I have nothing clever to say about homemade tortillas. Flour. Water. Salt. Butter. The end. It took exactly two days living in Macedonia before the realization hit that I might be facing a lifetime without the beloved standby that effortlessly turns a few slices of cheese and a jar of salsa into a perfectly legitimate (if not entirely healthy) snack. So, being the resourceful girl that I am, I turned to the google for advice. I was relieved to learn that homemade tortillas are actually a breeze to make and don’t contain any “weird” ingredients that would be hard to find.
We’ve probably already talked about the way living overseas has a way of turning a person into some sort of Laura Ingals Wilder wannabe. Trust me, it may start innocently enough with these tortillas, but before you know it you’ll be making your own yogurt and grinding your own peanut butter! These tortillas are good. I mean really, really good. Like, so good that even though I am back in America where my local grocery store carries at least fifteen varieties, I still opt for these homemade tortillas.
A word about ingredients and methodology–often times tortilla recipes call for lard. I am not opposed to the use of lard in theory, but in practice it can be hard to get your hands on. The first time I made these, I used all butter, but I found that the tortillas turned out crispy, more like a cracker. I’ve also tried making these with only olive oil, but the result was too greasy with an overwhelming olive oil-y flavor, which was less than complimentary to the tacos I made. Finally, I settled on the ratio of butter to oil in the recipe below, which yields a tortilla that is soft and, well, tastes like a tortilla.
- 2 cups flour (plus extra for rolling out the dough)
- 4 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cool water
- Combine flour and salt in a medium sized bowl.
- Add oil and butter. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Slowly sprinkle water over the flour mixture, using your fingers or a spoon to incorporate the water into the dough. Knead the dough a couple of times in the bowl. After you add the water, knead the dough a few times until it is no longer sticky. If the dough seems wet or keeps sticking to your hands, sprinkle a bit of flour on it and knead three or four more times.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces.
- Using a rolling pin, on a lightly floured surface, roll out each tortilla. The tortillas should be very thin, but don’t worry too much about getting them perfectly round.
- Heat a cast iron (or non-stick) pan over medium heat.
- Cook each tortilla individually, for about 20-30 seconds on each side. After about 20-30 seconds in the pan the tortilla should start to puff in places. When flipped the tortilla, should have a few golden brown spots. Do not over cook, lest you end up with a tortilla cracker!