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sprouting corn before nixtamalizing for tortillas?

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miss louella Mar 14, 2014 04:31 PM

I've finally got the hang of going from corn kernels to delicious corn tortillas, but this morning as I was grinding up another batch of masa I started to wonder... what if I soak the corn first? what if I sprout it, even?

So I've got a couple of cups of corn soaking now, will probably nixtamalize half and make some tortillas, and sprout the other half. Just to see what happens.

Anyone have any experience in this realm? Any speculation? Ideas? Advice?

Gracias!

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  1. chefj RE: miss louella Mar 14, 2014 04:53 PM

    I know that it can be done. I have seen Sprouted Corn Tortillas for sale.
    You would still need to Nixtamalize before grinding.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chefj
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      miss louella RE: chefj Mar 14, 2014 05:53 PM

      I'm with you on all three counts. Very interested in all phases of my side-by-side comparison. In fact, after doing a bit of reading, I'm wishing I had soaked more corn so I could have several categories:

      soaked overnight
      soaked 24 hours
      soaked 48 hours
      sprouted

      I suppose I could just make smaller batches and still do that... we'll see how it shakes out.

      Thanks for your response!

    2. m
      miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 15, 2014 09:56 AM

      After 20 hours of soaking, 2 cups of dried corn has soaked up enough water to be 3 cups. I am nixtamalizing one cup now and soaking the other 2 cups for further experimentation. Will update tonight or tomorrow morning with post-nixtamalize results.

      Oh, and here's a photo of a soaked (on the left) and an unsoaked kernel. The tip and the germ are the most obvious bloaty areas.

      Stay tuned. ;-)

       
      1. m
        miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 15, 2014 08:27 PM

        I'm going to keep reporting my experiment results as I go along... years ago (perhaps a decade) when I first started this kernel to tortilla journey I could find almost no information. So even if I'm here whistling in the dark, I'm going to keep reporting in case someone else wonders too.

        All that said, results of 20 hour soak + nixtamalization are inconclusive. The kernels were definitely softer while I was doing the rinse-and remove outer layer step (I could easily fleck off the dark tip of the kernel with a fingernail--not true in unsoaked corn); I attribute this to the soaking. The part that remains a bit of a mystery is the ease of food processing. It was definitely easier and quicker, but I only processed 1 cup and I'm comparing to previous efforts which were double that. So, jury's still out.

        Absolutely no question that I will process in 1 cup batches from here on out. And I suspect I'll soak.

        Haven't cooked or tasted any tortillas yet; the masa's resting in the fridge.

        Hour 30: At least 2 cups (or more, if they kept absorbing water) of kernels still soaking. Frequent water changes, no signs of sprouting.

        3 Replies
        1. re: miss louella
          ChrisOfStumptown RE: miss louella Mar 15, 2014 10:19 PM

          Thanks for writing these entries. I'm vicariously enjoying your voyage, even if I don't have anything to contribute.

          1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
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            sandylc RE: ChrisOfStumptown Mar 16, 2014 12:17 PM

            Same here.

          2. re: miss louella
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            miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 03:57 PM

            I guess I should report the taste results here. To recap. After 20+ hours of soaking in tap water, then an overnight soak in the post-boiled nixtamal water, grinding and resting in the fridge, I finally cooked up some torts.

            I had some (unsoaked) masa from the batch that kicked off this question, so I cooked that up so I could have a true side-by side comparison.

            Result: I'm a lousy scientist.

            Unfortunately I had added the amount of salt for 2 cups of corn when I had only used 1 cup. Still tasted fine, but it was impossible to do a meaningful blind test taste because the salt revealed at first bite which batch I was tasting.

            I was predisposed to like the soaked corn tortillas because I like the effect the soaking has on the grinding process. So take this with a grain of salt (not a teaspoon, trust me): I believe I preferred both the taste and the texture of the soaked tortillas.

            Conclusion:
            Given the time, I would soak for taste, texture, and ease of grinding. But if I wanted tortillas for tomorrow and hadn't pre-soaked my corn, I would for sure go ahead with unsoaked corn and I bet no one else would know.

          3. m
            miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 09:45 AM

            46 hours of soaking and those kernels have really porked up. I have to run out, so don't have time to nixtamalize this morning. Maybe we'll have sprouts by tonight?

            ETA: The only place I could find any info about sprouting corn for eating was a raw foods site. They say to watch for tails to emerge and to eat then. (They also say the raw sprouted corn doesn't taste very good... no big surprise there.)

            The photo looks pretty much like the first one, but in real life all the kernels are dramatically plumper. There are cracks in some kernels but I don't know if that's growth or if they were cracked in the first place and it's just more evident now that they've plumped up.

            The unsoaked kernel on the right is the same one used in the first photo, fyi.

            PS ChrisofStumptown, it's nice to have your company on this voyage!

             
            3 Replies
            1. re: miss louella
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              Raffles RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 10:20 AM

              "ETA: The only place I could find any info about sprouting corn for eating was a raw foods site. They say to watch for tails to emerge and to eat then. (They also say the raw sprouted corn doesn't taste very good... no big surprise there.)"
              If you want to eat the sprouts, you should be aware that some seed/grains might contain pathogens that should be killed by a rinse in a weak bleach water solution.
              We do sprouts to eat and not all sources of seeds are the same.

              1. re: Raffles
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                miss louella RE: Raffles Mar 16, 2014 02:22 PM

                Thanks for the warning. The notion of using my teeth to do what that food processor is doing holds no appeal to me, but it's v good to have the warning out there for folks with tougher jaws than mine!

                1. re: miss louella
                  r
                  Raffles RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 02:42 PM

                  LOL, Miss L., we've never done corn sprouting before for eating, but we have done some pretty big beans....and we still have all our teeth! Enjoy!

            2. e
              ellabee RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 11:15 AM

              What are you using to grind the corn? I'd never really considered doing it myself, but it's bound to be much more delicious than storebought tortillas (none made fresh in my area, and even the masa has very slow turnover in the grocery).

              17 Replies
              1. re: ellabee
                chefj RE: ellabee Mar 16, 2014 11:54 AM

                I think the OP mentioned a Food Processor

                1. re: chefj
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                  ellabee RE: chefj Mar 16, 2014 01:06 PM

                  Ah; you're right, in a comment. Having no food processor, I'm back to reading the thread out of intellectual interest.

                  1. re: ellabee
                    ninrn RE: ellabee Mar 16, 2014 01:21 PM

                    You can use a blender, too, if it's a pretty powerful one.

                2. re: ellabee
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                  miss louella RE: ellabee Mar 16, 2014 02:21 PM

                  hi there ellabee-- chefj is right, I'm using a food processor, but have read about people using a meat grinder. (Even bought one of the clamp-to-the-counter-and-grind-by-hand kinds when I was in Mexico--because I specialize in extremely heavy souvenirs :-). But I haven't tried it yet.

                  ETA: I really love the fresh ground masa I'm making, but also was much happier with the tortillas from MASECA before I got it together to do the kernel thing. My path so far has been: grocery store bought, maseca, masa preparado from hispanic grocery stores, now kernel to home made masa. Each step along the way has been a dramatic leap in flavor.

                  1. re: miss louella
                    DiningDiva RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 03:50 PM

                    If you ever get around to using that meat grinder you lugged home, you will need to grind the nixtamal twice. What come out the first time through is rather coarse. The second grind yield beautiful, velvety masa

                    1. re: DiningDiva
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                      miss louella RE: DiningDiva Mar 16, 2014 04:01 PM

                      Oh, thanks so much for this info!!! Did it take a lot of muscle to grind through the corn?

                      Have you done both the food processor and the food grinder methods? If so, was the twice-ground meat grinder masa smoother than what you got from the fp?

                      Also, do you flick off the ends of the corn post-nixtamalization and pre-grind? (I do not have the patience for that or for removing the skins from garbanzo beans before I make humus.)

                      1. re: miss louella
                        DiningDiva RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 06:24 PM

                        It takes a little muscle but nothing extraordinary.

                        The meat grinder is definitely much smoother than a food processor. If you think about how masa was originally made...on a metate...you basically had 2 pieces of lava rock (the metate & the mano), each with uneven pits, holes and nooks, grinding against the corn. This actually makes the absolutely best and smoothest masa, but it *IS* a huge amount of work and unless you're used to using a metate, you probably won't be happy. With the meat grinder, the lava rock/basalt gets replaced with the metal gears/teeth of the meat grinder. They're still uneven, so you still get a reasonably good masa from it. The first time through the grinder just breaks everything into small pieces, the second time through is really finishes up the job .

                        With both the metate and the meat grinder, you essentially have a mashing and grinding motion. That is not the case with a food processor where you have a more centrifugal mincing/blending action. The action of the food processor blades is different than the action of the metate or food processor.

                        I do remove the garbanzo skins before making hummus (1 tsp of baking soda in the cooking water helps immensely)...I do not take the pedicle out of the corn kernel unless it's pozole corn - which is different than masa corn - and I want the kernel to "bloom".

                        I've attached some photos of grinding nixtamalized corn with a meat grinder.

                         
                         
                         
                        1. re: DiningDiva
                          DiningDiva RE: DiningDiva Mar 16, 2014 06:29 PM

                          Hmmm...it looks like more than half the photos didn't make it. Let me try again

                           
                           
                           
                           
                          1. re: DiningDiva
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                            miss louella RE: DiningDiva Mar 16, 2014 06:45 PM

                            aMAZing! Thanks for all the good info... will put me ahead of the game a bit when I pull out that grinder. (Which you *know* is gonna happen soon!)

                        2. re: DiningDiva
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                          miss louella RE: DiningDiva Mar 16, 2014 06:08 PM

                          By the way, DiningDiva, if you put the corn through a meat grinder, when do you add the water? Thanks!!

                          1. re: miss louella
                            DiningDiva RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 06:27 PM

                            You don't add any water

                          2. re: DiningDiva
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                            miss louella RE: DiningDiva Mar 17, 2014 12:08 PM

                            DiningDiva, do you soak your corn before you nixtamalize it?

                            1. re: miss louella
                              DiningDiva RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 12:24 PM

                              Not typically.

                              Normally, I'd put the dried corn into a non-reactive pot, add water and cal and bring to a boil. The corn kernels will turn a vivid color of yellow due to the chemical reaction with the cal and heat. I boil/simmer for a while (I want to say about 20 minutes, but I'm not sure that's right) and then let is sit, usually overnight. The next day the corn is drained and rinsed really well, then it gets ground. I haven't made masa from scratch in quite a while, so I'm having to pull this method out of the recesses of my mind. I've got a tortillaria with really good masa and a Mexican market with very good masa so I usually just buy masa para tortillas when I need it.

                              I do not typically, nor have I needed to, add water when grinding nixtamal. There is usually 1) enough liquid still clinging to the kernels, or 2) the kernels absorbed enough liquid while soaking that they are still moist.

                              1. re: DiningDiva
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                                miss louella RE: DiningDiva Mar 17, 2014 12:52 PM

                                Thanks! Next I'm going to have to do a blind taste test between my masa and the masa preparado I can get around here. (Though it might break my heart if I find out people (or, the horrors--*I*) prefer the store-bought masa.)

                                1. re: miss louella
                                  DiningDiva RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 03:04 PM

                                  Just be sure you know the masa terminology in your area.

                                  Where I live masa preparada is usually for tamales and is somewhat coarser in the grind. Additionally, preparada can mean that it has added fat to it, which the masa for tamales would need. Masa para tortillas is, as the name implies, for tortillas and is ground much more finely.

                                  Just make sure that if what you're buying is labeled masa preparada that it's for tortillas and not tamales.

                            2. re: DiningDiva
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                              miss louella RE: DiningDiva Jun 11, 2014 04:55 PM

                              DiningDiva, you were soooo right! I loved the masa made with the meat grinder, it almost seems like it tasted cornier. Like you, I had no need for additional water. Thanks for the tips!

                              1. re: miss louella
                                DiningDiva RE: miss louella Jun 11, 2014 05:45 PM

                                glad I could help :-)

                        3. ElsieB RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 02:31 PM

                          Wow, I am inspired by your fresh masa making! I finally got to a point where my homemade corn tortillas made from dried masa are pretty good and now you have made me want to make the masa fresh from the kernels. Had you made tortillas previously with the dried masa? If so, are the ones with your fresh masa superior enough to justify the time and work? Thanks for the updates.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ElsieB
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                            miss louella RE: ElsieB Mar 16, 2014 02:37 PM

                            Thank Elsie! Yes, I had indeed made tortillas from the dried masa and liked them much more than grocery store tortillas. But the difference between the ones from the kernel to tortilla is like the difference between a winter grocery store tomato and an heirloom picked still warm from your garden. Really really really worth the effort.

                            And honestly, now that I've figured a few things out, it's not difficult. It's more like baking bread with a long slow rise (which is also something I find worth the time). Not a lot of actual hands-on work, but a fair amount of planning ahead.

                            My first try, however, was a total and complete inedible disaster. It was so disappointing, it put me off a second try for over a year (um, maybe more like 5 years, but I blame part of that procrastination on easy access to quality masa preparado).

                          2. chefj RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 03:00 PM

                            You do not mention cooking as part of your Nixtamaling process. I have always seen it cooked(to different degrees as per use) before grinding.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: chefj
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                              miss louella RE: chefj Mar 16, 2014 03:35 PM

                              Whoops, sorry. I definitely cook it. My recipe/process:

                              1 cup corn
                              3 cups water
                              1 T Mrs Wage's Pickling Lime

                              Put it on the stove in a non-reactive pan at a mediumish heat--you want it to take 30 - 45 minutes to come to a boil. (I stir every time I peer into the pan to see if it's boiling, but I don't know if that does anything besides give me something to do.) After the boil, turn off the heat, cover the pan and let it sit overnight. (I translate overnight to mean at least 9 hours.)

                              1. re: chefj
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                                miss louella RE: chefj Mar 16, 2014 04:11 PM

                                Hey chefj, I would love to hear more about the differences in cook times for different uses... was assuming I could use this same masa for things like pupusas, but just form and cook the product differently. (Whoops.) Do you know what happens when you cook with the lime for longer?

                                1. re: miss louella
                                  chefj RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 05:14 PM

                                  Basically the coarser the finished grind will be the less you soak and the more you simmer. Also Items made with shorter soak times cook longer.
                                  So you know the times for Tortillas(Pupusas, Sopes, Tlacoyos, Huaraches, Garnacha Etc...)
                                  For Tamales 15-20 simmer 2-3 hour soak
                                  For Pozole 15-20 simmer 15-30 min soak

                                  1. re: chefj
                                    m
                                    miss louella RE: chefj Mar 16, 2014 06:08 PM

                                    Thanks!

                              2. m
                                miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 04:30 PM

                                I just can't help myself. I found this (purple?) corn while I was seeking fresh rice noodles. So naturally I bought it. I now have 2 cups soaking. Why? It's a mystery. I have at least 20 pounds of yellow corn to work through. But I could not resist.

                                I am making waaaay more tortillas than even I can go through (with chips, tostadas, tacos and enchiladas so far).

                                So now I'm wondering... which do you think I should freeze? The masa or the already-made tortillas? (From a taste and texture perspective, I mean. Not convenience.)

                                Place your bets now! Actual information or experience welcome but definitely not required to play.

                                 
                                8 Replies
                                1. re: miss louella
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                                  miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 11:32 AM

                                  Wow, this corn doubled in size overnight--what was once 2 cups is now 4. Power to the purple!

                                  1. re: miss louella
                                    ChrisOfStumptown RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 03:17 PM

                                    I'd recommend making posole, as you can go through more corn with less effort than making tortillas.

                                    1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                      chefj RE: ChrisOfStumptown Mar 17, 2014 03:19 PM

                                      I do not think the OP is trying to find easy ways to up Corn.

                                    2. re: miss louella
                                      m
                                      miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 06:38 PM

                                      No takers on the which-is-the-better-way-to-preserve excess masa/tortillas game? Well, I'll play.

                                      Because I prefer freshly griddled tortillas to ones that have been refrigerated and then rewarmed (plus I'm lazy and getting tired of this project), I'm going to freeze the masa and thaw it before smashing and griddling.

                                      I'll freeze a bunch of masa balls, but I suspect I'll also freeze a bunch of big lumps too. For two reasons: 1. I'm lazy. 2. I suspect freezing will dry out the masa and I may need to add extra moisture after thawing. If I'm going to need to squish it around to add moisture, there's no reason to ball it up ahead of time (see reason #1). It also seems like a larger lump would lose less moisture (this could be the laziness talking).

                                      So, wanna take a whack at my logic (or lack thereof)? Wanna throw in your ideas/suggestions/ruminations? All tidbits and tretises encouraged and welcomed.

                                      1. re: miss louella
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                                        miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 09:33 PM

                                        Am currently nixtamalizing 2 cups of unsoaked purple corn and what started out as 2 cups but became 4 cups after soaking of the same purple corn. Have never used this corn before, so I have no idea how it will compare (in taste or behavior) to the yellow, but this is a STRONG side by side comparison of what purple does. I sure hope I like the torts it produces.

                                        1. re: miss louella
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                                          miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 18, 2014 09:29 AM

                                          In our first true head-to-head competition, soaking produces dramatic results:

                                          2c purple corn + 24 hour soak + nixtamalize = 5c
                                          2c purple corn + nixtamalize = 3.25c

                                          Presumably this will also mean more masa from the soaked corn, which really appeals to the cheapskate in me. :-)

                                          1. re: miss louella
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                                            miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 18, 2014 11:47 AM

                                            Here's a photo of the purple corn post soaking and nixtamalization.

                                            As expected, the soaked + nixtamalized corn ground up faster and smoother than the unsoaked, used half the amount of added water to go from ground grain to dough, and produced much more masa. Winner!

                                            As an aside, the purple corn was easier to work with all the way around--absorbed soaking water faster, and was easier to grind both soaked and unsoaked. I don't know if that's a function of the type of corn or the age of it. Or both.

                                             
                                          2. re: miss louella
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                                            miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 18, 2014 09:18 PM

                                            GREAT news! I did not love the tortillas this corn produced. Both the soaked and the unsoaked tasted floury rather than corny. I don't know why. But I'm super happy because the corn itself was easier to deal with and I really DON'T need another source of corn.

                                            Still I'm headed back to the store that had the purple corn because they've also got the bark needed to make tonic water (and I didn't buy enough last time). I'm pretty sure I won't resist buying the white corn. Shrug. How will I ever know if I don't try?

                                            PS I was watching lame tv (which kept me entertained far past when the task at hand would have) while I cooked up tortillas so I'll have a nice mix of torts to freeze and masa. (The purple torts weren't terrible; I'll eat them but I won't be sharing them with friends.)

                                          3. m
                                            miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 16, 2014 06:50 PM

                                            Hour 55 of soaking. Recap: started with 2 cups of corn, after 20 hours, took out one cup, and had 2 cups left. (like magic!)

                                            The remaining 2 cups had turned into 2 and 2/3rds. I took out one of those cups and am nixtamalizing right now.

                                            No sprouting evident. I was out for much of the day so my rinsing wasn't as frequent, but it's cool here and everything smells good and corny.

                                            Your corny report, over for now.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: miss louella
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                                              miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 12:05 PM

                                              Wow, the grinding of this two-day soak are dramatic. Quick to grind and luscious. Silky even. Super interested in how they behave and taste.

                                              By the way, I forgot to mention another (probably obvious) change with soaking--it requires far less water added during grinding to go from ground corn to dough. I didn't really measure (except for this last batch), but I would estimate unsoaked required about 1/2 cup of water for each cup of corn. This last batch took 1T + 1t. (The previous soaked batch probably took around 2 or 3T.)

                                              1. re: miss louella
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                                                miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 12:46 PM

                                                I threw in the towel on sprouting... This corn is at least 5 years old, so I don't know if it would be faster to sprout if it was fresher, but I do know I don't have the patience required for this. So, the final bit is nixtamalizing now.

                                                1. re: miss louella
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                                                  miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 09:26 PM

                                                  Much much to my surprise, that corn had no *measurable* difference in soaking up water, but it only needed 2t of water to make a dough. That was for 1 and 2/3rd cups of corn. Previous record was 1T + 1t for one cup.

                                                  Seems like the smart thing would be to always have some corn soaking.

                                              2. l
                                                LorenzoGA RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 03:15 PM

                                                I may have missed it, but what do you hope to gain by sprouting the corn?

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: LorenzoGA
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                                                  miss louella RE: LorenzoGA Mar 17, 2014 04:51 PM

                                                  I'm mostly just amusing myself and sharing whatever learning I stumble upon along the way. I have a long history of "I wonder what would happen if..." questions. Now that we have the internet, I sometimes avoid finding out first-hand the answer to questions like "what would happen if you rewired your Easy Bake Oven?" But not always.

                                                  This time I went from wondering what would happen if I soaked to wondering what would happen if I sprouted. (Well, if the *corn* soaked and sprouted.)

                                                  There are also people who believe sprouting grains makes them more nutricious; I tend to agree with them but even so I don't think I've ever purchased sprouted corn tortillas.

                                                  1. re: miss louella
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                                                    LorenzoGA RE: miss louella Mar 18, 2014 01:55 PM

                                                    Aha. Now that I think of it, I vaguely recall seeing "sprouted grain bread." So there must be people who believe sprouting a grain before grinding it gives it some improved characteristics. So you think the characteristic is nutrition?

                                                    From my experience as a homebrewer, I know that sprouting barley is known as "malting." But that's my only brush with the concept of sprouting grain.

                                                    1. re: LorenzoGA
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                                                      miss louella RE: LorenzoGA Mar 18, 2014 04:16 PM

                                                      Yep, I think most people who advocate sprouting grains (in baking & other cooking) say it's for the nutritional superiority (both what's inherently in the grain and what our bodies can absorb). Could be a flavor difference (improvement?) too, but I gave up too early in this experiment to attest to that. (I will admit I'm tempted to let some of that quick soaking purple corn sprout... but first I need to griddle up some of the purple torts to see if I like them pre-sprout. :-)

                                                2. m
                                                  Madrid RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 05:27 PM

                                                  I had always wanted to make corn tortillas from scratch after making tortillas from the dry harina for a long time. Where I live there is no masa prepared (oh,won't let me type PREPARADA without autocorrecting....)

                                                  I finally tried it about 2 years ago using the expensive heirloom hominy corn from Anson Mills (in SC) and their recipe.
                                                  http://www.ansonmills.com/recipes/468...

                                                  It was a huge amount of work and just amazing, amazing, kind of a transformative life experience.

                                                  I'd do it again for a very special occasion, with those who'd really appreciate it.

                                                  The posole recipe there is also very complicated with the stocks, but oh so good.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Madrid
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                                                    miss louella RE: Madrid Mar 17, 2014 06:31 PM

                                                    Madrid, thanks so much for this link. Those Anson Mills folks have really lined it up. But I must say they're a lot a LOT fussier than I am. After this (perhaps excessive) foray into side-by-side comparisons is over I'm going to rest for a bit (and eat through the fruits of my quest). And then I think I'll try doing some of what they advise to see if it improves my tortillas.

                                                    fyi: I definitely don't decant my lime. Nor do I cook my corn with lime for anywhere near the amount of time they do. Also, because I soak instead of cook for the bulk of my nixtamalization, my corn is not hot when I grind it. So, lots of variables just offhand... and I'm betting there are more when I scrutinize their method.

                                                    At any rate, it's very interesting to see another (especially another well-tested) approach and I'll see what I can incorporate without driving the process so far over the edge that I never want to see another kernel of corn again. :-)

                                                    Meanwhile, I totally agree that the taste is transformative! I actually used to enjoy the crappy grocery store corn tortillas. Now I call them crappy. What kind of love is that? ;-)

                                                    1. re: miss louella
                                                      Sam Salmon RE: miss louella Mar 17, 2014 10:22 PM

                                                      Louella-very inspiring posts-Thanks so much!

                                                      1. re: Sam Salmon
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                                                        miss louella RE: Sam Salmon Mar 18, 2014 08:52 AM

                                                        my pleasure!

                                                  2. ElsieB RE: miss louella Mar 18, 2014 01:10 PM

                                                    Thanks for your efforts documenting your corn experiments. I think you may have inspired me to do something with the big jar of dent corn in my pantry!
                                                    When you form your tortillas, do you use a press or pat with your hands?

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: ElsieB
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                                                      miss louella RE: ElsieB Mar 18, 2014 02:41 PM

                                                      Yaaayyyy for you Elsie!! I use a press, and I *love* it. But quite happily used my hands before I got my press. Now... I don't want to overwhelm you, but there's a bit I haven't mentioned yet. It...ahem....will read like a LOT I haven't told you. <sheepish grin> But really it's not all the complicated or difficult and think how much further along the path you are than I was when I first started. Promise? :-)

                                                      Here's a link to Alton Brown's method of nixtamalizing and grinding the corn. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al... As far as time in the food processor goes, he either has much different corn than I do or he's got access to some powerful hallucinigens. For me, there is no "pulse" portion of the show. And there are minutes of grinding both before and after adding water. After I get the corn really fine, I start very slowly --tsp at a time--adding water through the tube thing while it's still spinning. When the whole thing balls up, I call it done. Oh yeah--better to work in small batches: I'd FP two batches for this amount of corn. (Um, and you know I'd advocate soaking. Seems like the sweet spot is soaking until your corn doubles in size, but any soaking is better than no soaking.

                                                      )

                                                      Here's my take on the easiest way to form/cook tortillas: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8399...

                                                      Good luck and if you have any questions, I'd suggest starting a new topic, so others who are in the know (but may not be interested in the soaking question) can chime in too.

                                                      1. re: miss louella
                                                        DiningDiva RE: miss louella Mar 18, 2014 03:19 PM

                                                        Seriously think it is time for you to break out that grinder you lugged back...

                                                        You will never go back to a food processor again.

                                                        1. re: DiningDiva
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                                                          miss louella RE: DiningDiva Mar 18, 2014 03:30 PM

                                                          Thanks DD... my grinder and I were on a trial separation. We'll be reunited Thursday after this housesitting gig is up and you can bet I'll be trying it your way!!

                                                          1. re: DiningDiva
                                                            Becca Porter RE: DiningDiva Mar 19, 2014 05:31 AM

                                                            I have the KA meat grinder. Do you think a double grind on the small plate would work for grinding masa?

                                                            1. re: Becca Porter
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                                                              miss louella RE: Becca Porter Mar 25, 2014 07:11 PM

                                                              Becca, maybe you should post this as a separate question so folks who are over the soaking/sprouting question might chime in? Wish I could help.

                                                              1. re: Becca Porter
                                                                DiningDiva RE: Becca Porter Mar 25, 2014 07:35 PM

                                                                No. You need the grinding motion of 2 grooved plates mashing and grinding everything together, not the auger and extruding that the KA would give you. It would be too coarse

                                                            2. re: miss louella
                                                              ElsieB RE: miss louella Mar 18, 2014 03:48 PM

                                                              Thank you miss louella, for the links and the tips!!

                                                              1. re: ElsieB
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                                                                miss louella RE: ElsieB Mar 18, 2014 07:22 PM

                                                                Very happy to help! And please don't take my suggestion about starting a new thread as somehow putting you off on asking questions. I will happily respond wherever you post and really hope others will chime in. I love hearing differing opinions because it makes me think harder about why I think whatever I think.

                                                                But I KNOW these tortillas are worth it!! No way to dissuade me from that!!!

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                                                            miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 25, 2014 07:13 PM

                                                            Conclusions:

                                                            1. I don't have the patience to sprout old dried corn.
                                                            2. Soaking the corn beforehand leads to a silkier masa.
                                                            3. Soaking until the corn doubles seems to be the sweet spot.
                                                            4. There's a reason you've never seen purple corn tortillas (they taste terrible even though the masa is a dream to handle).
                                                            5. I've got a serious corn problem--have some kernels soaking right now--in salt water to see what affect (if any) that adds.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: miss louella
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                                                              miss louella RE: miss louella Mar 25, 2014 09:44 PM

                                                              Dang, I wish I remembered this before editing was closed because it's probably the most important thing I learned (though it had nothing to do with the actual experiment):

                                                              Do not grind more than 1.5 cups of corn in your food processor. DRAMATIC difference whether soaked or not.

                                                              1. re: miss louella
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                                                                gabriel sanders RE: miss louella May 30, 2014 02:17 PM

                                                                additional conclusion: this thread is amazing. I was looking for info on the nutritional changes in sprouted hominy, and everything about your experiment appeals to me.

                                                                I don't eat many tortillas (I bake a lot of bread), but this actually made me want to make them. I'm mainly interested in making "polenta" out of sprouted, nixtamalized corn.

                                                                ms l, you seem to live in the Bay Area. what was the source of the fresher corn you bought?

                                                                1. re: gabriel sanders
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                                                                  miss louella RE: gabriel sanders Jun 9, 2014 11:32 AM

                                                                  Aw thanks. And sorry for the delayed response, I just saw your question.

                                                                  I'm not sure exactly where I bought the corn. I was in SF and spending a lot of time in the Mission. Could have bought the corn at Duc Loi on a quina quest, or could have bought it at any of the many smaller markets. Wish I could be more specific.

                                                                  I wonder how the nixtamalization will affect your polenta? I sure hope you post about it!

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                                                                gabriel sanders RE: miss louella Jun 22, 2014 11:00 AM

                                                                I finally got around to trying this. I soaked the corn for 36 hours, and germinated it for about the same. as you can see in the last photo, the kernels had little shoots.

                                                                I nixtamalized the corn following the standard procedure, using prepared lime. (first photo)

                                                                I ground the nixtamalized corn in a food processor, and added about 15% dry weight rye flour. I don't like eating phytates, and corn doesn't have any naturally ocurring phytase. I will leave this masa (second photo) at least 24hrs at room temp to allow the enzymes to work, and maybe ferment a little.

                                                                I plan on cooking most of the masa as a polenta-like porridge, but I'll try a little as tortillas and see what it's like.

                                                                this is obviously an long process, but it's very light on active time. if I'm happy with the results, I would imagine doing this in large batches and freezing the finished masa in 2c containers.

                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: gabriel sanders
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                                                                  miss louella RE: gabriel sanders Jun 24, 2014 12:30 PM

                                                                  Very interesting!! Can you explain the difference between soaking and germinating the corn? Thanks!

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