- 4 cups white or whole wheat flour or half each
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1 to 1-1/4 cups water
- Waxed paper
- oil (optional)
In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. I prefer to use the baking powder because it makes the tortillas lighter, even if you roll them a little thick. The baking powder is not an authentic addition though, rather it is a southern mutation. Next cut in the shortening with a fork. When the flour is crumbly, add the water. Stir the dough with your fork until it makes a cohesive ball of dough. You may need to add an extra small spoonful of water if the dough is too dry. Be careful not to add too much though. When the dough forms a ball, knead it about 20 times. Then let it rest in the bowl for about 10 minutes. After it has rested, form it into 10 or 12 equal balls. Roll each ball in a little flour, to coat the outside of it evenly. Place a ball of dough on a sheet of waxed paper, or a clean, well floured surface. Roll the dough out into a a 6 or 7-inch circle. Try to get it as thin as you can. Loosen the tortilla from the rolling surface. Flop it onto a dry, hot skillet. Cook about 30 seconds, until the under side is dry, with a few brown spots. Flip it and cook the other side the same way. Transfer the cooked tortilla to a plate, and cook the next one. This goes pretty fast after you get the hang of it. You can roll out all of the tortillas first, in one stage, and then cook them all in the second stage. After you practice it some, the whole procedure takes less than 20 minutes, and the tortillas are sooo good. Use them the same way you would store-bought tortillas: burritos, soft tacos, etc.
The first few times you make these, you will need 30 to 40 minutes for the whole procedure. It takes time and practice to get the hang of rolling them out quickly and into a roughly circular shape. Please persevere. This recipe will save you $1 to $1.50 every time you make them. Also, if you don’t have access to the store, you can still have lovely Mexican dishes all the same.
Homemade tortillas are not as flexible as store-bought tortillas. To make them more flexible, place them in a plastic bag while still warm, and let them cool right there in the bag. The steam will make them more pliable, and easier to roll up into fancy burrito shapes. This recipe makes about a dozen tortillas.