Making your own homemade tortillas shells is not just easy – it opens you up to a world of very tasty food. Back in the day I’d soak and prepare whole wheat tortilla shells for tacos or sandwich wraps. But since my family has gone gluten free, I’ve yet to a) find a good recipe that we like and b) bother testing a bunch more out.
I thought I was going to make it easy on my self and make corn tortillas shells. The instructions online were super easy, just water and masa flour.
But oh how dismal they turned out. It was terrible really! Lots of muttering under my breath as I tried to roll them out and have them break apart. Using my tortilla press didn’t help anything either as they’d look beautiful and then fall apart as I peeled them out. If I got them in the pan, they would cook to stiff. And we didn’t enjoy the taste. My husband nicely asked me if I’d stop trying to make them.
Not one to keep messing up dinner after dinner, I gave in and called it a loss.
Oh…..but then I had an idea. An epiphany really.
I love reading through my old handwritten cookbooks and something jumped out at me while I was skimming my wheat tortilla recipe.
- 2 cups masa harina (corn flour - not corn meal)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 - 1¼ cups hot water
- 1 Tbsp oil
- Mix together the corn flour, salt, one cup of hot water, and the oil together in a bowl and combine.
- Add water until you reach the right consistency. What you're going to be looking for is a dough that is wet enough to stick together, but not so sticky that it stays on your hands.
- Knead the dough for a minute or so to fully combine the ingredients.
- Cover the bowl in order to keep the moisture in the dough - otherwise by the time you're done, it'll be to dry. Take a golf ball sized chunk of dough and either roll flat with a rolling pin or place into a tortilla press. Either option you choose, lay the dough between layers of wax paper or a ziploc bag cut in two. If the dough sticks to the plastic - it's to wet, just add a touch more flour.
- Place the tortilla onto a medium-hot skillet, not greased. Cook for 45 seconds to one minute on each side.
- Once tortillas are fully cooked, take them off the skillet and place in between a folded towel. This helps keep them supple and warm while you're cooking the rest.
- You can use them immediately or store in the refrigerator for a week or so.
Or if you’re looking for whole wheat tortillas, never fear – I have those listed right here: Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas
Making your own “traditional” masa is also a possibility when you purchase the pickling lime from a place like Cultures for Health. “Ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures developed nixtamalization using lime and ash to create alkaline solutions to treat corn. Nixtamalizing corn by soaking it in lime water, produces corn that is more easily ground (when treating whole corn rather than corn meal), its nutritional value is increased (through the freeing up of Vitamin B3, flavor and aroma are improved and mycotoxins (a type of fungus) are reduced. Unprocessed Maize (corn) is deficient in niacin which is problematic when corn is used as a staple food in a diet. While it is suggested that corn should soak in lime water for 7 hours prior to using it in cooking, traditional cultures would often soak corn for 1-2 weeks.” – CfH.