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story.lead_photo.caption Homemade corn tortillas may not be perfectly round, but what they lack in looks they more than make up for in flavor. Photo by Kelly Brant

The first time I ever made flour tortillas at home was during a snowstorm. The roads were impassible and my craving was strong. I found a recipe in Joy of Cooking and was shocked at how simple they were. Then I was amazed at how much better they tasted than the ones I had been buying at the grocery store.

Flour and corn tortillas are easier to make at home than you might think.

Flour tortillas are especially easy. The hardest part is rolling — technically pressing — them evenly and thinly. If you can roll a pie crust, you can definitely roll a tortilla.

One bite of a freshly made one and you'll never want to go back to grocery store tortillas again.

Corn tortillas, depending on where you live, may require a trip to a specialty grocer for the masa harina. The technique of getting the dough just the right consistency — just like a fresh tub of Play-Doh — can be tricky at first. But you'll be well rewarded with superior and texture.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder, optional

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup butter, shortening or lard

⅔ cup warm water

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl. Add the fat and work it in using your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal. There should be no lumps. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together. Knead dough until smooth. Divide dough into 8 to 12 equal portions and roll into balls. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

Heat iron skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Working with one ball at a time, on a lightly floured surface, roll balls into 6-to 8-inch circles. Cook each side about 1 minute. While the first side is cooking, begin rolling out the next tortilla. When you are finished rolling out the next tortilla, the one on the griddle should be ready to turn. Repeat with remaining dough, stacking cooked tortillas and covering the top one. Serve warm.

Makes about 8 (8-inch) or 12 (6-inch) tortillas.

Corn Tortillas

2 cups masa harina

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups hot water (115 to 120 degrees), plus more as needed

Combine masa harina, salt and 1 ½ cups hot water and mix with hands to form a soft dough. If mixture does not form a dough, add more water, a few drops at a time, until the dough has the consistency of Play-Doh.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Knead rested dough by hand, adjusting the consistency with water or masa if necessary. The dough should be soft, smooth and pliable, but not sticky or crumbly.

Place 2 heavy skillets on the stove, or use a large griddle over two burners. Adjust heat to medium-high on one burner, medium-low on the other.

Break off a piece of the dough and roll it into a 1 to 1 ½-inch ball. Cover the remaining dough to keep moist. Place ball between two layers of heavy plastic wrap (or a zip-close plastic bag with the sides cut open) and press with a tortilla press, rolling pin or unheated skillet, rotating the ball and pressing again to form a 5-inch circle.

Lay tortilla on the cooler skillet or side of griddle until it begins to release from the pan, but before the edges curl, about 20 seconds. Flip tortilla into hotter skillet and cook until the underside begins to brown on spots, 20 to 30 seconds. Flip tortilla again and finish browning on first side. The tortilla may puff up like a pillow. When brown, remove tortilla to a clean towel and cover. It will deflate. Repeat with remaining dough, stacking cooked tortillas and covering the top one. Serve warm.

Makes about 16 (5-inch) corn tortillas.

Food on 05/01/2019

Print Headline: Flour, corn tortillas so easy to make

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