Saturday, November 10, 2012

Flour tortillas made easy

These tortillas have real body and taste. They are perfect for gorditas, fajitas and eating out of hand.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk (2% is fine)
Stir together the flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and vegetable oil to the lukewarm milk and whisk briefly to incorporate. Gradually add the milk to the flour, and work the mixture into a dough. It will be sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with flour and knead vigorously for about 2 minutes (fold and press, fold and press). The kneading will take care of the stickiness. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rest for 15 minutes. (This dough will not rise, but it needs a rest.)

Divide your dough into 8 balls of equal size, cover them, and let them rest again for about 20 minutes. Avoid letting them touch, if you don't want them to stick together.

Dust your work surface with flour. Working one at a time, remove each piece of dough and pat it into a 5-inch circle. With a rolling pin, roll out the tortilla, working from the center out, until you have a 7- or 8-inch tortilla a little less than 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the tortilla to a hot, dry skillet or griddle. It will begin to blister. Let it cook for 30 seconds, turn it, and let the other side cook for 30 seconds.



While this is a good kitchen recipe, it's a pain in the ass and not practical when you're doing it over a fire to go with your frijoles. Here's the Wirecutter way:
Premeasure and mix your dry ingredients before you leave. Use canned or dehydrated milk, canned being the best. Build a fire and find a couple of flat rocks, making sure they're not shale. That shit'll explode on you when it gets hot. Use one rock to prepare, the other to cook on. Put the smaller of the rocks on the bed of coals, then commence to adding your milk and oil and kneading. Let the shit set for a bit, then pat it out into tortillas about an 1/8" thick. Forget the step about making them into little balls and letting them set some more, you're fucking hungry and ain't got time for that gourmet shit. Pop them on the hot rock and just when the top side starts to bubble and you see a wisp of smoke, grab the edge with your fingers and flip it over. Do not use tongs or a fork, that automatically brands you as a pussy.
***As a side note, I usually don't use oil when I make tortillas, I use the traditional lard but a bottle of oil is a little easier to transport and use when you're away from the house.***