Tortillas were one of the first things I ever tried making completely from scratch.
I made my first attempt back when I was still buying Ramen noodles, margarine, and boxed cereal on a regular basis…
In fact, I probably made that first tortilla recipe with a generous slug of canola oil…. Oh how times have changed…
I’ve come a long way since then, and so has my tortilla recipe.
After I had that initial blissful moment of “look what I made!”, I ended up experimenting with about a million different tortilla recipes before I found one I was finally happy with.
We had gummy tortillas, burnt tortillas, cardboard tortillas, crumbly tortillas, soaked tortillas, rubbery tortillas, and tiny tortillas… Betcha didn’t know it was possible to mess up one item so many ways, huh?
I finally found a whole wheat sourdough tortilla method that I loved. However, there was a problem– I didn’t always have a sourdough starter going (I don’t right now, actually), so we needed an alternative.
Enter this tortilla recipe. I’ve made it many, many times and I think it’s pretty much perfect.
Flour Tortilla Recipe
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- 2 cups flour (use what you have: unbleached white, whole wheat, or a combo of the two. See kitchen notes at bottom.)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (where to buy)
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil (where to buy coconut oil) OR lard (how to render lard)
- 3/4 cup warm milk (or whey or even water)
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Cut the solid (NOT melted) coconut oil or lard into the flour- much like if you were making a pastry or pie crust. I usually start with a fork and end up using my hands to mash all the little coconut oil balls into the flour. It’s going to be lumpy, and that’s OK. Just try to keep the lumps small.
Slowly add the milk until the mixture begins to form a ball. Knead for 2 minutes, and then cover the dough and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. One of the reasons I love this recipe is that it always seems to be the perfect ration of flour to liquid. I rarely, if ever, have to add extra flour or water to make a knead-able, dough consistency. But, be ready to adjust as needed, as climate and flour variety can play a part in this.
Divide it into 8 balls. Roll each ball as thin as you can in a circular-ish shape. (Even if you like thick tortillas, they will end up puffing when you cook them.)
Cook the tortillas in a pre-heated, medium-hot skillet for about 30 seconds on each side. You are looking for some golden brown spots to show you it’s ready to flip. My oven has a fifth burner in the center that converts into a cast-iron griddle, so I usually use that to make tortillas. However, I also love using my cast-iron skillets for making tortillas.
Store in the fridge. They are best if used immediately. However, you can re-heat them for a few seconds in your skillet if you plan on using them the next day.
Serve alongside my refried beans recipe, or turn them into tacos or burritos. You also might catch me smearing a warm tortilla with butter and homemade jam sometimes…
- Use whatever flour you like for these. I usually splurge and use unbleached white for this recipe. The more whole wheat you use, the more you will struggle with them turning cardboard-y the next day… Yes, you can reheat them and that helps, but hubby still doesn’t like taking the cardboard ones in his lunches…
- I have a tortilla press. But, I still prefer my rolling pin. It’s hard to get a large tortilla from a press, plus I’m faster with my pin.
- When I’m in a hurry, I often skip the 20 minute resting period. Actually, I almost always skip the 20 minute resting period…
- You’ll want to make a double or triple batch of these… At least that’s what I always do. They will freeze- just reheat them in your skillet to soften them before serving.
- I have found that I don’t need to oil my skillets when cooking these. They do just fine in a dry pan.
- The secret to making large, thin tortillas? THE OIL. It took me a loooong time to figure out why my tortillas would never roll out… I’d be standing there rolling with all my might, but the dough was like a rubber band… It would always shrink back as soon as I lifted it off of the counter… I realized that it was from the liquid olive oil I was using. Tortillas are traditionally made with lard. In our modern times, many folks use shortening instead (a big no-no…) I knew I needed to use a solid fat for my dough, but
don’t have access to lard at the moment(We finally butchered our hogs! Here is my DIY lard rendering tutorial), and I won’t touch shortening. So, I turned to coconut oil. Bingo! As long as I use my solid coconut oil for this recipe, I have no problem rolling out big ol’ tortillas. (where to buy coconut oil)
- To store my tortillas, I like to line a large Ziploc baggie with paper towels. This seems to help keep them from drying out so fast.
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