If I were a taco-architect and someone asked me to build a skyscraper out of tacos, I would require the finest, the freshest, the BEST tortillas available on Earth. If I were a budget-conscious taco-architect, (or one that hailed from Siberia or somewhere else where the BEST tortillas are unavailable) I would make those tortillas personally. Well, lucky for you and the people who hired me to make a taco skyscraper (Hint: It was not Jack-in-the-Box), I HAVE made those tortillas personally and now I will spread the gospel of How to Make Tortillas to my fine cooking friends: YOU. A special thanks goes to Beau for the inspiration and the recipe (which I have changed slightly). Thanks, Beau!
While corn tortillas dominate through most of Mexico, when you get close to the US-Mexico border, you will find flour tortillas much more common. They are usually made with lard, but you can use oil (as I’ve done) or vegetable shortening. In fact, I’d say from my experience eating tacos and tortillas all across this great state, while lard is typical in Mexico and in the border towns on both sides, shortening becomes the preferred fat as you head Northward towards San Antonio. And while corn remains very popular to hold such fillings as carnitas and al pastor, flour tortillas are almost always what you will find cradling your breakfast tacos and accompanying your fajita plates.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus about ½ -3/4 cup more for kneading)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- ¾ cup milk, room temperature
- Combine dry ingredients well. Add oil and milk and mix to form a soft dough. Turn dough lump out onto a floured board and knead for two minutes.
- You will need to add more flour a little at a time as you knead. After about a minute, the dough will change from very soft and squishy and easily torn, to slightly firmer and stretchier. At the end of two minutes, it will be a smooth dough ball, no longer sticky, but elastic.
- Put this beautiful dough ball back in the bowl from whence it came and cover it with a damp cloth for thirty minutes. This resting step should not be omitted - the resting allows the gluten molecules in the flour to align themselves perfectly to create a tender, chewy tortilla and also to possibly take over the world.
- After thirty minutes, come back and divide the dough into 10 equally sized balls. Easiest way to do it is to divide in half, then each half again, etc. The balls will be about the size of a golf ball or ping-pong ball.
- Put the balls on a plate and let them rest another ten minutes. Patience.
- Come back and on a lightly floured surface, pat each ball out flat to start it, then with your floured rolling pin, roll into a circle (or as close as you can get it) about 8 inches in diameter. Remember when rolling stuff out: start at the middle of the circle and push out to the edge. Then back to the middle and towards another edge. Keep going around until you have a circlish thing that looks like a tortilla.
- Once you've gotten the hang of it, go ahead and turn your cast iron skillet or griddle on high heat. Let it heat up sexy-hot while you continue to roll out tortillas.
- When it's hot as shit, throw a tortilla on there.
- After about a minute it will start to grow bubble-warts.
- When those bubbles have almost covered the whole surface of the tortilla, flip it over for another thirty seconds or so.
- Put it on a plate and do that with the rest of your dough discs.
And THAT is how you do it.
I think you’ll have fun with this. Make hangover tacos!
Or make your own corn tortillas! They’re even easier!