Sunday, 14 July 2013

Corn tortilla recipe vs flour tortilla: recipes and thoughts


I have finally made my first corn tortilla batch! I just got hold of the yellow cornmeal for the purpose. I was just at a local supermarket looking for curry powder and I saw it, it was the P.A.N. brand..

I opened all those files with tortilla recipes and went on to Youtube to look for video (nothing better than visual)..

So here is what I understood (correct me of I got it wrong): There are 2 main ways of making tortillas: We use shortening or we don't, we add a hint of baking powder or we don't..



I did both versions (even a hybrid version), and for first time tortilla makers, I got to say that shortening and baking powder enhance the dough and make it easier to work with. But that's my opinion only..

So which one is better? corn tortilla or flour tortilla? I would say by taste, corn tortilla is nicer and works well for corn chips or tacos. The only thing is that it becomes chewy especially if you have wet ingredients in your wrap. But the flour tortilla will be fine for a wrap. It's actually depending on how you want to use the tortillas.

I don't have a tortilla press, I just used a rolling pin. I didn't even need to roll the tortillas between 2 cling-films, I just rubbed my hands and the surface with shortening and it went fine.

 
Ingredients
Makes 10 medium-size tortillas for each recipe
Prep: 40 min - cooking 10 min

Corn tortilla Adapted from here (with video)
  • 2 cups of fine yellow corn flour
  • 1 1/3 cup of warm water
  • A good pinch of salt
  • Shortening to roll

Flour tortilla Adapted from here

  • 2 3/4 cups all Purpose Flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 5 tablespoons shortening (vegetable shortening for me)
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water

Mixed flour tortilla (the best) Adapted from here

  • 1 1/2 cups of fine yellow corn flour
  • 1 cup of white wheat flour
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup of warm water

Preparation

It's better to mix salt with water first so it dissolves.

Combine the flour (s) with shortening or oil when the recipe calls for it and work with your fingers until it comes to a fine crumble.

Pour 2/3 of the water and  combine. Add water based on your need. You just have to get a sort of dough ball that looks combined, which should take about 1 min.

When the dough is firm enough to handle, transfer it into a flat surface and knead it a bit, I'd say 5 min for a corn tortilla and about 10 min for the other versions (just like bread).


Divide into small pieces to make a sort of golf ball later and cover with a cling film. Set aside for 30- 60 min at room temperature.


Shaping and cooking the tortillas

Heat a griddle/ cast iron skillet/ non stick pan over medium high heat.


You could just flatten the balls with a rolling pin, try to have a round shaped tortilla or just use a round plate and cut the excess. Then cover with a damp kitchen towel or place it straight into the skilled.

I found out that smearing the palm of my hands with shortening and "re-working" the dough balls, reshaping them and then flattening them gave me a malleable texture.

Flatten a ball while covering the others) until very thin (you could see through) and then cook on medium hight heat using a cast iron skillet. You need to transfer the tortilla from the work surface using the palm of your hands and flip it over the skillet. You'll see bubbles appear and that's cool!


Each tortilla will need to cook for 3-4 min. I flipped them each 10 seconds. You want to get some brown spots which give a nice taste. I found this stage a bit tricky because there is a fine line between cooking the tortillas properly and drying them out. So be careful to pull it out in the right time and not to overheat the pan.

Cover with a warm towel until ready to serve. Cooked tortillas have to stay covered with a slightly dampened, clean dish towel.

The tortillas will keep in the refrigerator for a few days in a sealed plastic bag, then they'll begin to dry out (the right time to make homemade "Doritos").



How to heat tortillas (or bring them to life again)?

In the Microwave - Put a few tortillas on a plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave for about 30-second until they are warmed through. Repeat in batches if you have a lot.

In the Oven - Wrap a few tortillas in a packet of aluminium foil or damped parchment paper and put it in a pre-heated oven at 200-180 degrees C for 15 min, until heated through. You could also heat the oven to maximum (about 250 degrees in my case), then place them in the oven and knock it off..

On a cooker ring (especially when they're still fresh): on a dry pan, warm each tortilla for a few seconds on each side over medium heat. But I still prefer the first 2 methods.

If the tortillas look old or somehow dry, brush them with a bit of water before heating them.



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