Ollie's Never Give Up Tortillas

The Final Never Give Up Tortillas
I tried my hand at Tortilla making for the first time early this morning. It was a failure. The dough was crumbly and didn't cook properly. I set off the smoke alarm which not only beeps a shrill alarm but calls out in French and English "Fire! Feu!" The dogs were freaked out. Hubs woke up (it was early - 6 am) and was not impressed.

After much puzzling over what went wrong, I figured it out. I used corn flour because hubs mistakenly bought it in place of cornmeal and I wanted to use it up. So I did a straight substitution for all-purpose flour called for in the Tortilla recipe I was using. Big mistake. I didn't realize that corn flour has no guten and will not stick together (ah, that accounts for the crumbliness!). So it must always be used with another flour - whole wheat or all-purpose. DUH!

Okay after much hunting online for a recipe using corn flour, I gave up and semi-invented my own. And it worked! I cooked 6 medium size tortillas that both hubs and I are happy with. And no one began yelling "FIRE! FEU!" as I cooked. I am covered in flour and the kitchen's one huge mess but that's the price to pay for being creative. Okay -- messy and careless.

 You need one bowl to mix the following ingredients:

3/4 cup yellow corn flour
1 1/4 cup flour (I used all-purpose)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

When that is mixed, add 1 capful of vegetable oil (I told you I invented this, I don't usually measure ingredients!). I estimate my capful was about 1 Tbsp.

Blend and then slowly start adding warm water. Keep stirring with a fork, not a spoon. I can' t tell you how much water, just keep adding and stirring until your dough looks like the dough on the left. It's not too dry and not too wet. Not sticky, yet it holds together.

Knead this dough ball a half-dozen times, just the way you knead bread dough. You do make home-made bread, right? Now put the dough back in the mixing bowl to rest for about 10 minutes under a damp tea towel.

After 10 minutes take the dough ball out and form it into a rough sausage shape. I can't remember if I continued or I let the sausage rest for another 5 or 10 minutes! I think I let it rest.

Next step is to pinch off equal amounts of dough. I did 6 because I wanted 6 fairly large tortillas. You wouldn't get more than 12 or they'd be really tiny.

On a lightly floured surface, take one of your dough balls and press it into a round with the heel of your hand. You're ready to start rolling it out. If you want a fairly decent consistent circle, only do one "push" with your rolling pin. Start in the middle of the dough and make that one short push UP and then one short push DOWN back across the middle and down the same distance as you went UP.

Then you rotate your dough 70' and repeat the UP-DOWN push. Turn it another 70' (in the same direction) and repeat the UP-DOWN push. Continue rotating for 7 or 8 turns. You're not rolling to the very edge until the last couple of rolls. The more careful you are with this rolling out, the more perfect a circle you will have.

Confused? Never mind, not everyone is as anal retentive as I am. Just roll your dough balls out as you want to.

Now you're ready to heat a griddle or a cast iron fry pan on medium to high heat. I used a little bit of oil - a spray kind of canola oil just to lightly coat the griddle.

When it's hot, start cooking your tortillas, one or two at a time. They will start to form bubbles and after a couple of minutes you can flip them over and cook the other side. When they are golden brown they're done!

This shows you how thick the tortillas are. I think I'm going to make them a little thinner on my next try. I ended up with 6 tortillas about 6 or 7 inches in diameter from this recipe. And I got to use a bit of my corn flour!

Serve with anything you like - scrambled eggs, sauteed vegetables, beans and rice, flaked tuna .... the possibilities are endless.


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