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Corn tortillas--is a tortilla press essential?

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So, I've been thinking about making corn tortillas at home so I can cut out some of the yummy lard (for health/diet reasons, alas), but, also, I just think fresh and homemde in this case will certainly be better than this cardboardish ones in the market.

I see that Amazon has some post-Christmas specials buy four items (not the same item, just four items from their "list") and get one free and a tortilla press is one of the things on the list. Should I jump at this chance?

Frankly, I hate the idea of another single purpose appliance in my kitchen. How badly do I need one of these things? I've seen people say you can press them between two plates and roll them out with a rolling pin. Giant hassle?

~TDQ

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  1. Giant hassle. Get the press.

    1. A tortilla press will make you life a lot easier. You can multitask it and use it to make thin bugers or I use it to make empanadas.

      1. Mexican women have been making tortillas without a press for centuries! But it's not something I've ever been able to do. I have stood side by side with girlfriends as they patted tortillas from hand to hand and ended up with perfection. When I tried to do the same thing, the damned masa turned to glue and made a mess of my hands. There is an art to it that escapes me.

        But you can get pretty good tortillas without a press by putting a ball of masa between two sheets of Saran wrap, pressing it fairly flat with the bottom of a frying pan or a plate, then using a rolling pin to get it to the thickness/thinness you want. Toss it on a grill to cook, and they're not bad.

        The thing I'm not crazy about with tortilla presses is that I've yet to find on that will make tortillas as big as I would like them. When I was a kid my mother used to get huge hand made corn torillas in Tijuana. They were about a foot in diameter, and one taco was a BIG dinner...!

        1. My cousin has a tortilla press, and it's great. Makes quick work of pressing dough into tortillas. So quick that he can press them faster than he can cook them.

          As for me, pressing the dough with the bottom of one of my heavier pots (I just lean on it) and then finishing up the tortilla with a rolling pin works fine, and the timing works out to where it takes as long to cook one tortilla as it does to make one. I don't make tortillas often enough to warrant a press.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ThreeGigs

            Are you talking about the cheap metal tortilla press you can get for a couple dollars or the electric "villaware" tortilla press? The electric appliance is for flour tortillas, the cheap metal press for corn tortillas is more of a tool that hardly takes up space. (you should be able to find it pretty cheap at a decent mexican foods store) I have both and they're both worth it. Make sure you use two pieces of plastic when you press the corn tortilla.

            Yes, Mexican women have been using their hands for a million years...BUT..MOST people in Mexico just go to a tortilleria to buy them fresh made (corn)...or use Maseca (a mix). In my grandma's house only one of the maids still makes corn tortillas by hand, the rest use the metal press. Flour tortillas are still always made from scratch.

            What will you use the tortillas for? Just tacos?...I would probably still use storebought corn for baked enchiladas or chilaquiles.. The best use for a fresh corn tortilla is just a little bit of perfectly ripe avocado and a sprinkle of salt.... also freshly made beans, crema and salsa...Oh I am getting so hungry!