Tacos seem to be quite the in-thing right now, gracing the menus at upscale restaurants and food trucks alike. We love the versatility of tacos, and coming up with interesting filling ideas. They’re fun to serve for a crowd, since you can make a variety of options for all tastes and diet options.
But before you can think about filling, you need a tortilla! We’ve been hard at work attempting the corn tortilla and have had help and inspiration from several sources (this post from Happyolks, a trial run in person with Erin from Naturally Ella, and Bon Appetit).
Though you’ll have to devote a bit of time and practice to the process, tortillas actually not too hard to make, once you get the hang of it! We ended up purchasing a tortilla press online, and it was incredibly helpful (and fairly inexpensive). However, if you’re not sure you’re ready for the investment, a pie plate works well too. (Or enter our giveaway!)
Why go to the trouble of making your own tortillas? It’s a good “food project” — a fun activity to try with friends or with kids — plus they taste great, and you can have the satisfaction of feeling quite resourceful!
We try to set aside about 30 minutes to make the tortillas from start to finish; though they’re a great thing to have going while you do other things, like making the filling or cleaning the kitchen (as long as you’re a good multi-tasker!).
- 2 cups yellow masa harina
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- Skillet (cast-iron, if possible)
- Tortilla press or a pie plate
- Plastic bag or wax paper
- In a medium bowl, whisk 2 cups masa harina and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Stir in 1½ cups water and ½ tablespoon olive oil. Knead in a bowl until a dough forms (the consistency of playdough). If the dough seems too crumbly and does not come together, add a bit more water. (As you make tortillas more often, you’ll learn the consistency of the dough.) Let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Heat a skillet (cast iron, if possible) over high heat.
- Get out a tortilla press. Cut down the sides of a plastic bag, and place it on both sides of the press. Pull off a golf-ball sized piece of the dough. Place the ball in the middle of the tortilla press, place the top over the ball, and squeeze down the handle.
- If you do not have a press, place the dough ball in the middle of the plastic bag and fold the other edge over the top. Place a pie plate on top, and press down firmly, using your entire weight over the plate.
- The flattened tortilla should be about 6 inches in diameter. Peel the tortilla off of the plastic. Make 2 to 3 in this fashion; then cook them, following the instructions in Step 4. (Don’t worry if you lose one or two when you get started, especially from sticking to the plastic. You can easily remove the tortilla, reshape it into a ball, and try again.)
- When the skillet is hot, place a tortilla on the skillet and cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fully cooked and a bit charred in places. Using a spatula, flip, then press down on the middle of the tortilla while you cook the second side (this helps the middle to become cooked). Transfer the tortilla to a plate and cover with a dish towel. Repeat for all tortillas. When you run out of flattened tortillas, pull off a few more balls and continue in this fashion (making a few at at time helps to keep the remaining dough hydrated and keeps flattened tortillas from sticking to the work surface).