sam’s flour tortillas

once you’ve had a homemade tortilla you’ll never buy another one in the store. this recipe is from one of my old roommates sam. she had the flour tortillas down and she always made them for fajita and marg nights!

i hope she is carrying on the tradition in chicago!

sam’s flour tortillas

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

4-5 tbsp vegetable shortening, softened

3/4 cups very hot water

use blending fork or your hand to combine the flour, salt, baking powder and shortening in a mixing bowl. be sure the shortening is evenly distributed. using a blending fork, blend in enough hot water to make moderately soft dough that is like a stiff biscuit dough. using your hands, gently knead the dough for 10-15 seconds. if the dough seems too wet to knead work in 1-2 tsp additional flour. cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.

pinch off golf ball size rounds of dough and place in a plastic bag. let rest 20 minutes or up to 3 hours at room temperate.

when you are ready to roll out the tortillas, begin heating a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or griddle. the pan should be heated to 425-450 degrees (a drop of water will sizzle on the pan when ready). this is a “pancake type” operation in that you are rolling out and cooking at the same time.

dip each ball of dough in flour to lightly coat. use your thumbs to gently stretch each into 2-2 1/2 inch circle. use a marble or metal work surface to prevent sticking and roll the circles, one at a time, using a thin rolling-pin.  roll with several short, confident strokes into an oval. give the dough a quarter turn and roll again to obtain a thin circle. the ideal tortilla is very thin, but thicker ones are just as tasty.

carefully lift the rolled tortilla and immediately place on the preheated pan or griddle. cook 30-45 seconds until little bubbles appear on the surface. use a spatula to flip the tortilla and cook just a few seconds on the other side. do not push down the air bubbles or the tortilla will be tough and greasy. repeat to use all the dough balls. as the tortillas are finished stack them and then wrap in a towel or foil to keep warm and soft.

tortillas can be frozen and reheated. freeze in a stack with a sheet of waxed paper between each tortilla.

makes 12-14 tortillas


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