In a medium-size bowl, stir together masa harina and salt. In a small pan over high heat, bring lard to a boil and stir until melted. Pour into the masa harina and blend well with a fork and pastry blender. Knead on lightly floured board until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Divide dough into 12 pieces and roll into a ball about 1-inch thick in diameter. Cover balls with plastic so they don't dry out. One at a time, roll each ball out between 2 pieces of waxed paper int a tortilla press.
Heat a large cast iron or heavy skillet over high heat until very hot.
Place dough in skillet. Cook on one side about 30 seconds, then flip and
brown on second side, about 30 seconds.
Keep warm in cloth towel until others finished.
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|Corn Tortillas #2|
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until thick and smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and cover the
surface of the dough with plastic wrap while pressing and frying individual tortillas so the dough will not dry out. To form the tortillas,
wet your hands and pull off a lump of dough about the size of a golfball. Roll it into a ball. Tear off 2 pieces of plastic wrap about a foot long.
Either in a tortilla press, or between 2 dinner plates, place the ball between the sheets of plastic wrap. Press down with the palm of your hand
to flatten slightly, then press firmly to form a thin circle. Use the first tortilla to test the consistency of the dough. If the edges of the
tortilla are uneven and crumbly, the dough needs a little more water. If the sheet of plastic sticks to the dough and it is very soft, add a few
tablespoons of masa harina. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving individual tortillas between the sheets of plastic wrap. Heat a heavy
skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Peel off the top sheet of plastic and invert the tortilla into the hot pan. Grill until stiffened, about 30
seconds; turn for 1 minute or less, until the side is slightly browned, then turn to the first side for 30 seconds. The time for grilling each
tortilla is less than 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Makes 16 Tortillas.
From: SouthWest Tastes
Posted By: firstname.lastname@example.org
Post Date: Sep 12, 1997
|Corn Tortillas #3|
Put the masa in a bowl, along with the soda and baking soda. Pour over it warm water, stirring constantly until a soft dough is formed. You may not need to use all of the water.
Pinch off a bit of dough, the size of a golf ball or even smaller. Pat the dough into a flat circle. In Mexico, women pat the dough as they transfer it from one hand to the other. Most of us, use an ordinary hand tortilla press. Put a piece of plastic film on the press, top with the pat of masa and cover with a second piece of film. Press.
Drop the tortilla on a hot griddle. Cook until it is dry, turn and finish cooking.
Put the finished tortilla on a tea towel, cover to hold in heat. Repeat at will.
Serve hot as a substitute for bread.
Posted By: Eeyore, email@example.com
Post Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998
To make fresh masa, you first need to make nixtamal.
Nixtamal is dried field corn soaked in, and heated in, a solution of slaked lime and water. Slaked lime, calcium hydroxide, is generally available in the form of "builder's lime" -- not to be confused with unslaked lime, calcium oxide. Unslaked lime can't be used for making nixtamal unless you slake it first by adding it to water, allowing it to bubble and then stand for a bit, and then using the WATER for processing the dried corn. It's the lime, by the way, that contributes to the unique taste and texture of corn tortillas. After the corn has soaked for the required length of time (depending on whether making nixtamal for masa or pozole), it's rinsed to remove the lime and then rubbed to remove the husks.
Mix lime and water in a large, non reactive (enamel or stainless steel) pot. Place pot over high heat and stir until lime is disolved. Add corn and, stiring occasionally, bring to a boil. If making nixtamal for masa to make tortillas, boil for a couple of minutes, remove from heat, cover and let soak overnight. If making nixtamal to make masa for tamales, boil for about 15 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let soak for a couple of hours. If making nixtamal for pozole, boil for 15 minutes and let soak for another 5 to 10 minutes. After soaking for the desired length of time, rinse the corn in a colander to remove all traces of the lime while rubbing the kernals to remove the softened hulls. Once cleaned, the nixtamal can then be ground into masa or left whole to be further simmered until tender to make hominy for pozole or menudo.
Making tortillas using fresh masa or masa harina...
Masa harina is fresh masa that's been dried and then ground into a flour-like consistency, to make masa harina you must first make masa. Masa harina is similar to, but not the same as, fine ground cornmeal. Trying to make corn tortillas out of regular cornmeal, even finely ground, would probably be unsatisfying. I suppose it would be possible to make nixtamal for tortillas, grind it into masa, dry it, grind it again and then re-hydrate it to make tortillas. But why not just make fresh masa from nixtamal and then make tortillas with it. Both nixtamal and masa can be frozen for later use.
If you wanted to be authentic, you could use a metate (a flat stone made from lava rock) and mano (sorta like a flattened, oval shaped rolling pin also made from lava rock) to grind the corn into masa...but a plate-style grain mill is a lot easier. My hand cranked Corona brand does double duty...I not only use it for masa but also for grinding grain, malted barley and other specialty malts for homebrewing. For tortilla dough, you need to adjust the plates for a fine grind to come up with a smooth dough that isn't grity. Tamales can be made from masa ground a little coarser allowing the use of a food processor if a plate mill isn't available. It might be possible to use a food processor for tortilla dough, but I doubt you would end up with the smooth consistency desirable for tortillas. After the nixtamal has been put through the mill, water should be worked into the masa as needed to make a medium-soft consistency dough. Hand-patting tortilla dough is an art in itself and the necessary skill takes a long time to learn (I tried it, but gave up out of frustration). A rolling pin can be used, but a tortilla press works better. I have both a cast iron and an aluminum press, but I don't see why one couldn't use a couple pieces of hardwood and a hinge to fabricate a viable substitute for a storebought press.
Tortillas de Maiz
Gradually knead the masa into a smooth consistency, pushing with the heal of the hand (3 to 5 minutes should be sufficient depending on whether using fresh masa or reconstitued masa harina). Wrap the dough in wax paper or plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Place a comal or heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Break off a piece of the dough about the size of a golf ball and pat it a few times to partially flatten it. Place the ball of dough between a folded sheet of polyethylene (wax paper could probably be used in place of the plastic) on a tortilla press (a little off center towards the hinge) and press hard. Remove the tortilla from the press and peel off the plastic. If the dough has the correct amount of water, the plastic will peel easily off the tortilla. If the plastic sticks, the dough is too moist. If the tortilla cracks around the edges, the dough is to dry. Place the tortilla on the hot, ungreased comal and bake until the edges start to dry (about 30 seconds). Flip and bake until lightly speckled on the underside (about 1 minute). Flip a second time and bake for about 30 seconds more. As the tortillas come off the comal, they should be wrapped together in a towel to keep them soft and warm. The side that's up after the second flip is considered the inside...where the filling would go if making tacos, flautas, enchiladas, or whatever.
To be honest, fresh nixtamal and masa (as well as fresh tortillas) are so easy to find in So. Calif. I don't have to go through all that hassle (although, I do usually buy fresh nixtamal to grind into masa for making tamales). But for those who aren't so lucky, the above process should take care of the situation. Good luck in your efforts...
From: Rich McCormack (Poway, CA)
Posted By: Rich McCormack
Post Date: ???
Diana Kennedy's book The Art of Mexican Cooking goes into great detail about making masa for tortillas and tamales. This is the condensed version:
Use 1 lb dried corn kernels, 1 cup water and 2 rounded tsp. powdered lime. Rinse corn, put in non-reactive pan with enough water water to come 1" above corn. Stir 1 cup water into the powdered lime and pour thru fine sieve into pan, pressing lumps with back of spoon. Cook until small bubbles appear on the surface--do not boil. Lower heat and cook until the yellow skin can easily be slougdhed off the kernels, test by rubbing a few kernels betw. fingers. About 15 min more. Let stand in the warm liquid for at least 12 hrs. and up to 48. Rub off all skins and send to the mill to be ground. (She shows a special corn grinder or says to use a metate and nano.) Do not overcook corn or it will make a tacky masa impossible to handle for tortillas.
Canned hominy and nixtamal aren't the same thing. Nixtamal is only partially cooked. It can be ground into masa for making corn tortillas, tamales, gordas, etc. but you can't just heat it 'n eat it like you could canned hominy. Canned hominy could be described as nixtamal that's undergone further cooking to be eaten as is or to be used in such things as soups and stews; and, it's most likely been processed with a solution of lye rather than slaked lime...OK for pozole or menudo but not for tortillas. It just wouldn't work.
If making nixtamal from scratch isn't feasible and fresh masa or nixtamal isn't available commercially, then masa harina is the only answer. If masa harina isn't readily available I'd say you're out of luck, homemade corn tortillas and tamales made with masa are pretty much off the menu. If you're determined to make fresh homemade tortillas, you'll probably have to stick with flour tortillas. They won't work for making enchiladas but they're definitely acceptable for making fish tacos (see my web pages) or (now I'm makin' myself hungry) lobster tacos, a seafood specialty of Maine if I'm not mistaken...
From: Rich McCormack (Poway, CA)
Posted By: Rich McCormack
Post Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997
FLOUR TORTILLA Mix all the dry ingredients and sift. Mix in lard. Add warm (not hot) milk gradually, knead til smooth. Cut into pieces. Roll out paper thin into round shape. Cook on hot griddle until lightly browned and "spotted".
|Flour Tortillas #2|
All measurements are appox. they will vary slightly with humidity, gluten content of flour etc. Shortening will produce the same wonderful tort texture as lard and without the saturated fats. For those who aren't concerned about saturated fats or "the thought" of lard you'll get the traditional flavor using it.
Mix the Fluor and salt in bowl. Take your fingers and rub the lard or shortening into the flour until is thoroughly mixed. (You can also cut it in with a pastry knife but using your fingers is easy. ) Add the water gradually and stir until you have a soft dough. Knead it for about 3 minutes. When it is "just right" the dough will have a smooth texture. Don't over knead it. Divide the dough into about 12 equal size balls. Coat with a very thin coating of melted lard, shortening, or vegetable oil. Place in a bowl and cover with a slightly damp clean towel. Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes to 2 hours. Heat a heavy skillet to medium to medium hot. (You'll have to experiment and make a notes of the correct setting for your stove/pan combination.) Flatten the dough balls on a lightly floured flat surface and shape into tortillas one at a time. Use a rolling pin, tall water glass, or thick dowel to roll out the torts. It takes practice to make nice round torts, but you'll get better with time. Place the torts in the skillet one at a time. When little bubbles form its time to flip them over and cook on the other side until slightly brown.
Note: After you've done this a few times you'll get the feeling for it. If the dough seems rubbery and does not roll easily, let it rest a little longer.
From: Chile Head Mailing List
Posted By: Phil Cody", firstname.lastname@example.org
Post Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999
|Tommy Grimes' Tortillas - Flour tortillas with masa|
Flours should equal 4 cups with 30 % masa. Vegetable shortning is preferred but lard can be used. Use 1 tsp baking powder
per cup of flour (4 teaspoons for 4 cups) dash of salt 1 1/2 cups tempid (luke warm) water
Mix the flour and shortening together with your hands until the shortening is well dispersed. Add the water and mix to a pie dough consistency. Roll out as thin as possible. Cook on a very lightly greased 400 degree griddle.
Keep warm wrapped in damp towels in a warm oven.
Tommy Grimes developed these as a hybrid tortilla. They combine some of the better flavors and textures between flour and masa tortillas. They will roll quite thin or may be left medium thickness and still cook through.
From: Tommy Grimes
Posted By: Ken Vaughan, email@example.com
Post Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999
Kit Anderson wrote:
I did it! I made tortillas with fresh masa. Field corn is available at feed stores. Lime was a little difficult. The hardware had some but in inspection it was CaO, not CaOH, and came in 50 lb bags. I checked the garden section and found hydrated horticultural lime in 5 lb bags. (CaOH- 54%)
The guys in the hardware were great.
"What do you want this for?"
"Are you sure you don't want lye?"
"Nope. That's for hominy."
"Oh. Can't you just buy tortillas?"
"You can. But they taste different."
"Bring some in so we can try them."
After bringing the lime water and corn to a boil, I let it sit overnight. The whole house still smells like cornbread. I wasn't sure how to get the hulls off the kernels. What I did was put a couple of hand fulls in a lager pot and added water. I rubbed the corn with open palms and decanted off the water. I did this several times until the water was relatively clear.
Then I used my Corona mill for its intended purpose. Masa came out the end with the plates set as close as possible. I had to add a little water to the dough to make tortillas. On my electric tortilla press, I could press down using more time than with masa harina.
I found that adding salt helps the flavor. The texture and flavor is indescribable. They are thicker than dry masa tortillas and taste like corn. The last third of the batch, I mixed in equal amounts of masa harina to see the effect. I could not really tell any difference in flavor and texture. The were just slightly thinner.
I will do this again but double up on the amount. The tortillas freeze beautifully. It is less work than making tamales but like tamales, well worth it.
From: Kit Anderson
Posted By: Blue Rider firstname.lastname@example.org
Post Date: Sun, 26 Oct 1997
Put flour into a bowl. Make a hole in the center and put in the baking powder, salt and oil. Add a tablespoon or two of water and stir vigorously. If the dough won't stick together add more water, by tablespoons. You don't want the dough to become a batter.
Divide the dough into balls about as big as a tangerine. Roll or pat (or use a tortilla press). If you haven't got an electric press you'll need to put each tortilla on a hot grill just until lightly toasted on each side.
Cover with a cloth or slip into a heavy duty plastic bag to keep.
Post Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997