bubble a little. Continue pinching dough, pressing, and cooking the tortillas until you have used up all of the dough. I use a cast iron griddle, so I had to reduce my heat on the stove to about medium. If your pan smokes too much, you might need to reduce the heat on your stove as well.