I have been making corn and flour tortillas for my family for years. The recipes are both really straight forward, in fact, the corn tortilla recipe I use comes straight off the corn flour package. But, in the early years I always struggled with getting the tortillas to be soft and flexible. They were delicious but would always crack and fall apart when we’d try to wrap them around whatever tasty filling we were trying to crane into our mouths. I think the secret to success is really more in what you do with the tortillas still hot off the griddle.
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup shortening (or lard)
1 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Using your hands, a couple forks or a pastry knife, cut shortening into the flour mixture until crumbly. Mix in the water until a dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
2. Decide how large you want your tortillas, I usually make several larger ones for burrito wrapping and a bunch of smaller ones for tacos and quick quesadillas. For the larger ones you need to make dough balls about the size of a racquet ball. For the smaller ones use about aim somewhere between a ping-pong ball and a golf ball sized dough ball. I portion the dough all out, return the balls to the bowl and cover to prevent drying.
3. Heat a large griddle, cast iron skillet or comal over medium-high heat. Do not add grease. Working quickly, roll out a dough ball as thin as you can get it, It can be tricky to get the elastic dough to retain its shape. I have found rolling them out on a NON-floured, smooth surface works wonders. The tortillas stick just enough to prevent the elastic snap back but peel off easily to transfer to the pan.
4. Cooking one tortillas at a time, place on hot pan. Leave in place until bubbles start to form, turn and cook the other side. Cooking each side for maybe a minute. Make sure you keep an eye on them, they cook quickly and can burn easily.
5. This last step is the secret. Immediately transfer your hot tortillas to an awaiting pot or bowl with good fitting lid. Cover and continue cooking until you have all your tortillas cooked. It is just that simple. The tortillas need to steam a bit after cooking to make them soft and pliable.
Once you try these homemade tortillas you will be forever ruined for those grocery store buys