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GOOD Homemade Tortillas

I am looking for some GOOD homemade flour and corn tortillas. I am willing to drive and pay for a place that consistently makes them. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks!

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  1. Good thick and rustic flour tortillas are few and far between in Austin. I'd call Casa Alde (maybe listed under Helen's Casa Alde) in Buda. They have huge, thick handmade tortillas with nice black char marks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: achtungpv

      I buy corn by the dozen from Angie's. Try to use them right away 'cos they lose something over time.

    2. Sometimes they're crusty (which is really sad), but Rosita's Al Pastor has my favorite flour tortillas in Austin. Angie's and El Meson rule on the corn front.

      1. The best homemade corn torillas I've had in Austin are at La Canaria, the bright yellow taco trailer at the corner of Airport and 51st. They don't usually sell them by the dozen, but are so nice, I'll bet if you ask, they'll do it.
        Of course, if you want to sample them first, try them with the Lenga (in red sauce), Chicharones, or Carne Guisda - these 3 meats stand from all the others.

        1. Let me qualify that IF I lived south there'd be many more options...

          That being said, up here in the land of the bland, I find Curra's corn tortillas to be of very high quality.

          1. Good topic, I'd like to ask the board how they know, other than asking, when they get a hold of a homemade tortilla, like what to look for in each.
            I'll admit that I'm hard pressed to say one way or another whether the tortillas or chips I'm eating are on premises or store bought.

            15 Replies
            1. re: chucklesmcfarland

              Chuckles, good question. It is often easier to tell when the tortillas are for sure not homemade, as an off flavor that tastes like preservatives (try a store bought tortilla), will usually come forth and you can smell it. That being said, there are some good-to average tortillas that are made with machines (ie. Centrall Markets). These beat not having the real thing, in a pinch.

              I dont mind making them.... when I have the time. But, lets face it, I dont always have the time OR patience!

              I grew up eating homemade tortillas and in Houston, they are so easy to find. Not such good luck in here in Austin. Like for corn tortillas, usually I prefer the thicker ones. And, they taste like...well, ground corn. So good! And for the flour, there are a few types, I prefer mine dough-y and thick. So thick and fluffy you can even just eat them by themselves.... maybe a lil butter or cream cheese. But, that is a whole other topic! What can I say... they are just good!

              Thanks to all for recommendations, if you guys have any more... please do share! ;)

              1. re: Aggiegirl1998

                Amayas Taco Village in Capitol Plaza has thick homemade corn tortillas that you might like.

              2. re: chucklesmcfarland

                I thought you might enjoy checking out this thread on General Chowhounding Topics, Chuckles:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/413665

                I've noticed that many people can't tell if tortillas are store-bought. They often seem to just take the server's word for it, which is usually a big mistake. Tortillas made by machine are only as good as the masa, and I've yet to find exceptional ones that were not produced by high-volume tortillerías and panaderías. On the other hand, if a place is making hand-rolled tortillas, they usually advertise it. You can also sometimes see viejitas doing the back-breaking labor of rolling out and shaping dozens of tortillas during the morning rush.

                Flour tortillas, at least in San-Antonio-style-Tejano-Tex-Mex, are more or less a biscuit dough. Think of the difference between biscuits made by hand with flour, baking powder, and shortening (ideally, real butter or lard) and the ones made from Bisquick or those refrigerated cans. Of course, some of the thinner varieties around town (and the country) skip the baking powder. Non-store-bought corn tortillas are best when made from fresh corn masa, just like the dough—not filling—of a good Tejano-Tex-Mex tamal. Since there are no molinos in town, however, most "homemade" ones in Austin are made with dry masa harina that’s been reconstituted with water. If you’re lucky, they've also added some chicken broth, lard, and/or salt when making the masa.

                This website provides definitions of some of these terms:

                http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/masanixt...

                Much better tortillas are available in bulk in San Antonio, which is not very far away. My preferred versions in Austin are not sold by the dozen. Currently, my favorite flour tortillas can be found at Taquería el Rinconsito; my favorite corn ones are served at Taquería el Rico or El Mesón.

                1. re: MPH

                  I bet that the places MPH mentions in Austin would sell you some tortillas by themselves, though I haven't asked. I've planned to ask for some at Taqueria el Riconsito the next time we grill some flank steak, and I'll let you know if I'm successful, Aggiegirl.

                  1. re: diva360

                    Thanks for the information, guys! Soy Mexicana, so... yea.... es muy importante para me. BUT, I seem to just keep trying different places in hopes that one will surprise me with their over the top veijita-making tortillas. I will post once I find one that I like ;) And, please do the same! Happy Eating.

                    1. re: Aggiegirl1998

                      What places have you tried so far on your quest? How did they fall short of your elusive ideal? Come to think of it, what ideal are you shooting for? I've tried different styles from the Rio Grande Valley style of Don Luis and Sport Taco to the San Antonio style of a place like El Rinconsito and found deliciousness in each. (Of course none are like what Mom used to whip out of an Old El Paso box when I was little.)

                      1. re: Knoblauch

                        I've never seen Old El Paso box flour. My mother use to buy the 10-15 lb bag of White wing flour. She would make them twice at day, in the morning and dinner. She no longer makes them. :(

                  2. re: MPH

                    mph...would you speculate about the nature of a profound tortilla?
                    do you recommend any "store bought"? I shop HEB/oltorf...
                    Thanks for all your posts...edifying!

                    1. re: williemac

                      There was a very glowing review of the Whole Foods 365 Organic tortillas in The Chronicle a few weeks ago. I've yet to make it up there to try them, though.

                      I like the "standard" El Milagro tortillas that a lot of taco joints in town use, which generally cost around $.25 a piece when buying them alone from a restaurant.

                      1. re: skechada

                        http://www.el-milagro.com/locations.html

                        A dollar will get you 2 dozen of their wonderful white corn tortillas.Fire up the comal and blister em a bit...stuff with your favorite meat and your set.Oaxacan Tamaleo uses this purveyor and that's the highest accolade out there.

                        1. re: scrumptiouschef

                          With any store bought flour tortillas you should always toss them on a hot skillet for 30 seconds. I think they actually undercook them, maybe for shelf life?

                          The new HEB Plus in Kyle makes tortillas in house that are far superior to any in town and are borderline homemade in quality. I've bought the CM versions and HEB versions that are made in store and none compare to the Kyle version.

                          I'll vouch for the El Milagro white corn ones also. I will not eat any store bought corn tortillas other than these. They are very good and available at CM.

                          1. re: achtungpv

                            The flour tortillas at El Milagro are of the thin, commercially-pressed variety: no good shortening but serviceable flavor for grocery-store-like tortillas. They're also too gluey; in fact, the entire dozen is likely to stick together. The regular corn tortillas at El Milagro are gummy on the inside and taste like they were made with bad masa fresca. The white-corn ones may be better. I've never purchased them in bulk, but some taquería around town has probably served them to me, without my knowing the source.

                            I've tried the new variety of Whole Foods tortillas. They look like the real deal, but the best thing about them is the texture. The flavor is not much better than the older, thinner, so-called traditional tortillas that they still sell. If you're used to only bad grocery-store flour tortillas, then these will seem really good.

                            I'm in San Antonio regularly, so I just buy mine at a molino or panadería there. Otherwise, I might check out the HEB Plus in Kyle. All other highly touted grocery-store-produced tortillas in town just don't do it for me. There are, however, some local handmade ones that I like, referenced in my post above.

                            1. re: MPH

                              When you get your tortillas from SA, how do you store them to retain optimal freshness? How long can you keep before having to chuck 'em and start over? Can you freeze? Thanks!!!

                              1. re: Bababooey

                                Good question. In my experience, both corn and flour tortillas freeze pretty well for a few weeks or up to a couple of months. I used to do that all the time when I was living on the East Coast and only came back to Texas a few times a year.

                                It's often helpful to put a piece of waxed paper between each tortilla so that you can defrost a few at a time instead of the whole dozen. Otherwise, they'll all stick together. Squeeze out as much of the air in the original bag as possible [or re-wrap in plastic], seal them up tightly, and put the whole thing inside a freezer bag. When it's time to use them, you get better results if you thaw them out naturally (in the fridge) instead of using the microwave. To warm, just heat them on a griddle or even in the oven.

                      2. re: williemac

                        As far as grocery store tortillas go, I like the uncooked flour ones from Guerrero (look for the label "fresqui-ricas"). At my local HEB (Mopac and Parmer) they're stored with all the other tortillas. Margarita's organic also makes pretty good flour ones, and you can find those at the Whole Foods.

                  3. The other day I was at HEB and saw some uncooked, pre-pressed tortillas next to the eggs. Has anyone tried these? I was in a hurry and did not stop to investigate the package to see where they are made, etc...

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: Honey Bee

                      I finally bought these and ate a couple last night. Much better than any other store bought tortilla I have found. They were on the larger side (maybe 8"), and cooked in about 30 seconds. They lacked the dry, pastey flavor I have come to associate with most flour tortillas. Hot with butter and a pinch of salt they made a fine snack. These will be my go-to option for store bought tortillas from now on.

                      1. re: Honey Bee

                        Thanks for following up, Honey Bee. (I also appreciated your new thread on the Gateau de Rois at Sweetish Hill.) I'll keep HEB's pre-pressed, uncooked flour tortillas in mind for those days when I need a lot of tortillas fast and have nothing in the freezer and no time/inclination to make my own.

                        1. re: MPH

                          I stopped at the HEB at 2222 and Burnet with these uncooked tortillas in mind, but I forgot to look near the eggs. So I ended up buying their regular packaged flour tortillas, which are labeled "made fresh everyday." I never buy these, and now I remember why. They are so sweet. I checked the many ingredients, and sure enough, sugar is listed. (Traditional ingredients consist of only flour, salt, baking powder, water, and shortening—preferably one that tastes good and is non-vegetarian.) In my opinion, there are better packaged flour tortillas available, such as those sold under the brand-name El Mejor. Their texture is similar (packaged tortillas will always be more rubbery than fresh ones are), but at least the flavor is better.

                          The uncooked ones that you mention could have been near the eggs at this HEB location, since I didn't look in that section. But do you think that they are just the raw versions of HEB's packaged tortillas? In other words, is it the same dough? If so, I don't think these are the tortillas for me.

                          1. re: MPH

                            They are packaged by HEB, but--at least to me--taste very different than the HEB tortillas found in the bread aisle. I buy them at the HEB at William Cannon and Brodie Lane.

                            I will go home and check the ingredient list for sugar and report back.

                            1. re: Honey Bee

                              If you have to suffer with any store bought tortillas, always put them on a skillet for about 10 seconds a side on high heat and the taste and texture will improve greatly. I think they undercook them to improve shelf life.

                              1. re: achtungpv

                                Thanks for offering to check the ingredients listed on the uncooked ones, Honey Bee. I'll do the same, if I get to an HEB before you do.

                                Achtungpv's advice is right on, but I certainly hope that no one on this thread is eating grocery-store packaged tortillas right out of the bag ;-) I'd also suggest that the added preservatives (like guar gum) in commercial tortillas don't do much to improve their texture. The type of flour and amount of fat used also have a significant effect:

                                http://lomexicano.com/flour_tortillas...

                                Just for fun, I've included a link to a highly unappetizing discussion of the problem of tortilla "stickiness" from the perspective of scientists who do research for the food-service industry:

                                http://www.entrepreneur.com/tradejour...

                                The industry is so not focused on deliciousness. Fortunately, there are a few flour-tortilla-making local cooks who keep rolling out the good stuff.

                                1. re: MPH

                                  Checked the ingredients last night--no sugar. The ones listed are flour, beef fat, salt, and a few perservatives. I grilled one up last night to accompany a big bowl of green chile and white bean pork stew and was once again happy I made this discovery.

                                  1. re: Honey Bee

                                    Thanks for checking on and posting about the ingredients in the uncooked HEB tortillas, Honey Bee. I went back to the same store (at 2222 and Burnet) and found these tortillas in the refrigerated section by the eggs, as promised. They come in packages of either 13 or 25, so I went for the larger size. In the bag, they felt as hard as a rock and twice as heavy. They also looked dark, like a light shade of brown, as though they were made with whole-wheat flour. It turns out that they were just the color of beef grease mixed with white flour.

                                    First, let me say that these tortillas, when cooked at home on the comal, were far superior to any other packaged tortillas that are sold in bulk at local grocery stores. (Of course, I'm only speaking of the varieties that I've tried.) These HEB tortillas are of the type produced at the now-defunct Don Luis: thin, greasy tortillas made without baking powder and not very much flour. The masa [dough] is very heavy on the shortening, leaving the cooked tortillas almost translucent in spots. In this case, the shortening used is beef fat, as Honey Bee pointed out above.

                                    I have to say that I prefer pork fat in flour tortillas; plus, the shortening-to-flour ratio was too high for my tastes. Overall, I prefer the flour tortillas that I purchase by the dozen from my sources in San Antonio. I also think some of the hand-rolled ones available here in Austin (like the ones at El Rinconsito) are better. Nonetheless, these tasted darn good wrapped around homemade refried beans. Plus, as I said above, they blow away the flour tortillas that are widely available in mass-market grocery stores.

                                    Thanks again for the dedicated chowhounding, Honey Bee. These were a great find.

                                    1. re: MPH

                                      Correction - these tortillas ARE actually wheat flour, fortified, and mixed with beef fat, salt , and "less than 2% ingredients." Some of the more interesting less than 2% ingredients listed are corn starch, locust bean gum,and wheat gluten. I'm not sure why they felt the need for the gum and gluten, but I'm not a food scientist. When cooked normally, they have a slightly gluey texture. I've found that if you cook them up at *lower* heat on the cast iron comal "type" pan, and let them brown up nicely without getting hard, then they puff up just a bit. They are far superior to 95% of the tortilas I've had in Austin restaurants.

                                      Whatever you do, don't throw any tortilla directly on a gas burner. That's just me.

                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                        Thanks for quoting the ingredients to show that they list "wheat flour" and not "100% whole-wheat flour." This confirms what I posted above: These tortillas are not made from "whole-wheat flour." Deciphering bread labels is tricky because there are lots of wheat flours, but "wheat flour" is not the same thing as "whole-wheat flour." See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_grain

                                        It's good to have an easy alternative to the many bad tortillas in town, but it would be nice if more restaurants made their own—and made them well.

                                        1. re: MPH

                                          Well, what's the difference between wheat flour and white flour? Or just flour? That's a weird word if you say it ten times in a row.

                                          It seems like a tortilla with "100% whole-wheat flour" would taste absolutely horrible.

                                2. re: achtungpv

                                  >> always put them on a skillet for about 10 seconds a side on high heat and the taste and texture will improve greatly. <<

                                  What I usually do is stack two tortillas and throw them directly onto the stove's gas burner until good & warm. Flip manually or with tongs.

                      2. I really like Margarita's Tortilla Factory flour tortillas. They are thin, but not too thin like the CM tortillas. They have a good bite to them and they are pliable and not too dense. I use them for quesadillas. They just get better when you cook them in a spritz of oil on a cast iron skillet or griddle.

                        http://margaritastortillafactory.com/

                        1. I know this is far but Mamacita's in San Marcos has the best flour tortillas. They are extremely fresh and can easily be eat with butter or nothing alone. They tend to stay fresh even while cold.

                          1 Reply
                          1. No joke: Pappasito's has some seriously good flour tortillas. If I were looking to buy some, I'd go there in a heartbeat. Very fresh, very fatty, very awesome.

                            La Cocina de Consuelo has my favorite tortillas ever, though. They're wheat, so they may not be exactly what you're looking for.

                            1. El Corral Lozano, a humble little Mexican restaurant in Taylor, makes absurdly good homemade tortillas.

                              Also incredible tacos (al pastor especially) and other staples.

                              [ 221 W. 4th — Taylor, TX — 76574 — (521) 352-3728 ]

                              1. Angie's has some excellent homemade corn tortillas. For flour, I like La Reyna's. Most of all, I like making my own flour tortillas at home. My mom used to make a double batch every Sunday and they almost lasted until Wednesday. :-) She didn't use White Wings or Old El Paso flours...she used regular flour. Her recipe was basically water, salt, flour and shortening. Lard makes far superior tortillas though. In San Antonio there is a restaurant called Taco Haven on S. Presa that makes incredible flour tortillas using lard. They are amazing.