Foodie Friday! Homemade Flour Tortillas

A couple of days ago I was reading the 30-day Thrifty Challenge: The Food We Bought over at True Food Movement and clicked on their link about the USDA’s Food Plans, Cost of Food/Cost of Food at Home. I was amazed! My husband is complains that our food bills are too high, but when I clicked on December 2011, then on January and February 2011, I found that we are very frugal!

I did this, you might want to too – check your receipts from your last shopping trip – did you spend more than $100.00 in one shopping trip? Most of it in processed foods? Yep, I’ve been there; I’ve done that too. We are preaching to the choir here when we talk about wanting to eat healthier, get fit, and save money. But where does the dime drop? For my family it’s already dropped, but it’s still spinning. Will we be able to commit to healthy, fit, frugal lifestyle and Tweet like Charlie Sheen with #winning! or have one of Katy Perry’s epic fails? Popular culture is a big influencer because we our visual and seeing the same thing over and over becomes “normal.” Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, with no internet, you know what I’m talking about!

Several bloggers have been writing about these issues lately under healthy eating, frugal living, but isn’t this really more about a lifestylechange? In my new life as a permanent stay at home mom (SAHM), I’m realizing that when I “read the label” I’ve don’t like the 20+ ingredients that I can’t even pronounce. I mean, really, how hard is it to pronounce an ingredient like “flour”? Everything else are additives, stabilizers, color restorers, anti-caking agents, and preservatives.

Today I want to share with you my alternative to buying flour tortillas by making your own using this recipe from WikiHow Make Flour Tortillas. After getting to this part in my writing knowing that you can substitute other kinds of flour (like wheat) with this recipe I decided to bust out my wheat flour. You would need to adjust the amounts of flour and water in the recipe with trial and error – so don’t do what I did –  use all 4 cups of wheat flour! Results were mixed; it may be due to the age of my wheat flour, humidity in my home (or lack thereof) and/or the time of year, as I had to add a lot more water for the dough to have the right consistency. Next time I will incorporate white flour with the wheat to give it the smoother texture I prefer with the white flour tortillas. Biting into one of these wheat ones takes courage because several remained a bit dry even after cooking, but with some smear they are fine just not rolling. Oops.

I’ve seen other online recipes that pare the white flour down by half, less salt too, but use more baking powder, but I liked this combination of amounts the best. Again, it might be the age, humidity level, or season, but I end up using about 1-1/2 cups total water. You don’t need anything special with this recipe like a tortillas maker, a Comal (a special skillet for tortillas), or even a rolling pin.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

    • 4 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 cup lard or butter or vegetable shortening
    • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup warm water

Step One:

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Start with 2 cups of flour into the bowl, then baking powder, the shortening (I’ve never used lard in my baking, can you believe it? More about that, later). Add the remaining flour. Time to get your hands dirty! Dig in and start smushing the dry ingredients together until they are crumbly, it doesn’t have to be perfect. If you’ve made pie crust dough, then you should have a similar texture at this point.

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Step Two:

Add the salt into the water, swish with a spoon or whatever is handy, even your finger. Photo846 (2)

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Pour into the dry ingredients. Um, at this point I’d like to remind you to remove your hand jewelry least you end up like I did – forgetting! Mix until you have a nice dough. If it’s too dry, add more water a little bit at a time; if it’s too wet, add some flour. You should be able to get the consistency pretty quick.

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Don’t spray it with cooking spray or anything. Now is the time to heat up a skillet on your range over HIGH heat. You want your pan nice and hot! Think like the “hot” for pancakes – a pan too hot burns the pancake before it bubbles and a pan that isn’t heat hot enough will bubble but not brown.

Step Three: Test Tortilla

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Pull a handful of dough for your test tortilla and put it on a surface, no need to flour it first as it won’t be that tacky/ sticky. Photo857I find there hasn’t been any difference where I roll it out, but I use my rolling pin or you can use a can of refried beans, if you’re in a dorm room you know, whatever is handy. Photo863

Depending on what kind of style of tortilla you like, thick or thin is how you should roll it out. I like mine very thin (Sonoran style, I’ve been told) so when you roll it out, thick or thin, you can stack them on top of each other since they don’t stick to one another.Photo859 If you made a tortilla that is too big for your skillet, you’ll have smaller tortillas or get your biggest skillet out so that it can accommodate larger tortillas.

Turn the heat down to MEDIUM under your skillet. Your pan should be nice and hot now, so go ahead and put your tortilla in the skillet. It may take longer for your test tortilla to cook than that rest, so don’t worry, as you can adjust the heat once you get the hang of it. It will develop brown spots as it cooks, and the tortilla becomes stiff when it is ready to flip. If it’s floppy when you start to flip it, then it’s not ready. If you smell burning, then turn the heat down a bit. You can peak – it’s not a soufflé! It should look like this when you flip:

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If you are lucky, most likely your 2nd or 3rd tortilla will develop bubbles as it cooks. That is lucky!

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Um… too big of a bubble…

POP!!!

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If your test tortilla worked out perfect, repeat your methods. If it didn’t work out quite like you thought, then change it up. Here is a photo of a white flour tortilla I made last week and it was good! When I began trying to calculate the nutrition information for this post, I discovered the vegetable shortening had some of those ingredients I didn’t understand, so I bought lard at the store a couple of days later to try the next time I make these!

There are lots of things you can do with this dough, you can add herbs or spices, and be as creative as you like! Have you made tortillas before or experimented with flavors? Leave me a comment or include a link of your own recipe in exchange. Enjoy!

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About WyomingStoryGirl

I like all kinds of recipes and feeding the growling stomachs of my friends and family.

Posted on February 3, 2012, in Foodie and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I use tortillas frequently – a healthy whole wheat version that I LOVE! These look good… never tried to make my own before!

  2. Oh gosh, I love that you posted this. It seems to fit so well with my cracker post. Anyway, I actually own a tortilla press. But (bad me) I haven’t made my own in years. I think I used to use butter because I’m into lard or vegetable shortening. Now you’ve got me wanting to try making my own again. I’m with Sheila, whole wheat sounds good.

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