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Pati Jinich Homemade Corn Tortillas

Yes, you can buy them already made at the store… but there are few things that can compare to the nurturing and filling sensation of homemade corn tortillas.

And the great thing is: We can buy the premade corn tortilla flour of extraordinary quality in the US these days. So you don’t have to nixtamalize the corn kernels (dry in the sun, cook and soak in hot water with lime, peel and grind to a paste) through a process of more than 36 hours to make your own fresh corn tortilla dough. Here is how you make them:

Corn Tortillas
Makes about 10 to 12 tortillas

INGREDIENTS
2 cups corn tortilla flour, such as MASECA
1 3/4 cup water (or enough to achieve a play dough consistency dough! varies with climate)
Pinch of salt, optional

TO PREPARE
Set a comal or ungreased dry skillet over medium heat, for at least 5 to 8 minutes, until thoroughly heated. (If your pan isn’t hot enough, the tortillas will stick.)

To make masa or dough, mix together the flour, salt, and water in a large mixing bowl and  knead the masa in a circular motion. Do so for a couple minutes, until the dough feels smooth and has no lumps. If it feels too dry, add a bit more water. Masa dries out fast, so if you leave it unattended, cover it with a clean moist kitchen towel or cloth.

To make the tortillas, cut out 2 plastic circles from a thin plastic bag, like ones you get at grocery stores. (Don’t use plastic wrap.)  Roll a piece of the masa in your palm into a ball about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Place one plastic circle on the bottom of the tortilla press and place the masa ball on top. Place the other plastic circle on top of the ball and press down the press to make a flat disk, jiggling the press a little as you get to the bottom (this makes a rounder tortilla). Open the press and check the tortilla for dryness and, if needed, add water to the remaining masa (the masa should be as soft and smooth as Play-Doh). Take the top plastic off, lift the bottom plastic with the tortilla in one hand and peel the tortilla from the plastic with the other hand.

Alternatively, you can place a ball between plastic sheets or parchment paper and roll the tortillas out with a rolling pin. They should be about 5″ in diameter and about 1/8″ thick.

Place the tortilla on the hot comal or skillet. Let it cook for at least 30 seconds (resist the urge to touch or adjust it). As soon as it can be flipped without sticking to the comal – it should be opaque on the side that it was cooking on. Flip with a spatula and cook for about a minute, until opaque and starting to  freckle on the other side. If it is opaque but it has white-ish areas, you need to leave it a bit more, until those white-ish shadows become freckled with brown spots. Turn over once more, and now, after a couple seconds, tortilla should puff up like pita bread, if not all over tortilla, at least in an area of it. Let the tortilla cook still, for about 10 seconds, so that it cooks in between the area that puffed up.

If eaten that same day, tortillas may be kept wrapped in a clean kitchen towel or cloth. If not, wrap in a kitchen towel, inside a closed plastic bag and place in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to 3 days, afterwards they will turn too hard. Reheat in hot comal for 30 seconds or so on each side before eating. They can also be frozen and kept for months.


Comments

Pati,

searching for plain old homemade tortilla recipes, i just found this website (and YOU!) today!! yaaaay!!!

so here’s my question: i wanna make my own homemade corn tortillas… but unless the cornmeal or corn flour says it’s organic and non-GMO… we can pretty much assume that it is GMO.

i’ve never seen masa (sp??) that qualifies. have you?

soooo… i’m wanting to make my corn tortillas from organic cornmeal or flour. do you have suggestions on how to do that?

love love love this website!! i’m late finding it, but i’ll be here a LOT!!! thank you thank you for all this great info!!

— S :D

Hi Suz, Delighted you found my site! You are always welcome here and I love receiving comments! I dont think that all corn grown in Mexico is GMO. I go for the Maseca corn dough flour which is what most people in Mexico use, with very good results. I know there is a mushrooming of tortillerias that are making their own masa from scratch with Cacahuazintle corn, have you researched in your area? Best of luck!


Gold Mine Natural Foods sells organic, non GMO yellow and blue corn masa online. It’s delicious. Just google them. I love Patti’s blog!



Hola Pati! I got your book in March and my husband and I have really enjoyed it!! We enjoy looking up the classic recipes from previous shows as well as seeing if there are recipes in the book from the current shows. It is a great book and is becoming a classic in our house already!! My comal is well seasoned, but I am not sure if I am ready to try to make my own tortilla’s yet. I have seen it done before, but it seems like it would be something that you “just have to know what you are doing”. I may just have to experiment. Thanks for everything and for making it all so easy!!!

I have made flour tortilla … they are easier than you think. Just try it and if it doesn’t work out make tortilla chip out of them or maybe some tortilla soup.



Hola Pati, love your blog. I especially love that you translate some of the words into Spanish. Do you happen to have a recipe for the nixtamalization of corn? Have you ever made masa like that? Gracias!

Yes! But not yet on the blog…



In your recipe for making corn tortillasm you didn’t list salt as one of the ingredients, but you did say in the directions for preparation to mix flour, salt, and water. How much salt should I use to make this recipe? Thank you!

Hola Jane, I’m so happy you are thinking about using my recipe! Just a pinch of salt (it’s opional). ;)



Hola Pati,

I have access to a corn tortilleria that sells masa. I would love to make tortillas from this masa, but do not know what I would need to add or mix in to make my own corn tortillas. Please help! :-)

You don’t need to add anything to fresh masa! Just roll, press and cook!



Hi Pati,

I made corn tortillas for the first time today using your cookbook (not literally, I had a press) — and while they were certainly edible, they didn’t puff. Que horror!

Do you suppose they were too dry? Also, other sources online have recommended allowing the masa to rest (covered) for 30 or more minutes before rolling into balls. Is this ever necessary — or a myth? Also, another source said to flip them the very first time after only 5 to 10 seconds. Does that make any sense?

Any insight is appreciated. Otherwise, my family and I have really enjoyed your recipes — especially the honey chipotle ribs! Que sabor!

Thanks!

Neil


I was wondering if you had a GF recipe for flour tortillas rather than corn tortillas. Thank you. By the way, the Tres Leches Cake looks wonderful. I must try this recipe soon.


Thank you SO much for the plastic bag tip. We were trying EVERYTHING to get our tortillas to not stick to the press…nothing really worked. I appreciate the info and will try it tonight!

Hola Heather, Yes, the plastic should help them not stick.




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