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Tortilla Presses

BerkshireTsarina Mar 23, 2008 12:47 PM

Looking for recommendations for tortilla presses: wooden? cast aluminum? cast iron? Size:6.5 or 8 inches? Reasonably priced (but durable) brands?
Ready to take the plunge into tortilla making ---- thanks for any advice.

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  1. Davwud RE: BerkshireTsarina Mar 23, 2008 04:00 PM

    I'm in the same boat as you. I however am seriously considering making my own. It seems pretty easy to just look at one and copy it. Wooden one that is.

    DT

    1. p
      Pampatz RE: BerkshireTsarina Mar 23, 2008 08:52 PM

      We have a metal tortilla press and it works well. Got it at the mercado in Patzcuaro. Don't see a manufacturer's mark. We put the masa dough between 2 pieces of flexible plastic to keep the dough from sticking. I think that I cut the plastic from a plastic report cover.

      Most of the Mexican and Purepechan home cooks that I have watched cook pat out their tortilla with their hands. They just slap the dough back and forth between their hands. These turn out thicker than commercial tortillas and are really good. I haven't been very successful with this method. Not enough practice.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Pampatz
        BerkshireTsarina RE: Pampatz Mar 24, 2008 07:19 AM

        They've had a lifetime to learn! Someone on the New England Board (I was searching for a source for fresh tortillas in the Berkshires) said (s)he simply rolls them out between heavy plastic using a rolling pin, and it's a cinch. Dunno about the cinch part --- but I could give it a try.

        1. re: BerkshireTsarina
          p
          Pampatz RE: BerkshireTsarina Mar 24, 2008 10:48 AM

          My husband sometimes makes flour tortillas and that's how we does it. I agree that it does take a little more work than a press. His flour tortillas are always good.

          1. re: Pampatz
            flourgirl RE: Pampatz Mar 24, 2008 01:59 PM

            I'm going to have to try this. I've been wanting to try making home made tortillas but didn't want to buy yet another kitchen gadget. And all the books I read always say that a press is a must. Thanks for giving me the confidence to go ahead and try it this way

            1. re: Pampatz
              h
              hilltowner RE: Pampatz Mar 24, 2008 03:11 PM

              I'm the person from the New England board that rolls her own. Flour tortillas are a lot harder to roll out than corn ones. The masa/water mixture in corn tortillas shows absolutely no resistance to the rolling pin. It rolls out flat in a couple of passes. Flour ones have stretch, and also density that resists to rolling pin, making rolling out a lot more difficult. Give it a try with corn tortillas. If you have the masa on hand, what do you have to lose?

              1. re: hilltowner
                p
                Pampatz RE: hilltowner Mar 25, 2008 09:03 AM

                I agree, Hilltowner. The key to flour tortillas is to let the dough rest for at least 20 minutes before trying to roll it out. It still pulls back, but not as bad. Corn tortillas are much easier.

                1. re: Pampatz
                  flourgirl RE: Pampatz Mar 25, 2008 01:40 PM

                  It's like rolling out a pizza crust. I find I have to let my pizza crust dough rest for about 10-20 minutes after the initial roll to get them thin the way I like them.

        2. padre RE: BerkshireTsarina Apr 6, 2008 11:55 AM

          Depending on mood, I'll use rolling pin and plastic wrap (my usual method) or what I'm pretty sure is a cast aluminum manual press. I've been considering a wooden press for style points, but have thus far resisted the temptation somehow.

          1. BerkshireTsarina RE: BerkshireTsarina Jun 4, 2008 12:46 PM

            To report what's happened: After a long time and a lot of failed corn tortillas, the last couple of batches have been edible. Better than supermarket, at any rate. I finally got a cast iron tortilla press, ordered from Target online, and am thrilled with it. I had tried the two-plates-rolling-pin method, but I'm not so dexterous, and it took a really long time, and the tortillas were ragged. Now they look terrific and I can turn them out fast. So the remaining obstacles are: how moist to make the masa, and what kind of heat (med, med high, high?) works best to cook them. (I've got a comal coming by mail, I think I've been ruining a new All-Clad skillet.)

            7 Replies
            1. re: BerkshireTsarina
              flourgirl RE: BerkshireTsarina Jun 4, 2008 03:43 PM

              Good for you for sticking with it. I haven't given this a try yet, but you are motivating me to give it a crack.

              1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                Davwud RE: BerkshireTsarina Feb 8, 2009 06:51 AM

                Hey Berk.

                I opted for a cast aluminum press and have been making corn tortillas. They're fantastic. The first thing I did was make chicken enchiladas and Mrs. Sippi said they were incredible. I even made my own enchilada sauce. Just winged it in a crock pot. Worked perfectly.

                DT

                1. re: Davwud
                  Candy RE: Davwud Feb 8, 2009 08:34 AM

                  I find cast iron to be a bit better. I have had the cast aluminum type break. I found a new use for the tortilla press this past summer. It makes quick work out of making dumpling skins for Asian dumplings. I showed it to a Vietnamese friend and she had to have one and also her sister and mother. They were amazed at how fast the job went. My DH commented that he'd never seen the tortilla press get so much use.

                  1. re: Candy
                    Davwud RE: Candy Feb 8, 2009 08:39 AM

                    I bought mine over Christmas at of all places, the Lodge Cast iron Factory store in S. Pittsburg, Tn. It's definitely aluminum though. If it breaks I'll get a better one but it wasn't that expensive and I'd never used one before.

                    What recipe do you use for the dumpling skins??

                    DT

                    1. re: Davwud
                      Candy RE: Davwud Feb 8, 2009 09:34 AM

                      It varies. Some are made with wheat and some with wheat starch. It sure beats rolling those things out by hand.

                      1. re: Candy
                        Davwud RE: Candy Feb 8, 2009 10:00 AM

                        I keep thinking I need to make dumplings but never seem to get around to doing it.

                        DT

                        1. re: Davwud
                          Candy RE: Davwud Feb 8, 2009 10:52 AM

                          i was testing recipes for a book coming out this fall about Asian dumplings. It was fun and I learned a lot. Once you get into it it almost becomes a have to do more of that sort of thing. Buying frozen ones from an Asian grocery store just doesn't do it for me any more. Ellen Blonder's book is a good start. Andrea Nguyen's new book will be out in Sept.

              2. c
                cook52 RE: BerkshireTsarina Jun 7, 2008 06:35 PM

                When rolling out flour tortillas, try putting a little flour on rolling pin.

                2 Replies
                1. re: cook52
                  p
                  paraque RE: cook52 Feb 8, 2009 12:46 PM

                  So with all this talk about rolling out flour tortillas, let me ask... Do you guys do flour tortillas in a press? I've always rolled mine - I thought presses were only for corn tortillas. If it works better, I'd love to know. I've gotten to where I can roll a good tortillas pretty quick but it takes some energy, which I seem to be running short on these days...

                  1. re: paraque
                    Davwud RE: paraque Feb 8, 2009 03:00 PM

                    I tried my flour tortillas on the press but the dough needed to rest more. It gave a great round tortilla that shrank by almost half when I released the pressure. So I think I'll have to make the dough one day and press them the next and see how it goes.

                    DT

                2. Sam Fujisaka RE: BerkshireTsarina Feb 8, 2009 03:45 PM

                  I just use a normal aluminium press for maize tortillas. Pampatz, thanks for the plastic folder tip. Going to try that this week. Candy, I'm definitely going to try to make dumpling skins in my press: can I again ask you for your dough recipe when using the tortilla [press? Thanks.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                    Candy RE: Sam Fujisaka Feb 8, 2009 04:01 PM

                    Sure, no problem.

                    CKG

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                      Davwud RE: Sam Fujisaka Feb 8, 2009 05:28 PM

                      Sam.

                      I just take a Ziploc bag, cut the top and slit the sides. Works like a champ.

                      DT

                      1. re: Davwud
                        Sam Fujisaka RE: Davwud Feb 9, 2009 02:35 AM

                        Thank you. I get frustrated with the local plastic wrap - it only, and always, just sticks to itself.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                          l
                          lcool RE: Sam Fujisaka Feb 10, 2009 11:39 AM

                          Sam,
                          Next time you are stateside try for a"silpat" stop.I save my silpat for tougher applications and use a knock off or parchment for easy/soft things.

                    2. Soop RE: BerkshireTsarina Feb 9, 2009 02:28 AM

                      lawl, I had a... fun weekend of making tortillas. Luckily though I had a backup plan of store-bought flour tortillas. Here's what I found out:

                      Corn flour in England means corn starch in America. Does not make good tortillas.
                      "ready made polenta" is probably not the same as masa, despite containing mostly maize flour and water. Trying to roll this into a tortilla is like trying to roll a hotdog into a ball.

                      Ended up alright though, I made everything else from scratch.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Soop
                        Sam Fujisaka RE: Soop Feb 9, 2009 02:34 AM

                        Soop, I have to bring limed maize flour back to Colombia from mexico or the US to make tortillas. Colombian maize flour for making arepas will not work either!

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                          Soop RE: Sam Fujisaka Feb 9, 2009 02:48 AM

                          Damn. I know someone going soon, but it's inconvenient.

                          I'll have to source someone somewhere!

                        2. re: Soop
                          Davwud RE: Soop Feb 9, 2009 03:21 AM

                          Soop

                          Can you source some of this stuff?? http://www.amazon.com/Maseca-Corn-Flo...
                          That's what I use.

                          DT

                          1. re: Davwud
                            Soop RE: Davwud Feb 9, 2009 04:17 AM

                            Ah, cool. TBH, I totally forgot when I went to the big supermarket! I may be able to pop in tonight. Also there is a deli nearby that might do it, but it could be shut by then

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