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Sep 9, 2011 11:29 AM

Homemade Corn Tortillas

I am making corn tortillas for the first time tomorrow. I went out and bought a tortilla press and some white corn massa. I was thinking of cooking them in caste iron pan. Is this as simple as it sounds or does anyone have any other thoughts, words of caution, or tips?

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  1. It's not hard or complicated, at least in an academic sense. If you're having a hard time pressing em out with good results, don't be shy about futzing a bit with the water content (either by adding more water or more masa) until you get an easier dough to work with.

    You'll likely find that using saran on the tortilla press helps enormously. For some reason, it works much better than wax paper, which was my first thought when I started making tortillas.

    It will take a lot less time if you press out the next tortilla while the previous one is cooking rather than pressing em all out at once then cooking em. This takes a tiny bit of practice, but you'll probably get the hang of it pretty quickly, and if not, you can turn off the heat and regroup. If you get quick enough at it, you can even keep two pans going at a time.

    1. I use plastic wrap on my tortilla press and a cast iron skillet for cooking. It really is as simple as it sounds, but takes some practice. In my case, a lot of practice -- the first time I made them for enchiladas, the tortillas were so thick my boyfriend declared I had invented an enchilada-tamale hybrid. People around here gave me some really good tips in the Favourite Mexican Cookbook thread a while back.

      I don't know if it is because my tortilla press is a piece of crap or if this is just how it is, but my biggest tip would be to turn the tortilla as you press it. I've had the best results pressing four times, turning the tortilla a quarter-turn each time.

      1. Also note that if you're using masa preparado (masa that is ready to press rather than the mix-with-water kind), I've found it's MUCH easier to make tortillas from masa that's dried out a bit (a week or so in the fridge with the bag partially open).

        Freezer bag ziplocks work best for me as machina liners.

        Oh, one more thing... I'm still working to get the griddle temp right... I consistently start with the temp too low and end up with tortillas that are on the crispy side when they're cooked. (No big deal, of course... I end up munching them until I get the temp right and have other-worthy torts.)

        Good luck and have fun!!

        3 Replies
        1. re: miss louella

          Thanks for all the input. As a report I found that my tortillas were very thick. Next time I make them I will try pressing them four times as suggested. I may try the saran wrap as well. One other question...what heat do you guys cook on?

          1. re: dawminator

            Glad your initial outing was mostly successful. I'm still trying to get the hang of them.

            As miss louella suggests, a freezer ziploc bag that's you've cut down the sides to open is much more effective for line your press than plastic wrap, which I find too flimsy.

            1. re: dawminator

              Heat is something that is hard to suggest as everyone's stove is different. The type of cooking vessel you use also makes a difference.

              I use a cast iron comal on a gas stove set to 7 (on a 14200 btu burner)

              I know this doesn't answer your question but it may be useful as a guide.

              good luck!

          2. Your thick tortillas are called Gorditas congratulations! you have already made your first Masa variation.
            Cast iron skillet is just fine. If you have griddle that covers 2 burners or 2 skillets that is even better.
            One side/ skillet should be Medium and the other side Hot. Cook the first side of the tortilla on the hot side( it will stick at first and release when it is ready) till edges start to dry a bit and turn over onto the cooler surface. Turn again and it should start to puff ( to assist the puffing tap on it with your finger tips. The total cooking time for a regular thickness is about 2 minutes.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chefj

              I agree with this method. It took me a couple of tries to get my corn tortillas just right! First, I use a cut freezer Ziploc baggie on my tortilla press ~ it's more durable than plastic wrap. Yes, turning the tortilla around helps make it more uniform. I did a happy dance when I used the two skillet method of cooking the tortillas at two temperatures; they puffed up and looked beautiful! Here's an extra tip: put the cooked tortillas immediately in a clean kitchen towel. They will steam, soften and keep warm till ready to use. I have a great picture tutorial here:

              1. re: Friedaluvsbread

                Oh, your tutorial is perfect! Will have to try it.