HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Mission style tortilla recipe-- Need help [Moved from SF Bay Area board]

viterbo2000 Aug 18, 2010 08:28 PM

Hi everyone, I was wondering if someone new how to do mission style tortillas. I was a foreign student and i loved the buriitos that i could get in san fransisco. Now im back home and there are no options here for burritos, it sucks!! ive tried imitating the burritos and ive done a good job with the ingredients but no luck with the tortillas. ive read a few recipies online, and altough they turn out alrite i cant replicate the tortillas i got there that were flexible, perfect thickness, and perfect moisture. Any tips will be so appreciated! thanks a lot!
ps: i remember from when i was in sf that some places the tock out the tortillas from like a steamer?? an other heated before using it.. is that an important part of the process?? again thanks so much!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Windy RE: viterbo2000 Aug 19, 2010 07:17 PM

    Are you using corn tortillas? If so, they're used for tacos rather than burritos. Flour tortillas can be microwaved or placed on a burner for 20 seconds per side, or even thrown in a fry plan.

    I got some nice blue corn tortillas this week and enjoyed them with eggs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Windy
      viterbo2000 RE: Windy Aug 20, 2010 08:53 PM

      Hi i wanna do flour tortillas.

    2. m
      ML8000 RE: viterbo2000 Aug 19, 2010 07:56 PM

      You might want to read up on who to make tortillas. I do know lard helps.

      As for flexibility, depends on which taqueria you go to but heating them up is like heating up bread, it soften it. In the Mission some places steam their flour tortillas in an commercial steam press. Other places toss them on a hot griddle with a little oil for a few minutes and essentially toast them. Both methods soften up the tortilla. I prefer a toasted tortilla personally but you have to eat those right away...they get soggy if you take them home.

      The same general principals apply to corn tortillas as well although I think steaming is less frequent. A Latino friend use to toast either over an open gas flame on a regular gas stove.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ML8000
        viterbo2000 RE: ML8000 Aug 20, 2010 08:53 PM

        Thank you so much for you comments, it all helps out :)

      2. Robert Lauriston RE: viterbo2000 Aug 21, 2010 09:11 AM

        Look for a recipe that includes lard. The Fresh-O-Matic steamers they use do make the tortilla moist and flexible, though more traditionally they're heated on a comal.

        1. Antilope RE: viterbo2000 Aug 21, 2010 01:02 PM

          Here are some good flour tortilla making links:






          8 Replies
          1. re: Antilope
            Robert Lauriston RE: Antilope Aug 21, 2010 04:26 PM

            I'd be wary of any recipe that calls for shortening or vegetable oil rather than lard. This seems pretty on-target:


            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              Antilope RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 21, 2010 04:49 PM

              The Mission flour tortillas that the original poster is asking about are all made with vegetable shortening.


              1. re: Antilope
                Caitlin McGrath RE: Antilope Aug 21, 2010 04:58 PM

                The OP is wanting to replicate the style of flour tortilla used for burritos at taquerias in San Francisco's Mission District, not Mission brand tortillas (this thread was moved from the SF board, presumably because OP is looking for recipes).

                Although, I would be somewhat surprised if tortillas made with lard vs. shortening were the standard in most Mission restaurants.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                  viterbo2000 RE: Caitlin McGrath Aug 23, 2010 06:27 AM

                  hello i posted the thread, im jsut trying to make burritos. I dont know what the OP is, but its not me. I was new to the page so i put it the wrong sopt thats why the moved it. thanks everybody for their help. Im still not positive whether i shuold used lard or shortening. Does it make a huge difference? or they do the same results? thanks

                  1. re: viterbo2000
                    paulj RE: viterbo2000 Aug 23, 2010 08:47 AM

                    I have a bag of chapatti flour (Indian equivalent of flour tortillas). The base recipe calls for just flour, water and salt, but suggests adding some oil for ease of handling. I think the applies to tortillas. The fat, regardless of type, improves handling. But it does not need to be much.

                    Lard is more traditional, since it is (or at least was) the primary fat in Mexican cooking. It can add good flavor (depending on the source and processing). Shorting (at least in the USA) was created to substitute for lard.

                    So my advise is, don't sweat the fat choice. Use what you have.

                    I just checked the labels on a couple of good quality store bought tortillas - both use palm oil. I'm not surprised. That seems to be a favorite among commercial bakers who want to stay away from the hydrogenated fats (vegetable shortening).

                2. re: Antilope
                  Robert Lauriston RE: Antilope Aug 22, 2010 09:23 AM

                  Most of the commercial tortillas used in Mission District taquerias probably are made with shortening, but if you're making them at home lard gives the best results and will help make up for not having a Fresh-O-Matic.

                3. re: Robert Lauriston
                  paulj RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 22, 2010 11:13 AM

                  For the beginner, technique (kneeding, resting, rolling, grilling) is more important than the choice of fat. Technique remains the same regardless of type and amount of fat. It is relatively easy to make small thick ones. Making the large, thin flexible ones that can be wrapped around a half pound of rice and beans is much harder. The ones used at taquerias are machine made.

                  A thread from a couple months ago about home made tortillas being too stiff

                4. re: Antilope
                  viterbo2000 RE: Antilope Aug 23, 2010 03:21 PM


                5. bbqboy RE: viterbo2000 Aug 23, 2010 06:37 AM

                  where are you nowViterbo? Far from America, I'm guessing. OP means original poster, BTW.
                  I always thought the whole shebang being steamed made the whole thing ala LaCumbre.
                  I love whole beans rather than refiried also

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bbqboy
                    viterbo2000 RE: bbqboy Aug 23, 2010 01:29 PM

                    hahaha, cool that makes sense!!! i actually went to school at viterbo in wisconsin and once i graduated i went to santa cruz, so i was around san fransisco a lot (great city!!!!). Caitlin is true im trying to do somehting similar to the tortillas at the mission district. thanks everybody for the help!!

                  2. v
                    viterbo2000 RE: viterbo2000 Aug 26, 2010 01:48 PM

                    Hi, i got confused cuz i think some people talked about the mission branded tortillas, while i was talking about the burrito tortillas that you can get in the area of san francisco. if anybody knows anything else about this type of tortillas let me know, cuz now im a bit confused on which one you guys are talking about. thanks

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: viterbo2000
                      ML8000 RE: viterbo2000 Aug 26, 2010 02:57 PM

                      Just ignore the specifics on the Mission brand of tortillas and look for a recipe and make your own. The links provided above are a good start.

                      1. re: viterbo2000
                        othervoice RE: viterbo2000 Aug 26, 2010 03:03 PM


                        I truly feel for you. I miss those SF burritos so much,. There just isn't any place on the east coast that I've come across that can come close. Everyone I've ever talked to say it has to be lard or it isn't real.

                        1. re: viterbo2000
                          paulj RE: viterbo2000 Aug 26, 2010 03:08 PM

                          Mission brand tortillas are at:
                          Their 'Large/Burrito Flour Tortillas' would work for burritos, though I don't know whether they are as large as the ones used Mission district burritos. With all of the rice filling, they require exceptionally large tortillas (larger than 12" diameter is my guess ).

                          I have not been happy with most commercially made flour tortillas. Many have an off taste that I haven't been able to identify. I haven't tried Mission brand in awhile, so can't say whether they have this problem or not. Trader joes is my current commercial favorite. ( 10"size


                          This Wiki article might help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Fran...

                          It claims " The tortilla steamer saturates the gluten-heavy tortilla with moisture and heat, which increase the capacity of the tortilla to stretch without breaking. This in turn allows for the size of the San Francisco burrito."

                          You can make your own - just using flour, water, salt, fat, and maybe a bit of baking powder. But it will be difficult to make something at home that is as large, thin, and stretchy as those used by the SF shops.

                        Show Hidden Posts