Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Flour and Corn Tortillas ~ The best of both types of tortillas!
One of my kitchen challenges in Costa Rica has been to make decent Enchiladas without breaking the corn tortillas sold here. This would be the ultimate solution, a tortilla that tastes just like corn tortilla, yet it is moist and soft enough to roll without breaking. Thus began my quest to develop the perfect recipe for my own Flour & Corn Tortillas.
I began reviewing the basic recipe for corn tortillas and decided it probably needed a mixture of 1½ cups of white flour and 2 cups of the corn masa harina (corn flour) to start. After just a few tweaks , I now have a recipe to share with you.
1 ½ cups all-purpose white flour
2 cups corn flour (masa harina, maseca)
1 ¾ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening (manteca vegetal in Costa Rica, not oil, think Crisco)
1 ½ cups lukewarm water approximately
Combine the flours and salt in a medium sized bowl. I use a fork to thoroughly mix the flours. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter until the masa is well blended and resembles damp sand. Now, gradually add the water, starting with about a half a cup. Stir it with a spoon or fork, and keep adding a little more water. At this point you will need to start kneading the masa by hand. Keep adding small amounts of water and kneading until the masa is pliable, about the consistency of Play-Doh clay, but not too wet.
Cover the bowl of masa with a damp towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes. After the masa has rested, sprinkle a little flour over the surface and knead the masa for a minute or so. Now, divide the masa into 16 small ball of dough, about an 1¼ in diameter. The easy way is to divide the large ball of masa in half, then divide each of these into 2 more balls, then divide the 4 balls into 8, and finally divide the 8 in half to give you 16.
I have a cast iron griddle that stretches across two burners on my stove, so I can fry 2 tortillas at once. Set your temperature to medium/high heat (if you don’t have cast iron, use a skillet that can take the high heat with NO oil.)
Take a large plastic food storage bag and cut off the top section with the zipper/closer, and discard it. Slit it along both sides, leaving the fold at the bottom intact. The plastic will need to measure about 7” inches from the fold to the top and the width need to be at least the same, or greater.
Add a heaping tablespoon of flour to a small bowl for dusting each ball of masa.
If you have a tortilla press, place the folded edge of the plastic next to the hinge when you are ready to press. Now lightly dust a ball of masa in the flour and place it between the plastic, about an inch from the hinge, close the tortilla press, and push down on the handle until you have a nice thin rounded tortilla.
Gently peel the tortilla off the plastic and fry it on the hot griddle, or hot skillet, for 35-45 seconds on each side. As you are frying one tortilla, you can dust the next ball of masa and press it. Stack the finished tortillas onto a platter, or covered tortilla dish, to keep them warm.
Note: If you don’t have a tortilla press you can still press out the balls of masa between the plastic by hand, or by using a rolling pin. It will be a little harder to keep them round, but it is a technique Latin women have mastered for generations.
Servings: 16 tortillas
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
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