Flour Tortilla

Flour Tortilla

It occurs to me that recipes normally contains list of ingredients and steps. But usually, they do not contain the ‘reasons’ or explanations for those ingredients and steps. And for a newbie cook, the recipe can be quite indecipherable.

This is my first time making tortilla in my room without proper kitchen. And it was so easy and wonderful, I made it again. I went through several recipes and several online videos and combine their wisdom into the process.

That’s why the reasons for the ingredients and steps are important to me. I need to know which attributes are key ones, what I can substitute for due to my space and pantry variety constraints and the fact that I do not have a flat pan. I do have a flat bottomed thick pot.

So, here’s the summary of what I found out and what I did to make it work.

If it’s too confusing, the normal format recipe is in bold.

You can ignore the ratio & reasons section and the non-bolded text in the steps.

They are only important if you want variation, alternatives or troubleshoot.

Based on Jason Hill’s video and ifoodtv.com.
Easy enough that it was successful on first try and the measurements are flexible and forgiving, so no need to be too exact.

Homemade Tortilla

Homemade Tortilla

Ingredients:
200 ml plain flour (1 cup)

0.5 tbsp olive oil
0.5 tsp salt (to taste)
50 ml hot water (0.25 cup, milk)

Extra Equipment:
Big bowl (or big round and deep plastic container)

Flat pan
Rolling pin
Dish towel (optional)
Spatula (optional, but keep hands clean)

Parchment paper (optional)
Flat area for kneading/rolling

Ratio and reasoning:

Flour oil salt hot water
4 cup 2 tbsp 2 tsp ~1 cup

Flour
– can substitute with self-raising flour for more puffy.
– Don’t use self-raising flour for flouring the board/dough/rolling pin.
– Can add 1 tsp baking powder to 4 cups flour.
– 1 cup makes 4 medium-size tortilla or 6 small 6″ diameter ones.
– Traditionally, no need baking powder. It will still bubble. Mine turned into pita-like pocket.

Oil – traditionally use lard.
– Can substitute with butter, margarine, lard, olive oil, veg oil.

Salt – is only to taste. Reduce or increase accordingly.

Hot liquid
– can be water or milk. Not boiling, but as hot as you can handle the dough.
– The amount required needs to be adjusted according to consistency.
– Add bit by bit.
– Probably use ¼ cup+ water per 1 cup flour.

Steps:

  1. Cut oil into flour.
    (Add oil into flour and mix it.)
    Should get a crumbly dough.
  2. Dissolve salt in hot water.
  3. Add hot water bit by bit and knead dough until all flour sticks into a ball.
    Around 5 mins kneading.

    Without baking powder, make sure you knead dough properly.
    Objective:

    1. Dough is wet enough to stick to itself into a ball.
    2. Dough is dry enough to be not stick to hands and bowl.
    3. Dough is thick, soft but not sticky.
    4. Using as little water as possible.
  4. Cover dough ball for 20 mins.
    To rest the dough – allow gluten (protein) strands to relax.
    Dough should feel softer.
  5. Divide dough into little balls.
    Golf ball (1.5 inch) for medium size.
    Size is limited by your pan size and how big you want the tortilla to be, how many people or pieces you want.
    You can try one ball first, roll as thin as you can to find the amount you need.
    The flat dough does not expand sideways with cooking.
    The balls allow you to speed up the rolling process during cooking.
  6. Prepare to cook tortilla.
    Prepare implements required for steps 7-11.
  7. Heat pan in medium fire.
    Traditional use cast iron.
    Alternatives: thick bottom are best, non-stick, tawa (indian flat round iron griddle), any flat surface
    Pan is dry – no oil.
    If dough is done correctly, it is thick enough not to stick to pan.
    If dough sticks to pan, it is too hot. Lower fire.
    If tortilla have burnt spots but inside still raw, pan is too hot. Lower fire.
  8. Roll ball of dough as flat and thin as possible (~ 1/8 inch thick).
    Traditional: round. Can be rectangle or whatever shape for wrap/base.
    Traditional: Sprinkle flour on board and rolling pin.
    Tip: Fold long piece of parchment paper into half.
    Tip: Put dough between sheets and roll. No messy flour and leaves a clean rolling pin.
    Tip: Can use plastic wrap or large freezer bag or aluminium foil also.
    Tip: Do not roll over the edge and make the edge too thin or it will crack/break.
    Tip: Roll the middle outwards.
    Tip: If the edge is too thick, run rolling pin in a tangent to the edge.

    Rolling tortilla

    Rolling tortilla
  9. Put tortilla on hot pan.
    In seconds, bubbles will form on the surface.
    When it looked like bubbles has reached max size, flip.
    Traditional: Use hand.
    Tip: Use chopsticks or tongs or flat turner (kitchen spatula) or scraper.
    Tip: Slide tortilla to the side of the pan to make it easier to grip the edge.
  10. Flip tortilla and cook till done.
    Usually when down, there are speckled brown spots on the sides and the tortilla turns lighter colour.
    Can be left a bit longer for extra crispy / toasty.
    Takes about 1 min per tortilla.
  11. Put hot tortilla on plate and cover.
    Tip: Line bowl/plastic container with dry kitchen towel.
    Tip: Stack hot tortilla on the towel.
    Tip: Cover the hot tortilla with towel & container cover/plate.
    Tip: The heat and steam will further cook the tortilla in the container.
  12. Repeat step 7-11.
  13. Done.

Storage:

  • Store in ziploc bag at room temperature for a few days.
  • Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
  • Reheat on pan.

References:

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