It seems as if there are dozens and dozens of brands of tortillas in the stores these days. And do you want to know why? In two words: high profit. Think about it, eight tortillas take about 30 cents worth of flour, shortening, and salt. And, that’s the retail price of the raw ingredients; wholesale, it’s probably closer to a nickel. Now look at that price on the bag of tortillas again. Think they’re worth it? We don’t; that’s why, when we’re going to have tortillas, we just quick whip up a batch. It only takes a few minutes, and hot fresh tortillas taste great.
So let’s do it!
Make 4 tortillas
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- ~2 Tbs shortening
- ~1 cup boiling water
We use a mix of whole wheat and white flour, about a half a cup of each. You can use whatever ratio you think is best. Try different ratios to customize your tortillas; you’ll never get that at the store.
Whisk together flour and salt. In a heatproof bowl, mix the salt and flour together. Even though we say whisk, we just use a spoon.
Add shortening. It doesn’t have to be exactly 2 tablespoons, just come close. We use the same spoon (an ordinary soup spoon) for the whisking, measuring, and mixing.
Incorporate shortening. Now, with your fingertips, work the shortening into the flour until you have a crumbly-looking mixture.
Add boiling water. This is key! Use boiling water and add about 3/4 of a cup and try to stir it into a dough. Add a bit more water, if needed, until it all comes together in a ball.
Knead. Turn the dough out on the counter and knead for about 5 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Rest. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Often, we quickly knead up the dough in the morning right after boiling water for tea, then let it sit until evening.
Heat griddle. Put a griddle or cast-iron skillet to heat over medium heat. You’ll want a hot griddle to fry the tortillas. You shouldn’t need any oil, but if you do, just use a bit.
Divide and roll out. Divide the dough into four roughly equal pieces, and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out to about 8-inch circles. We never get circles, but they taste the same no matter the shape.
Griddle. Put the rolled-out tortilla on the griddle and cook for about 1 minute per side, or until golden brown spots form on the underside (yes, lift up an edge a peek).
Place in towel. As each tortilla comes of the griddle, place it under a clean dish towel to keep warm. Finish making tortillas and serve immediately.
Like most flatbreads, tortillas are really easy to make up, aren’t they? Now that you know how to make tortillas and once you taste these, you won’t be buying those store-bought gummy disks any more. Five.