Handmade Corn Tortillas

Handmade Corn Tortillas in a Cast Iron Skillet
Once you’ve eaten your first handmade tortilla, you’ll realize what you’ve been missing. The results are tender and slightly sweet and earthy. And once you realize how easy they are to make with the right equipment, you’ll never want store bought again. Although you can use a rolling pin, I think a tortilla press is essential to make the process go quickly. I keep a bag of masa harina in my kitchen so I always have the ingredients on hand. As a snack, I enjoy these tortillas warm and slathered with salted butter.


Handmade Corn Tortillas

Although you can use a rolling pin, I think a tortilla press is essential to make the process go quickly.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup masa harina (Available in most well-stocked markets. I use Maseca brand)
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup hot tap water

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the masa harina and the salt together. Pour in the water and stir to until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let rest for 15 minutes so the masa fully absorbs the water.
  2. While the dough rests, cut 10 pieces of parchment paper approximately 7.5” x 7.5”. (I re-use my parchment for more than one batch.) Roll the dough into 9 equally sized balls. If you are using a scale, each ball should weigh 1⅛ ounces.
  3. Place a piece of parchment on the bottom of the tortilla press. Place a dough ball in the middle and cover with a second piece of parchment. Close the press about ¾ of the way and then open the press (your tortilla should look slightly fat), flip the entire tortilla with parchment over and close the press completely. (I’ve found flipping the tortilla before closing the press completely results in an evenly flat tortilla). Peel the top parchment from the tortilla. Stack the tortilla and bottom parchment to the side. Continue pressing and stacking tortillas.
  4. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Do NOT add oil to the pan. Carefully peel each tortilla from the bottom parchment by flipping the tortilla over into your hand and peeling off the parchment from the top. Gently place the tortilla into skillet. Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to cook 2-4 tortilla at the same time. My 12” skillet holds three perfectly without touching.
  5. Cook for about 2 minutes per side until the edges begin to curl up and a few brown spots are visible on the bottom. (I find cooking tortillas is a lot like cooking pancakes – the first few don’t have the perfect texture/coloring, but things get better as you go along). The tortillas will be a little dryer than standard tortillas, but they will soften as they rest.
  6. Stack cooked tortillas on a plate and cover with the clean towel you used in step 2. This will keep the tortillas warm and the steam will help the tortillas to soften. Serve tortillas immediately. If you refrigerate them, they can be gently warmed in a damp paper towel in the microwave.

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