Tortillas from Scratch

Corn tortillas are made with a type of specially treated corn flour called masa harina. To make masa harina, whole corn kernels are boiled with an alkali until the hulls loosen and float to the top. The kernels are then drained, crushed, and dried. The resulting flour is mixed with water and kneaded into a pliable dough in order to make tortillas. You can find dry masa harina at many supermarkets. At specialty stores and Mexican grocers, you may even find fresh masa, which needs to be used right away.


Making Corn Tortillas

Makes sixteen 6-inch tortillas

Even though they're such a simple item, it takes years of practice before cooks can effortlessly make a perfect tortilla. (A tortilla press makes flattening the rounds much easier.) For corn tortillas, divide the dough into small balls--about the size of a walnut. Keep the dough wrapped in plastic while you work with one piece at a time.

The best way to bake the tortillas is to use a cast iron griddle--the kind that stretches across two burners of your stove. Two cast iron skillets will work, as well.



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