Tuesday, July 28, 2009

i have a secret

Without a doubt, I eat Mexican, or some version of Mexican weekly. I don't discriminate either. There's Tex-Mex, New Mex, California Mexican, traditional, southwestern and so on. I love it all. So much so I decided to make my own flour tortillas. I finally found a tortilla press at Sur la Table. I know, a bit of a novelty but if you know how much I love tortillas you would understand. The question now is, have you ever had fresh made tortillas? If so, you'll understand. If not, homemade are so much better than any store bought. I can't even begin to explain.

Like all things homemade, they require a little trial and error. At least this is my experience.
My first attempt was dry and cake like but had the right flavor. My second was more like a tortilla pancake. Too thick to even fold. I was in search of a thin and doughy tortilla. Something that would melt in my mouth. With a little tweaking I finally found something that more than works. My secret? I use leftover drippings from bacon in place of regular lard.

Flour Tortillas
makes 12 six inch tortillas

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lard (I like to use chilled bacon grease)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water

Special equipment: pastry blender, six to ten inch long wooden dowel (found in hardware stores), rolling pin or tortilla press.


Stir together flour with salt in a bowl, then cut in lard with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles course meal. Drizzle vegetable oil over mixture and stir in warm water until dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes, dusting hands occasionally with flour if dough is sticky.

Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 1 hour. Heat a dry well-seasoned cast-iron comal, regular griddle, or skillet over moderately low heat until hot. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and form into balls.

Roll out ball of dough one at a time. Use just enough flour to keep tortilla from sticking to the press or dowel. Don't try the assembly line method here or you'll be re pressing each tortilla. Like most dough, the tortillas shrink up after pressed if allowed to sit. Keep the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap while working. Roll out each ball into a 6 to 7 inch round, maintaining an even thinness. Place pressed tortilla on skillet and cook 1 minute on each side or until tortilla begins to brown. As one tortilla is cooking press another.

Tortilla will bubble and puff, and bottom will be browned in spots. Once browned flip tortilla and cook second side in same way, moving tortilla around to compensate for any hot spots. Transfer to a kitchen towel. Stack and cover tortillas once cooked. Tortillas can be made ahead of time, be sure to warm them before eating.


  1. mmm :) next group dinner at your casa!? ;) haha

  2. great idea Paige. Next dinner for sure!

  3. OMG... That looks SO great! We love tortillas in this house, but I've never tried to make them. I'm going to have to get me a tortilla press asap :0)