Homemade Corn Tortillas
The best corn tortillas are freshly homemade. The fresher, the better. So it doesn’t get any fresher than making them yourself. It’s tough to get them just right. I haven’t quite mastered it yet, but these aren’t bad. You can use Masa Harina corn flour (easy) or you can make fresh masa (difficult, but tastes much better). If you’re taking the easy way out and making dough using store bought Masa Harina, the recipe is on this page. The amount of masa to water depends a bit on the brand, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for in terms of dough consistency. You want it to feel moist, but not sticky. You don’t want it too dry. Not enough water and you won’t be able to get a thin tortilla. Too much water and the tortilla will be impossible to remove from the tortilla press and onto the griddle. It takes a little practice. You’ll need to get a tortilla press. Mexgrocer.com has some affordable options. Unless you do it for a living, you’ll probably have a tough time getting it just right, but even a not perfect fresh corn tortilla is worth having every once in a while. It’s a special treat.
Homemade Corn Tortillas (makes 8 tortillas)
1 cup masa harina
1 cup water
In a bowl, mix together the masa, a little less than a cup of warm water, and salt. Knead for a few minutes and add additional water a little at a time until you get the right consistency. Moist, without being sticky. I generally start with just less than a cup of water per cup of masa. I’ll mix that with a fork until all the water is absorbed. Then I’ll pull together with my hands. Knead for 30 seconds or so. It will probably need more water, but it’s a fine line. I usually just dip my hand in water occasionally as I knead until it’s right. What I look for is a smooth dough. When you pinch a small bit of the dough it should push away smooth and not with a broken edge. Whenever you add a little water, make sure to knead for a bit before you test it. Cover with a moist towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes once it’s ready. Divide dough into 8-10 pieces. Form each piece into a ball and re-cover with a moist towel while making tortillas.
Cut a grocery bag into 2 equal sized pieces that fit onto your tortilla press. You’ll be pressing each ball into a tortilla between the pieces of bag. Once you’ve pressed the ball flat. Peel back and remove the top piece of plastic. Lift up the plastic with the tortilla. Turn upside down and while resting the tortilla on the palm of your free hand, peel back the other piece of plastic. Lay the tortilla onto a griddle, comal, or cast iron set on med-low to med. This really depends on your heat source. It takes a bit of trial and error. I use a cast iron griddle. Make sure to let the griddle preheat. There will be subtle variations if using fresh masa. You may need to adjust the heat a bit on your griddle. You may need to use different levels of pressure on your press. You’ll get the hang of it after a few test tortillas. Lay the raw tortilla on the griddle for 20-30 seconds until you can flip the tortilla without it breaking. Flip, for another 20-30 seconds. Then flip again. . On this last flip, give it a push with you fingers or a spatula and it should puff up a bit. That’s when you know you’ll got it right.
Use a tortilla warmer with a towel to keep the tortillas fresh. Use fresh or refrigerate. To reheat, add back to a griddle and heat for 20-30 seconds on each side. Or you can use a tortilla warmer pouch type thing and reheat in the microwave for about a minute if they’ve been refrigerated.