Friday, March 11, 2011

Fresh, Homemade Flour Tortillas in No Time Flat

I was debating whether to call these supple, delectable discs, "tortillas," or "flatbreads," but since they were inspired by my testing of the Imusa tortilla press, seen herein, I decided to go with tortilla. This intro is dedicated to hungry SEO gurus everywhere.

Regardless of what you call them, if your only experience is with the dry, mundane supermarket varieties, you are in for a serious treat. Homemade tortillas are so much better that if you do decide to give these a try, be warned that you'll have a very hard time ever going back to the packaged option again.

Not only is the recipe very easy to make, there's no waiting hours for anything to rise, so in less than 30 minutes, you'll be enjoying the finest in hand-held meat delivery systems. Ironically, I failed to have any juicy grilled meat ready for the money shot, so I was forced to enjoy them au natural.

As I mention in the video, the hardest part of the entire procedure is rolling the dough balls into nice thin discs, but if you have a tortilla press this becomes very fast and easy. Since this post was made possible by my friends at Imusa, who also provided the press you see here, I'll included a couple links in case you want to add this apparatus to your kitchen tool collection.

I hope you give these a try soon, and your days of using store-bought tortillas comes to a warm, soft, and delicious end soon. Enjoy!

If you are interested in a tortilla press of your very own, here are a couple links:


Ingredients:
8 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cup), more as needed
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup hot water (about 105 degrees F.)

View the complete recipe

76 comments:

spontaneous-euphoria said...

Wow! This definitely looks worth trying!

CoConUt said...

Can we do this without the fat??

Chef John said...

No, besides, it's healthier with the fat.

Anonymous said...

Again, I repeat all over again. I HAVE THE COOLEST TORTILLA PRESS IN AMERICA!!!! Black walnut and
chinkapin from the California coast, hand made with LOVE by my husband. I can't wait to make these, using my COOLEST tortilla press.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Chef John, you rock.
BUT, my husband rocks just a little more.
Jackie

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I don't get a tortilla balloon :(

Chef John said...

not all of them puff all the way! That's normal.

Angie said...

Thanks for making it look so easy and approachable:) But if I don't want to use the vegetable shortening, what would you recommend for substitution from these - butter, olive oil, and coconut oil?

blogagog said...

For the lazy like me, you should mention that a cuisinart makes short work of that fat addition.

Chef John said...

You just did. ;-)

Chef John said...

btw, I use the cutter BECAUSE I'm lazy. Takes a minute and cleans 10 times faster than the cuisinart!

Chef John said...

Angie, butter or lard since you can cut it in would be best.

J&J said...

Would you be posting a corn tortilla recipe anytime soon?

xxnataliethaoxx said...

Chef John, will I be able to season this with garlic powder, maybe some cumin and paprika? I'm just wondering :P.
Btw, I am a HUGE fan :)

Chef John said...

of course you can! :-) thanks!

philogaia said...

I had no idea you could use a tortilla press for wheat tortillas. Sigh. I miss them probably more than pizza since I had to give up gluten. But for the benefit of J@amp;J, the method for corn tortillas is really similar. The recipe for the dough will always be on the bag of masa harina you buy. The trick is to let the dough rest for a half hour and to keep it covered or it will dry out. Otherwise all details Chef John gave here apply. They should even puff up when they cook. Use a really hot dry pan. Oh, and DON'T put corn tortillas in a commercial plastic tortilla warmer unless you use two layers of cloth in it. Those warmers are intended for commercial tortillas which are a lot lower in moisture than homemade. I made that mistake and my lovely homemade tortillas were gooey in 10 minutes.

Chef John, I heartily agree that homemade wheat tortillas are probably best just by themselves. A little frijoles refritos would be my only potential embelishment.

CoConUt said...

I agree , it's healthier with the fat. But I was wondering if I can tweak this a little bit to make pita bread , and you know..pita is fat free.

Jamie said...

I just wanted to pop on and say thanks chef for the suggestion of the analon copper pans. I am absolutely In love with my new pans, they are completely nonstick & just beautiful. Best of all, I managed to grab a special at my local supply store, got two pans for about 50 bucks. Thats 10 bucks cheaper than the one calphalon unison pan I bought which was terrible (according to the guy who sold me on it, it was the best... yeah right)

sam said...

These are very good!! And as easy as 123.

Cavie Family said...

Would you do corn next? Pretty please?

Catherine Charron said...

hey chef john I was wondering how much of the flower do you use in the actual tortilla and how much for kneading? Or is it all in the tortilla and you add extra for kneading?

Jean-luc said...

Heey chef john, how much flour do you put inot the tortilla and how much for kneading? Or is it all for the tortilla and you add extra for kneading? Please answer.

Chef John said...

Just like in the video, I used all the flour in dough plus a little more when kneading.

Chef John said...

Sure, or you could find a pita recipe. I haven't done one yet.

Eric said...

Great Vid Chef, making it easy for people to visualize the process.

I use a plastic zip lock bag cut at the seams to cover the plates. It makes it easier to transfer the flattened dough to the griddle without tearing.

Chris said...

It was a pleasure to meet you last weekend at KU, John. My wife and I tried finding a press locally to no avail, so I need to bite the bullet and order one of these from Amazon.

Am I mistaken that the 8" one can also make 6 1/2" ones or does the press need to be sized to the tortilla size?

Wendy B. said...

Excellent timing, Chef John! I have been wanting to try out my new straight-from-Mexico tortilla press but have lacked motivation. Yesterday my husband asked if we could make Mexican food soon so we are making it tonight. I have also promised homemade tortillas so it is serendipitous that you posted this!
I am hoping my new cast iron press works better than the cheapo aluminum one I was using.
Bring on the frijoles!

CB said...

Hey Chef--thanks for the vid recipe! You may like this idea--I like to finely chop a shallot and some fine dice garlic,add take a little dill or chopped cilantro, saute in butter, cool and add that to my dough. Gives the torts almost a indian bread/naan type flavor and texture and makes them extra special.

Chef John said...

chris, great meeting you too. yes, the larger one will make small also.

CB, sounds good!

Sara said...

Hi Chef John!
Thanks for your wonderful demo today at Macy's! I was a bit late but it was awesome to see YouTube celebrity in person!
And the duck you made was soo delicious!

Chef John said...

Thank you so much!!

Travis said...

I just made these today for a taco night... Oh man, SO tasty! When I make this recipe again (and trust me, I will), I want to try making slightly larger tortillas, since the ones I made were a little small. But man, I can't eat make these again!

Patrick said...

Some advice for those looking to buy a tortilla press - get one made of cast iron, or a giant block of wood. Although lighter and easier to store, the aluminum presses actually flex in the middle while pressing, and you can never get a really thin, even tortilla out of it. The aluminum is acceptible for corn torts and thicker flatbreads, but until I picked up the cast iron one, I used to have to hand-roll my flour tortillas.

Minna said...

Can i make this whole wheat? I am not allowed to eat white flour although it looks delicious..

Chef John said...

sure!

Anonymous said...

Could I do this with whole wheat flour? is it possible? I just wonder because it's "healthier."

Anonymous said...

What about corn flour?

Minna said...

tried whole wheat, came out AMAZING!

Rob said...

To make corn tortillas, buy some masa (I use maseca: http://www.mimaseca.com/ ) and follow the directions on the pack. You'll likely experiment a bit until you get a good feeling for how moist the dough should be (too wet and it sticks, too dry and it crumbles). You absolutely have to cover your bowl with dough in plastic wrap while you make tortillas or the masa will dry out.

Making tortillas by hand isn't too hard, but the press Chef John is using is amazing. I tried various methods (including the pan-smashing technique), and its by far the easiest and most effective way to make a tortilla.

You can also make them absurdly thin, if you like, with more presses, but you need to be careful that the tortilla doesn't stick to the plastic on the press. I can't vouch for how easy this is to do for a flour tortilla - for corn, you would press, peel off the tortilla, and then repeat.

Samantha said...

Hi! I've followed this recipe a bunch of times. But for some reason, none of my tortillas has ever puffed up. And I don't mean into a balloon. I don't even get a bubble. Should I be kneading the dough more (I only knead for a few minutes or until all of the flour is incorporated)? Or maybe the tortillas are too thick? Any ideas would be helpful!!

Chef John said...

Not sure! Are you sure you aren't missing step? Are you weighing? letting rest? Using good baking powder (not soda)? Maybe it's too dry? Can't tell from here!

Natalie said...

If I use butter instead of shortening, should I still use salt?

Chef John said...

I never use salted butter so I can't say. You'd have to experiment.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to refrigerate part of the 8 tortillas balls? (while there still dough i mean)
and then just fry them up when i want..
if it's possible, how long would the keep in the fridge?

thanks chef, great recipe :)

Chef John said...

Sorry, I'm honestly not sure!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,
What about masa flour instead of all purpous flour??

Chef John said...

not tried, maybe, but I'd just find a regular corn tortilla recipe!

Anonymous said...

Chef John, please show us how to do the gluten-free version (with corn flour?). Thanks! <3

Tirmaa said...

Just eat it!
was great.. I used vegetable oil and added more flour.. Thanks ^_^

Mike said...

I actually had a little trouble with this recipe. In the four seconds between the press and the pan the tortilla goes from 1/8" thin and 8" round to about 3/8" thick and 3" circle. Makes for great sopas, but that's not what I was hoping for! We live at sea level in a very humid part of the world. Any ideas on how to keep the tortilla a tortilla?

Cheers!

Chef John said...

Sorry, but I have no idea what would cause such extree shrinking.

Kari said...

You're awesome, Chef John. I make these tortillas about once a month. Love em. I even use butter and they come out just fine. Sometimes they puff, sometimes not. No big deal. They always taste great.

Anonymous said...

Chef John,
enjoyed the video. thank you. Two questions:
1. you said to weigh the ingredients but then the measurements are given in volume. So would you just weigh, say 3/4 cup as 6 oz?
2. For corn tortillas, do you still have to rest them?

thanks much

Chef John said...

The flour is the ingredient you want to use weight for, 8 oz. by weight.

K said...

I made these GLUTEN-FREE with "C4C" brand gluten-free flour and a 1/2 tsp. of xanthan gum in place of the regular flour. Rolled them with a pastry roller. No other changes, and they are perfect!!! Thanks for bringing joy into the life of someone who had given up on soft tortillas! You rock!

Denise said...

I'm sorry but I've tried these. Tortillas/Flat bread made with vegetable shortening, in my opinion, taste awful and I would rather have the store kind. I use the unhealthy lard in them because then they taste like tortillas. Sorry I know not all agree, but when it comes to shortening or lard both are equally healthwise not reccommended but lard definitley tastes so much better.

Scribul said...

in Romania my grandma made these flat breads for years,the thing is after she made the dough she has a teracota stove with a steel surface for cooking and she'd put those flat breads on there and let them cook slowly,we call it "turte" (sounds wierd in english) :))) hope that will give you an idea of finding an original name,and thanks for all your hard work on this blog,i tried a lot of your receipes,they all worked,the ones that didn't work at first just made me more stuborn and tried until it all worked out fine

mejaka said...

These are really good. I no longer mourn the loss of Rosie Guiterrez' tortilla recipe.

Only one thing. Video is great, but when I came back today because I couldn't find my recipe, I had to watch the whole dang video to get the information as to rests and dough handling. Why not print that essential information below the ingredients?

Chef John said...

Thanks! Because I hate to type! ;-)

dan u said...

i just made these last night, they were excellent, i wish there was a way to easiy make them enormous like th ones from the storeQ@

Unknown said...

These were amazing! Turned out perfect. I have been trying a few different tortilla recipes and I really like this one. Thank you, Chef John!


You know what I do while the dough is resting for 20 minutes? Make the pico de gallo. Or a margarita. Or both.

Sharon said...

Chef John, I can't wait to try these. I'm running out to get a press tomorrow. But I was wondering, how would you make these for a crowd? I love to entertain but I like to do as must advance prep as possible. Could I make and press the tortillas ahead of time (day before or earlier in the day)and store them wrapped in plastic until I'm ready to cook? Thanks in advance! Just discover your site, can't wait to explore the rest!

Chef John said...

yes! make ahead!

Anonymous said...

Chef John I just made these and like all the other recipes i have tried from your the came out fantastic!!!!!

Jeanne K said...

Hi Chef John, Saw this video and had to try them. Purchased a tortilla maker and they came out perfectly! Made grilled shrimp tacos with chopped seeded tomato, avocado slices, lettuce and a cilantro, lime sour cream. Thank you for this tortilla recipe and video. I tried to post a photo, but couldn't figure it out. I took masking tape and put the recipe instructions, measurements and cooking instructions on the bottom of the press. Now I can reach for the press and have all of the info in need. Thought I'd pass the tip along. :)

Anonymous said...

When I use butter instead of vegetable shortening, should I work with the same amount given or should I use more/less butter?

1Bigg_ER said...

Seems like when you roll these thick, as in the picture,you end up with chapati (Indian flat bread). Go thinner and you got tortillas. The wonders of food

dmparker4@charter.net said...

I make these, but I just use 1 tbsp of room temp butter, for each cup of flour used, no baking soda or shorting.
Wrap it in plastic wrap for 20 min, roll thin and cook on the hot skillet. They still rise and look just the same as these. They are more authentic, because they didn't have baking soda or shortening to make them back in the day.

Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

Chef John, you are THE MAN! Thank you so much for this simple, awesome recipe. I just made them for dinner and my husband (who is Mexican) said that they were nearly identical to his mom's delicious tortillas. We filled them with scrambled eggs, potatoes, chorizo, fresh salsa, and avocado - AMAZING! The only change I made was to make 6 tortillas instead of 8 so they were a little larger. Thanks again!

Erika Capdevielle Duffett said...

Can you cook them in advance and then just reheat at dinner time?

Anonymous said...

I made mine with butter and found that at "med-high" heat (gas stove) they burnt. Is that the effect of using butter? (Its all I had when I decided to try this recipe on impulse!)

Chef John said...

yes the butter!

bryan miracle said...

I just made these really quickly (all out of baking powder though, so no balloons for me) . A little mayonnaise spread on top and a sprinkle of paprika and they're extremely delicious! Thanks for the recipe

thingsforboys said...

Hubby made me a tortilla press for my birthday and I just tested it out! Yum! Thanks for the video.

mdb139 said...

I made these this weekend -- though I used a rolling pin because I don't have a press. I decided that I hadn't rolled out the first couple quite thing enough, so I really laid into the remaining ones -- and found that it was really quite hard to over-roll these, and the thinner I rolled them the better they turned out.

My main problem, though, was that these tasted so good that they almost out-shined the carnitas pork that I had spent five hours slow cooking! I'm sure I'll make these again, but I will have to time it for one of those nights where my wife is trying to feed me turkey tacos.

Seriously though, thanks for a great and easy recipe Chef John!

juliabritendark said...

I made these to make quessadillas.....I wanted a larger tortilla so I used the recipe to make four......they rolled out surprisingly easily on a piece of wax paper....in the cast iron skillet, they puffed nicely....I flipped them frequently to control the burning, but when they were done I looked at them and realized that the small burnt spots were how they are supposed to be.....thank you for another winner, chef john! I've followed your blog for years and feel like you've given me a free culinary education!