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Wraps/Tacos - Pasty or what?

I've been trying wraps and tacos (soft) for years now - from a myriad of places - and keep finding them to be just 'somewhat chewy paste' that keeps having me thinking somebody forgot to cook/bake/fry them enough.

I don't have anything about them being soft - but I don't appreciate thinking I have eaten a mouthful of semi-dried out library paste.

Is it just the nature of the beast of these items - and I should avoid - or are there versions that have some firmer (if that be the word) 'consistency.?'

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  1. I guess it depends on where you're getting them. Freshly made or homemade versions are exponentially better than the cardboard kind you'd buy in the bread section of the supermarket, which are probably the same kind that most restaurants are buying. I lived in Texas for awhile, and was so disappointed about the tacos when I moved back to Ohio, that I bought a tortilla press and started making my own. Corn tortillas have more substance, but you wouldn't want to use those as a wrap... What are your thoughts on pita bread or flatbread? Do you feel the same?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bidnezz

      I was going to say same the same thing. I find all commercially made wraps, soft tortillas to be pretty dismal. Some can be improved slightly by heating in a piping hot cast iron skillet before serving. These are a last resort.

      I usually make my own or spring for the expensive in house made ones at a local specialty store.

    2. I have never had a "wrap" that was good. I find them doughy and damp. I just don't eat them.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Terrie H.

        +1. For tacos, only corn tortillas for me. And the only flour ones I like are the locally-made fresh ones. Otherwise they remind me more of styrofoam plates.

      2. What about trying rice papers (like in a salad roll) or Mountain Bread (http://www.mountainbread.com.au/cgi-b..., it used to be carried at my local North American Costco)? I think they're both thin enough to avoid the "chewy paste" feeling.

        1. I feel some consolation in seeing I am not alone in finding that others are also eating (or probably avoiding)‘doughy paste’ most of the time.

          I was really trying to stick here to that particular product – wheat flour wraps, soft wheat tacos (enchiladas – though some may say they are only made from corn - and burritos).

          Thus I find pita and flat breads to be rather different – taste, consistency.– and usually good though often pitas are much too thick.

          Similarly the use of rice is a very different thing – and I actually find rice ‘bakery’ products to be quite unremarkable – I’ve eaten much better Styrofoam than all the ‘rice cakes’ I’ve had so far. I’d prefer using a fork than using rice – and if I HAD to wrap, a leaf of Romaine would be fine.

          I’ve tried enough of the restaurant and store wraps/tacos I have originally referred to, to really wonder if there are ANY that might have some consistency – or how to make them at home so there would be (a press is not available in parts where I am).

          (Bidnez does refer to corn – and thus out of my question really – but also said there is they would NOT be used as a wrap – why not?)

          In any case I do wonder how I’ve been getting these ‘Doughy, Pasty Things’ at EVERY place so far – and yet I see them devoured at a gobbling pace – but then lousy bagels and English muffins seem to sell well enough  - but I DO run into decent bagels and English muffins fairly frequently – even McD’s muffins used on the McMuffin are reasonable enough.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jounipesonen

            You are definitely not alone. I describe the taste as cardboard more than pasty, but I think it's the same complaint. I also don't really understand the obsession... they aren't usually any healthier than bread, and they usually don't taste as good.

            Corn tortillas: I guess it's not so much that you couldn't use corn tortillas as a wrap for sandwiches, I just can't imagine the flavor and texture with sandwich ingredients.

            Making your own: You don't technically NEED a tortilla press to make tortillas. I've found that it's useful for making tortillas round, but it doesn't necessarily make them very thin. I bought mine on Amazon, because I haven't been able to find any Latin markets in Cleveland. Since we don't care if they are a little thick, I usually just leave them. If I were making them for guests, or if I'm feeling not as lazy as usual, I roll them with a rolling pin after the press. So you could make them at home with only a rolling pin if you wanted. Which should be inexpensive and widely available if you don't have one. The thing you do need is a flat griddle. Some of the recipes may refer to it as a comal. A comal is basically a flat cast-iron skillet... I don't think it matters what you use, as long as there aren't sides (the sides make it difficult to flip the tortilla and take it out when it's done.)

            These are the recipes I use, if you're interested in trying them:

            Whole wheat flour: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010...

            Flour: http://theurbanspork.com/2010/05/flou... (I have used butter instead of lard/shortening, and it turned out fine

            )

            Corn: You have to use a special corn flour called massa harina. I bought it at our local chain of grocery stores, but the brand was Bob's Red Mill. I use the recipe on the back of the bag, but it's consistent with every recipe I've ever seen.

            I've never tried this recipe, because I happen to never have milk on hand when I want to make tortillas. http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/200... I'm just guessing here, but I would think that adding milk and baking powder to the dough might make it taste more like bread and less like paste. Which was why I asked about pita bread... it's so similar to tortillas, except pita bread calls for yeast, which is why it's a little more doughy. If you do try to make some tortillas at home, you might want to try these first.

            1. re: Bidnezz

              Thanks – I’ll definitely give the recipes a try.

              I’ve got a 28 cm Griswold reg pan and can try there first. (Great for cornbread from the oven btw). I see Amazon UK has a Lodge griddle.

              I’ve got the Massa Harina – so can try the corn too.

              If it all seems worth it, I imagine one could come up with an (oiled) weight which could be used. I’m not seeing how one can roll out already baked dough, though.

              Btw – there’s another type of flat bread good for sandwiches – Lavash – they make some good ones in Estonia, believe it or not. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavash

          2. Where do you live, J?
            Do you griddle them first?

            1 Reply
            1. re: bbqboy

              Live in Finland - thus the comment about Lavash from Estonia

              ++

              Haven't done any griddling yet - it's a suggestion of Bidnezz