Saturday, May 4, 2013

Those Other Tortillas

I know we've done flour tortillas on the blog, but I've not yet attempted the far more intimidating corn version. Why do they scare me so? I'm not sure, but it's a real problem. Anyway, one of these days I'll muster up the courage to give it a go, but in the meantime, here's a demo from my buddies at showing the basic method. Can it really be this easy? Enjoy!


Roberto said...

Great video, but it implies that the corn flour is treated with lime (Calcium Oxide). Actually, masa harina is made from hard field corn treated with a slightly different chemical; SLAKED lime (Calcium Hydroxide) which is a kissing cousin to drain cleaner (Sodium Hydroxide). Slaked lime is also a major component of leg hair removal treatments. Slaked lime turns the field corn into hominy which is then ground to make this special corn flour. Try not to think too much about the process. The good news is that it prevents the disease Pellagra.

Trigger said...

Silly as it sounds...being an American living in Germany - THANK YOU for this...don't know why I didn't look on All Recipes before for this. Corn Tortillas are difficult to find if you don't live in one of the major cities (I live two hours from Hamburg - the closest). So easy...and I can get the Masa online. Now if I could only get green chilies and real jalapenos so easily... Thanks again! You are a real blessing to us ex-pats!

Toshiko Suisei said...

Dear Chef John, I was excited at first thinking I would see you making corn tortillas! Awww, but no. I have a few suggestions to go with the video if I may please as I have spent considerable time researching and practicing to um, perfect (I think), my corn tortillas.
--The dough in the video looks a little too dry. I always think of play-doh for best consistency.
--Using hot (but not boiling) water is important, as is a 10 min wrapped rest period.
--Cut a heavy-duty Ziploc bag into two squares - works longer than parchment or wax paper because of the moisture in the dough, and can be washed reused.
--If you don't have a tortilla press, try using the smooth bottom of a plate or saucepan and just press directly down on the dough ball. Perfect circle and no rolling pin tedium!
--Cooking them on stainless steel will leave difficult-to-remove scorch marks. Cast iron work best. Best for cooking is a cast iron griddle that fits over two burners. Two skillets work too.
--Heat one side of griddle to medium and the second to medium high. Cook 30 sec on med heat. Move and flip to medium high side for another 30 sec, then flip there again for another 30 sec.
--Gently tapping surface with finger tips a few times during the last 30 sec period will encourage a little puffing of the tortilla, which is desirable.
--Press the dough and cook in assembly-line fashion to finish fast.

Chef John said...

thanks! great tips!

philogaia said...

Toshiko indeed has great tips. It is how I make mine as well. It took me awhile to come around to the ziplog bag idea but wow it makes it a lot easier. I can only add that in the video they show putting the homemade corn tortilla into a ceramic keeper. Ceramic (and those odd plastic ones) work very well for the lower moisture store-bought tortillas but will steam your homemade ones into a mush. You want to use a woven basket style keeper lined with cloth.

And it is true, there is nothing that compares to homemade corn tortillas.

Gretchen said...

Uh huh...can't believe you're wussing out here. Make the tortillas Big Guy

Unknown said...

This is all great... A must try!!!

Miki said...

Still waiting for you to make a video on corn tortillas but I'd like to see how they can be made with corn flour or corn meal. I've found some recipes online but if you test and make it, we'll know we can do it to. Love your videos!