August 27, 2009
I’ve got at least a half-dozen posts that I’ve been meaning to get written, but it’s been a busy month for us. It’s a Catch-22 of sorts: the more we have going on, the less time we have to document it!
One of the things I’d like to start writing up are our favorite recipes, with an initial emphasis on the various recipes that involve flour and Crisco — we go through an insane (and, obviously, unhealthy) amount of both. But, any recipe the kids eat is a recipe worth repeating.
With that, and by request, the documentation begins!
I first tried to make flour tortillas probably 12 years ago. It was part of an attempt to make as many possible components of a deluxe fajita meal from scratch. The tortillas were a bust — stiff, mainly — and, since we were living in Austin and had scads of sources for good tortillas, the experiment didn’t warrant repeating.
And then we moved to Ohio.
We have yet to find any source for good tortillas, restaurants or stores, so I started poking around on the ‘net for a recipe.
What I now makes is tightly based on the Flour Tortilla Recipe on texasrollingpins.com. It takes me right at a half hour from start to finish to make a dozen tortillas — it’s a simple recipe, and our family of five can demolish the full dozen in one sitting.
I’ve got my own little adjustments/tips to the recipe I started with, so here goes:
- 3 cups unbleached flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4-6 Tbsp. Crisco (I tend to go with “a heaping 1/4 cup” — aiming for a bit over 5 Tbsp)
- 1 to 1 1/4 cups warm-to-hot water — temperature wise, I go with “not so hot that you can’t hold your finger in it, but pretty close”
Mix the dry ingredients together in a metal bowl (I use the one from our KitchenAid mixer because I use the KitchenAid to do the mixing/kneading, but you can do the kneading by hand if that’s not an option). Cut in the Crisco (I’ve done this once with canola oil, and those came out okay…but I’ve gone back to the less-healthy Crisco since).
Pour in ONE CUP of the water and turn on the KitchenAid (speed 2) with the dough hook attachment. That’s probably all the water you will need — give it a minute or so to see if the dough forms up into a ball. If not, put in a little bit more water.
Once the dough is formed into a ball, let the mixer continue to run for a few minutes to knead it.
If you’re going to cook the tortillas right away, go ahead and preheat your griddle (I use a cast iron one that was my great-grandparents’ and it works great — made by the Griswold company, which went out of business in 1957; they really don’t make cookware to last like they used to!) to a medium-high heat.
Turn off the mixer and split out the dough into 12 balls (I use a scale to make them equal size — it comes out to ~2.25 oz for each ball). Roll them in your hands tightly to make them really round. This will make the tortillas themselves more round when you roll them out.
Let the dough balls rest for at least 10 minutes — you can let them rest for several hours if you want. I’ve never tried refrigerating them overnight, but I suspect that would work.
Sprinkle a little flour on the rolling surface (I do this right on the countertop), press a dough ball to flatten it slightly, and then roll it out with a rolling pin. You’ll need to flip it over partway through — sprinkle a little more flour on the rolling surface when you do it.
Then comes the fun part: put the tortilla on the griddle. They cook quickly — just need 10-20 seconds per side. I can usually get in a rhythm where I have the next tortilla half rolled out before needing to flip the tortilla on the griddle. I then finish rolling out the next dough ball and am ready to take the tortilla off the griddle.
That’s all there is too it! There’s a little experimenting involved with getting the dough consistency right and getting the griddle temperature right, but even a “bad” batch usually turns out pretty good!
I’ve also been successful doubling the quantities and making two dozen tortillas — the KitchenAid handles that fine.