I'm Elyse. Some of my most vivid and cherished memories are around a table with friends and family, and I want that for you, too.
What are you in the
By all accounts, I’m a real human lady. However, this week I am more tortilla than human. It is my delicious burden.
There are few things more incredible than a fresh, warm tortilla. Plain or loaded with toppings, it doesn’t matter to me, they’re all perfect. People seem to take the ‘flour versus corn’ debate really seriously, but each one has its merits. Personally, I’m a fan of corn tortillas for tacos and flour tortillas for enchiladas and burritos, thanks to how pliable they are. So, instead of picking a favorite, I’m sharing my recipes for both.
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m not a natural at hosting people—I tend to get so self-conscious about my apartment or my spread, that I avoid the situation altogether. But, now that the world is opening up again, it is something I want to work on. You better believe that the first time I have people over, I’ll be making Mezcal cocktails and breakfast tacos. Breakfast taco bars are easy to set up, which allows you to spend your morning enjoying the people you love and not standing over a stove. My spread includes chorizo, eggs, pickled onions, red and green salsas, limes, cilantro, radishes, avocado, cheese, and of course, corn and flour tortillas. Another huge bonus to making fresh tortillas is that the next day, you can quickly fry them up for homemade nachos or (my personal favorite) chilaquiles.
How to Make Homemade Flour Tortillas
These flour tortillas call for lard, but if you are vegetarian, I’ve also made them using vegetable shortening with success. Also, the first time you make these, don’t worry about them being perfectly circular, they’ll have more character in the end. However, do try and get them rolled out as thin as possible. This will give your tortillas those bubbles and blisters that we all know and love. Enjoy!
They are a classic for a reason. Tasty and ultra-pliable, these tortillas are wonderful fresh and also make for some killer chips when fried.
2C + 1T all-purpose flour + more to flour your work surface
1t baking powder
1/2t kosher salt
3/4C hot water
In a microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan, melt the lard until liquid. Double-check that you still have 1/4C.
In a large bowl, mix together 2C flour, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center and pour the melted lard in. Slowly begin to mix with a spatula until combined. The mixture should still look dry but have tiny lard pebbles throughout.
Add the hot water and begin to mix. (I tend to start with the spatula and then get in there with my hands to ensure the flour is completely hydrated.
If your dough feels too wet (ie isn’t able to hold together or seems soupy) Add a little more flour. I tend to need about an additional 1/2 tablespoon. Cover your dough with a clean dishtowel and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface, Portion out 10 balls.
Heat your comal, griddle, or pan to medium-high—lightly spray with cooking spray. Flour a rolling pin and working one at a time, roll out your balls into very thin rounds—moving them around often to avoid sticking.
Working two at a time, (you can do more if you have the space for it) transfer to the griddle. Cook for about 30 seconds then flip. Cook the second side for about 45 seconds, or until you see the edges drying and flip again. This part is magic. The tortilla will start to puff up in certain spots, which gives them those perfect blisters. Cook until you are happy with the depth of color on those blistered bits. (For me, it’s about a minute, but it all depends on how hot your surface gets and personal preference. Use the first one as a tester.)
Keep your tortillas warm and steaming by wrapping them in a towel, covering the top of the tortillas after every addition.
How to Make Homemade Corn Tortillas
Don’t tell flour tortillas, but corn tortillas have a flavor that can’t be beat. They tend to be smaller than flour ones because these tortillas are really delicate when raw. My advice is to be extra careful when peeling off the plastic wrap and pay attention to how thick the center is versus the edges, so they cook evenly. Also, this recipe can easily be doubled if you are having a big get-together.
Corn tortillas are typically made using a tortilla press, because they are too fragile to be rolled out and can start to break, stick, and tear. If you don’t have a tortilla press, no worries. Smash your dough balls into tortillas by using a heavy-bottomed pot or sheet pan.
There is nothing better than a taco made with fresh corn tortillas. These can be thrown together with just a bowl, three ingredients, and a hot surface.
2C masa harina (I use Maseca, but if you can find or make fresh masa, even better)
1 1/4 – 1 1/2C water
1t kosher salt
Stir together the masa and salt in a large bowl.
Add 1C of water and mix—using either a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or your hands. Feel the mixture. If there are dry spots or masa that hasn’t been incorporated, add another 1/4C of water. Mix again.
You want the mixture to feel hydrated all the way through and malleable, like Play-doh, without being so wet that it falls apart. If you find that it is still too dry, use the remaining 1/4C of water, pouring in 1/8 of a cup at a time. Form your dough into a ball.
Once your dough is at a stage you are happy with, split it into ten smaller portions, making them as even as you can. Heat your comal, griddle, or pan to medium-high and grease lightly.
Make a sandwich of plastic wrap, dough ball, plastic wrap on your tortilla press to avoid sticking, and press down to create a flat, circular tortilla. (This same method works with a heavy-bottomed pot or sheet pan and elbow grease.) I tend to press down two or three times, rotating the dough to ensure even distribution.
Remove your raw tortilla from its plastic wrap prison and place it on the heated griddle. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook the second side until you notice drying and slight discoloration around the edges. Flip again and allow the tortilla to puff up and brown slightly. Take off the heat and store wrapped in a towel to keep them nice and steamy. This allows them to stay malleable a little longer, which helps you avoid taco breakage.