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Flour tortillas came out too stiff - any suggestions?

I used this recipe (scroll down):


The only change I made was to use 1% milk rather than whole milk. The tortillas tasted very good, but I'd like to get something I can roll, or at least fold. I don't eat meat, so if lard is the only thing that will help, I guess I'm out of luck. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Most recipes call for lard or shortening, which I imagine makes them more pliable. If you're opposed to shortening, I'd even give butter a shot.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rafjel

      You are quick! I have no opposition to shortening, and I even have some on hand. Thanks!

    2. the milk shouldn't have been the problem, though i'd use 2% instead of 1% next time.

      any chance you over-worked the dough? even too many passes with the rolling pin could have toughened it up.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        <any chance you over-worked the dough?>

        Yes. I am a notorious dough over-worker. OSHA has me on speed dial, probably. I'll try to calm down.

      2. "Whole milk" cannot be classified as such unless it contains a minimum of 3 1/2 percent milk fat. Using 1% milk is most probably your problem. With 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of milk in the recipe you shorted the fat by nearly three and one half times. I wouldn't recommend using butter because it's 15% water and trying to factor that into the equation becomes a mathematical nightmare.
        Also, make sure you get the tortillas on the grill as soon as they're flattend out. If you have to hold them, don't hold them for very long and keep them covered with plastic wrap or other suitable cover so they don't dry out.

        2 Replies
        1. re: todao

          I was pretty quick with them, and I did cover them with plastic wrap. It may indeed be the lack of fat. I saw some recipes that used water instead of milk, and shortening instead of vegetable oil, so maybe I'll give one of those a try. Do you have a favorite?

          1. re: todao

            I doubt if the fat or milk is the issue.

            My package of chappati flour (Indian flour tortillas) just calls for flour and water. It says to use a bit more water for a softer dough, better for chappati (stiffer dough for puri, which are fried). A bit of oil makes a smoother rolling dough.

            However, a package of flour tortilla mix (with some shortening already added), suggests adding some extra shortening (1-2 oz per 4c flour) for extra soft tortillas.

            Another thing to play with is the thickness and the cooking time. Thinner ones, if not overcooked, should be more pliable. Even cooking temperature will make a difference

          2. Don't throw them away. Since your flour tortillas won't roll, you could dry them out and break them into irregular sized crackers.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rtms

              I have no intention of throwing them away. They would be fine as a base for huevos rancheros, or a tostada. They're just not as pliable as I would like, because I was pining for a burrito.

            2. I've made the homesick texan tortillas, and to me, they were more the texture of a chalupa. I think the leavener makes them different from regular flour tortillas. I'm still looking for a good recipe that makes a flatter, more pliable flour tortilla.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ChristinaMason

                Christina or anyone interested, try this recipe link, from a early Rick Bayless cookbook, although I read somewhere that he doesn't use flour tortillas in his restaurants and has no recipes for them, as corn tortillas are what Mexicans eat.

                This is a bit different from the small h recipe:

                I would think you could sub some whole wheat flour for the white.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  Thank you. I have easy access to lard, so I guess I could give them a shot some night!

              2. Thanks, everyone. You have given me much to consider. Next time, I'll try the recipe bushwickgirl linked to. And limit my rolling while also trying to make the tortillas really thin (ha! like *that's* gonna work). Any suggestions from paulj for gauging when the pan has reached its ideal temperature? I wish I had one of these (so cool!):


                but I don't.

                2 Replies
                1. re: small h

                  That Bayless link looks like a good one for technique. It gives clues on how it should sound when first put on the pan, and how soon you should see blistering and puffing.

                  1. re: paulj

                    I watched this to get an idea of what to look for:


                    And then I felt like watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, for some reason.

                2. I've tried many recipes and have yet to find one that is pliable enough for burritos. Although l think letting it rest in the fridge to fully hydrate and rest helps a lot. The dough using water is similar to pie crust so I think the protein from the milk helps. The only thing I can think of is some type of dough enhancer, but I don't know anything about them. Except there is lecithin in egg yolk so I think I'll try adding a yolk or two to the recipe and see if that makes it more pliable. I'm sure a GF baker would have a lot more useful information. Also, although I've never made pasta dough I do know they work the dough to activate the gluten and make it more pliable. So many thoughts, guess I'd better get to work :-)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: just_M

                    To make ones suitable for burritos, I'd have to have a lot more practice in rolling and handling a large enough disk of dough.

                    1. re: paulj

                      That too, mine would probably be microrritos if they ever become pliable enough ;->

                  2. A happy update: I gave it another shot, using the Rick Bayless recipe provided by bushwickgirl, with shortening but no lard. The result was excellent. The tortillas rolled out thin and cooked up soft and pliable. I think my pan was a trace too hot, because I had a few burned spots, but nothing major - it added character. By the time I got to tortilla #9 (of 12), I'd even figured out how to get them round, instead of just round-ish. Yay! Burritos. Thanks, everyone!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: small h

                      Oh, very glad to hear this news! A few burned spots (think char, like on a good pizza crust) won't hurt.
                      It does take a few attempts to get them round, like when you first started rolling out pie crust, but you got the technique down.
                      BTW, I'm sure these can be frozen, if they last that long.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        I stuck the leftovers in a ziploc and threw 'em in the fridge. Twenty seconds in the microwave and they're good to go - not as terrific as when they were freshly made, but who among us is?

                        1. re: small h

                          "not as terrific as when they were freshly made, but who among us is?"
                          So very true...