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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Flour Tortillas

My son asked me to get the stuff I needed to make him soft tacos. So, I went to the grocery store and got everything, but the flour tortillas. My sons response? "Really Mom???" So, I assure him that I could make some for him! As most of you know by now, we live way out in the country and running out to the store to pick something up is not an option. I shop for the week, once a week, and that's pretty much it. So, I did a little research and realize that the flat breads that I have been making are all pretty much the same, just changing a little bit per region. The Chinese Pancakes are made with all-purpose flour and water. The Pita breads are made by adding yeast to that mixture. Tortillas are made by adding baking powder and lard. 

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
1 cup warm water

In a large bowl, blend the flour, baking powder, and salt together. With a fork, pastry blender or your hands cut in the lard or shortening. The mixture should clump together slightly and hold shape when squeezed in your hand.

Add the water all at once and mix the dough quickly with a wooden spoon or by hand until the dough forms a mass. Work it in the bowl, moving it around the sides to pick up any flour remaining in the bowl. Knead the dough by folding it in half, pushing it down, and folding again until it forms a soft dough that is no longer sticky. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes. 

After resting, pinch off 1-inch diameter balls of dough. Knead each of these into a tight ball by folding them over with your fingers, turning and repeating until it is about the size of a golf ball. 

Before rolling out the tortillas, allow the dough balls to rest at least 10 minutes. This will permit the gluten to relax and make them much easier to shape and roll.

On a lightly floured surface take one of the dough balls and begin to roll it out. To keep a somewhat round shape, roll one directions, make a 1/4 turn and roll again, make another 1/4 turn and roll. Continue to roll and turn until you the dough is about 1/8-inch thick and 8 to 10 inches in diameter.

Heat a cast-iron pan over medium to medium-high heat until water droplets "dance" when dropped on the surface. Place the raw tortilla on the preheated pan and allow it to cook until it begins to puff up with air pockets, turn carefully. Each side should cook about 30 seconds, leaving the tortilla puffy.

Getting puffy! :-)

Perfect... (cooked... not round) LOL

As you pull the tortillas off the pan, place them on a plate (lined with a dish towel or paper towels to keep them warm), or put them in a warm oven to keep warm until all the tortillas are done.

Note: I had my oven on 170 degrees. (That's my lowest setting.) Since it was my first time making them, it took me a while to get them all done. The tortillas started to dry out on the edges. I should have covered them with a damp towel.

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