In keeping with the tradition of Lent, I decided to share a bunch of meatless, seafood-centered recipes this week that I fell for so hard when I made them. But in order for me to do that, I have to write about what I used as a base to make them with– flour tortillas, which I’m pretty sure right now you’re already thinking, ‘Well there’s lots of that in the Supermarket!’
Let me tell you a little something about flour tortillas: They are so much better homemade! And as is the greatest benefit from anything homemade, you know exactly what ingredients went go making them. You might be wondering why my tortillas seem brown rather than white, but I did actually use a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour when I made these. You can use purely all-purpose though if you want. The tortillas will wind-up less rough and a little softer.
I am pretty sure I am not the only person in the world who gets a kick out of learning how to make these supermarket staples at home, but the magic in homemade flour tortillas is not just the fact that it tastes better and is of better quality, but it’s so easy and fun too! This recipe doesn’t require a special tortilla press, only a rolling pin (or wine bottle I guess…) plus a non-stick skillet.
Why don’t I walk you through this homemade flour tortillas recipe to prove my point?
So this recipe is, like I said, incredibly easy. Plus it requires just five ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, oil, and warm water. For the fat, I like to use olive oil but others use regular vegetable oil or lard. Well I do stay away from lard unless it’s like the most crucial ingredient in a recipe, but my decision to use olive oil also comes from the idea that it would give the tortillas a bit more personality since it has a very light flavour on its own.
So the very first thing you do really is to mix together the dry ingredients, then drizzle in your choice of fat and then the water. At this point it’s a good idea to use clean hands to knead the liquid into the flour until you form a nice moist ball of dough that’s smooth and soft. All the flour and oil and water will have been completely incorporated, but the dough will be just slightly tacky. By the way, tacky is not the same as sticky, my friends. The dough should not stick to your hands or the bowl.
Next take the dough out of the bowl and onto a clean surface, then divide into 12 golf ball-sized portions. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes to relax the gluten before rolling, else the dough will just shrink back when you roll it out. When I’m ready, what I like to do is lightly sprinkle some flour on top of the dough round, then flatten it slightly with my palm before rolling it out with my lightly floured rolling pin. Roll it outwards, away from your body, then flip and repeat with the other side.
Sorry if my images aren’t super step-by-step because it was impossible to shoot and make the tortillas at the same time by myself. To make up for that I found a really great video that demonstrates how you can roll your tortilla into a nice round shape. While you’re rolling, heat up your thick-bottomed skillet at medium high.
Since I’m used to making bread and can roll dough pretty fast, I tend to roll out the rest of my dough while one piece of tortilla is cooking. I just move to the stove to flip my tortilla while rolling out the rest of my dough with no problem. If you’re not used to it though, I would suggest rolling out one piece of dough first, then heating the skillet. As it heats up roll a second piece of dough, so that you won’t need to worry too much while you’re cooking the first dough whether you’ll make it on the second dough.
The reason why I encourage rolling out the tortillas the moment you are about to cook them is so that they remain fresh and the dough doesn’t dry out. The tortillas don’t really cook that quickly (30 seconds per side seems brief in writing but it is enough!) so I think you have enough time to roll out the next dough just as the previous one cooks. Anyway, once you try this out I think you’ll quickly find a system that works. Or you can always ask someone to help you cook as you roll out the dough.
I really enjoy making these kinds of flatbreads that puff up as they cook! Long ago I shared a recipe for homemade pita bread as well, which cooks up in a similar fashion and which I gushed over in a similar way. Something about seeing them all fat and puffy I guess that makes me feel good about making them. Of course the puffiness does die down considerably once the tortillas are taken off the flame.
And before you know it, you’ve got yourself a stack of tortillas to use for whatever your heart pleases!
These can be used immediately, or refrigerated up to 5 days, but they also freeze well as long as you use them in 2 months’ time. No longer because remember we didn’t add any preservatives in these! Remember to store them in a ziplock bag either way.
But if you’re going to be using them immediately, or you’re having like a tortilla party where people will create their own tortillas wraps and stuff like that, just cover the tortillas with a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm and fresh. This is also a good thing to do with freshly cooked tortillas while they wait for you to finish cooking the rest.
Personally, I feel that this easy homemade flour tortillas recipe is one you want to write on an index card for your heirloom recipe box, or on your notebook of holy grail recipes. I sure did exactly that. Next time I need tortillas I’ll just whip out my notebook and whip up a batch of these. Easy, non-fussy, and delicious!
Homemade Flour Tortillas
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, or a mixture of white whole wheat & all-purpose
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil or olive oil
- 1 cup warm water
- 1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- 2. Using a spoon or your hands, mix the dough as you slowly stream in the oil then the water, until a ball is formed. Knead the dough until soft and just slightly tacky. It should clear the sides of the bowl instead of stick to it.
- 3. Turn out dough onto a flour-dusted surface and divide into 12 golf-ball sized portions. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
- 4. When ready to cook, heat a dry non-stick pan over medium high heat. Meanwhile, take one piece of dough and set on a clean surface. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour just to keep the rolling pin from sticking, then roll the dough balls into very thin rounds about 8 to 10 inches in diameter.
- 5. Lay the rolled-out dough flat into the dry skillet and cook for about 30 seconds per side. Once multiple small bubbles form in the surface and the edges of the dough begin to look dry, flip and watch for the same signs on the other side. Roll out the next dough in preparation while you wait for the tortilla in the pan to cook.
- 6. Place the cooked tortilla on a plate and cover with a clean dish cloth to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
- Storage: The tortillas can be kept in a ziplock plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or individually wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. To warm, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 10 seconds.
Okay that’s not so much a hint as is the answer. Now go forth and make these tortillas so we can have an Easter feast of said pizzas together! The recipe will be up real soon! 🙂