Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 2-3 minutes
Yield: 12 flour tortillas
Recipe inspired by: Mi mejor amigo José
I’ve recently taken up an obsession with making things that we typically use a lot at home but never thought to actually make on our own. This obsession recently gave rise to making homemade Twinkies and sea salt. Over the past weekend, we decided to have tacos for dinner and didn’t have any shells or tortillas. So, being the intrepid baker that I am…I naturally decided to make my own flour tortillas.
Upon hearing about my quest to make flour tortillas, my friend gave me his family’s recipe to try out. José’s recipe calls for lard to bind it together…I know, the dreaded four letter word of the modern day. But, considering real (non-commercially hydrogenated) lard is in some ways better for you than butter I decided to give it a try. Since I didn’t have time to render our own lard I begrudgingly decided to buy a box of lard at the store. I’ve been assured vegetable shortening can be substituted for lard in this recipe and you’ll still get tasty tortillas; though they wouldn’t be as authentic.
These tortillas are just as tasty as you would get at the local Mexican restaurant. They are light and fluffy and as easy to make as pie crust. So tasty was this tortilla recipe we’ve actually made another double-sized batch (thus the huge quantities of tortillas in the pictures below) to tuck in the freezer to use later. These babies have even been persuaded to give lard a try in other things! Yeah, family friends in the Midwest would be proud.
Authentic Flour Tortillas
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening or lard
1 1/4 cups warm water
Directions for Authentic Flour Tortillas:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Add the lard or vegetable shortening and use a pastry blender or your fingers to cut the lard into the dough.
Add warm water, a little at a time until your dough is soft and no longer sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured counter and knead for 2-3 minutes. Allow the dough to absorb as much flour as it needs to not be sticky. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and allow it to rest on the counter for 10 minutes.
Use a knife or bench scrape to cut the dough into 12 small pieces. Form the pieces into dough balls weighing about 1.5 ounces (roughly the size of a walnut in its shell). Cover with a wet towel and let the dough rest for another 10 minutes.
This is a good time to heat an electric griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one piece of dough at a time, dust the dough with flour and gently press it into a small disc. Use a rolling pin to roll the disc into a flat, round circle (this is similar to rolling pie crust). You want to roll the dough as thin as it will go. Transfer rolled tortilla to a damp kitchen towel and continue rolling out the balls of dough. Place either a fold of the towel or wax paper between the rolled tortillas to prevent them from sticking together.
To cook the tortillas, place them on the hot griddle or skillet. Cook them dry without adding any oil to the pan. Cook on each side for 10-20 seconds. You will know it is time to flip the tortilla when the surface is covered with tiny bubbles. Place cooked tortillas in a towel to keep warm until you are ready to eat. For added warmth, you could place a warm heating pad under the stack of cooked tortillas. Store tortillas at room temperature for up to 5 days or tightly wrapped in the freezer for 3 months.