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Mar 12, 2014 03:49 AM

Why are my homemade ww flour tortillas crumbling, falling apart, not coming together?


Hi I am attempting to make 100% ww flour tortillas and for some odd reason they just won't come together. The dough keeps crumbling and I cannot even roll them out without them falling apart! What's so strange is I have made all ww flour tortillas before, this very recipe, and I was able to get them together before. They weren't as flexible or had as good a texture as white flour, and they ended up getting stiff if food wasn't put into them right away, but my point is I have done this before so it's baffling.

I usually cut recipe in half, so 1 cup ww flour! I don't measure the water, I just pour in a little at a time until it comes together. I usually just skip the fat and this has always been ok. I have also tried cutting in lard.

A little more info:
I tried this 3 times just now: first time I cut recipe in half and added maybe 1 -2 tsp max lard. The dough completely fell apart so I thought OH it's because last time I didn't use fat. I thought maybe the lard made it too crumbly and wet. And since I haven't explained in detail what happens: basically after adding the water I let it sit for the 15 minutes. Then I cut dough into however many tortillas I want, semi-roll each piece into a ball, and then start rolling with rolling pin.
These just DON'T come together. You can literally just start tearing it apart and see how "fragile" it is as you start rolling it out.
2nd and 3rd times i just left out the fat, i have done this before and it was fine. i figured it was the water (either too much or little) so i tried just adding a little water, same thing = dough just crumbles into pieces and then when i go the other direction and add plenty of water it gets too wet and does the same thing, tears apart!

Any ideas?

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  1. Flour has different absorbancy rates, meaning that how much water it will absorb will vary depending upon the type of flour and even what time of year it's grown. Lack of hydration could be part of the problem.

    I generally rest my regular flour tortilla dough at least 30 minutes before forming them into a ball and rolling. The flour you're using may not have enough time to properly hydrate with only a 15 minute rest. Try adding more water and resting longer.

    The stiffness, lack of pliability and texture is due to the lack of fat. A proper flour tortilla needs fat, if you want a fat free tortilla go with masa.

    1. Yeah I'll agree with Diva, resting dough is very important to let the flour absorb water. I will also rest my dough if it becomes too tight and stiff. Fat is also an important ingredient to have a pliable dough.

      Two other things come into play.

      1. The season and relative humidity. I bet you never have this problem in humid summers.

      2. Don't use volume measurements for any sort of baking (or pretty much any cooking). Yes, I know technically tortillas aren't baked, but the same rule applies. Go by weight, always. Flour can be +/- 50% depending on the humidity level. 1 cup of flour in the winter will weight completely differently than 1 cup of flour in the summer. 800 grams of flour is 800 grams of flour no matter the season. That is how you get consistency, by weight.

      1. If you add fat before the flour is thoroughly moistened it can interfere with gluten development. You end up with a short crust like biscuits or pie dough.
        I would mix in the fat last, after everything else is mixed well.

        1. what you are attempting to do - when you go without the fat is more like a roti or indian bread which for the most part donot have fat added in them in the dough. Id say you have to really knead when you add water little bit at a time instead of just letting the water sit on top of the flour. Thats what i do when i mix roti dough by hand. Or i use a food processor and add water to the flour a bit at a time while it is running. This helps gluten develop and brings the dough together in a ball.