Healthier, Homemade Tortillas (4 points)

flour tortillaAs a health-savvy person, you know that corn tortillas are a much better choice than flour tortillas. I completely agree. But have you ever had a homemade tortilla? They are soft, tender, puffy, chewy and flaky. They melt in your mouth and melt your heart. Once you have a homemade tortilla, the supermarket tortillas will taste as dry and plastic-like as the bags they come in.

Me and my mamí- my first cooking teacher

Me and my mamí- my first cooking teacher

Luckily for you, my mom is both an excellent cook and a health-conscious cook, as well as my most loyal reader. (Love you, mom!) She worked her magic in the kitchen to create a healthier tortilla. You may know that flour tortillas are usually made with liberal amounts of vegetable shortening or lard, both loaded with saturated fat. Here, we’ve lowered the amount of fat and used canola oil instead. Canola oil has the monounsaturated fats recommended for a heart-healthy diet and boasts a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. By using canola instead of Crisco, we lose none of the taste. These tortillas were every bit as amazing as other homemade tortillas and miles ahead of store-bought.

How hard are they to make? Surprisingly, not that hard. I tend to stay away from anything involving flour and a rolling pin (notice the lack of baking skills throughout this blog). My plan was to watch my mom make the tortillas, take copious notes and snap lots of photos.

But my mom, being a true mother, had to push out of my comfort zone. “M’ija,” she asked, “how do you expect to tell other people how to make them if you don’t try it yourself?”

So I picked up the rolling pin and learned the steps to rolling out tortillas. 1. Flour your work surface. 2. Roll out the dough with the rolling pin. 3. When the dough sticks to the rolling pin, peel off the dough, re-flour the counter, flip the dough and continue. 4. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Usually, recipe instructions like these make me stay away from the kitchen. But once you make one tortilla, the rest get easier. I may get over my fear of rolling pins yet.

Healthier, Homemade Tortillas

Ingredients:   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup warm water

Directions:

1.         In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.

2.         Add the oil, a little at a time. Mix with a fork until the dough is crumbly.

Add oil a little at a time and mix with a fork

Add oil a little at a time and mix with a fork

Stop mixing when the dough looks crumbly like this

Stop mixing when the dough looks crumbly like this

3.         Add the warm water, a little at a time. Continue mixing with a fork until the dough starts to come together.

After adding water and mixing, the dough will come together like this

After adding water and mixing, the dough will come together like this

4.         At this point, you can start kneading it with your hands. Or, if you like shortcuts like my mom, let the Kitchenaid mixer do the work. (Ok, if I had a Kitchenaid, I would also let it do all the work for me). Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky.

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After kneading, the dough should be smooth and not sticky

5.         Roll the dough into 18 balls the size of golf balls. Cover the bowl with a wet paper towel for 10 minutes.

6.         Spread flour on your work surface and keep a cup of extra flour handy. Rolling tortillas is sticky business!

7.         Take a dough ball and slightly flatten it out with your hands. Take your rolling pin and start rolling it out.

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Spread flour on your counter and flatten the dough ball

8.         The dough will stick to the rolling pin almost immediately. That’s ok. Peel off the dough from the rolling pin and use your other hand to spread the existing flour over your counter again. Flip the tortilla so that the floury side is now up. Start to roll it out again.

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I did not even attempt this step. My tortillas were just not round and that’s ok.

9.         Repeat this process until you have something that resembles a tortilla (mine mostly looked liked amoebas). If you’re awesome like my mother, you will coax it into a perfect circle. In the picture to the right, you can see her stretching out a tortilla like pizza dough to get the perfect shape. Maybe you can do this? If you can’t, I can assure you that amoeba tortillas taste the same.

10.       After you finish a tortilla, throw it onto a pan. Cook on one side until you see bubbles forming on the surface. Flip and cook on the other side until soft bubbles form again. You may start to see light brown spots form. However, you don’t want to see dark brown spots unless you have an unusual taste for crispy tortillas.

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You can start to see air pockets start to bubble up. It’s now time to flip over.

A finished tortilla!!

A finished tortilla!!

11.       Keep repeating the process. You should be able to roll out the next tortilla as the last one cooks. They are best when served right away. But my husband can tell you they also taste like heaven reheated in the middle of the night.

Serving Size: 1 tortilla

Weight Watchers Points+: 4

Calories 170, Carbs 20g, Fat 9g, Protein 3g

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Tony (SimpleAwesomeCooking) January 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Very nice! The thorough write-up is great, as I am also quite challenged when it comes to pure baking. Have you tried tortillas with corn flour as well? Curious how to substitute the AP flour.

    Reply edit
  • Billy Pattinson January 15, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I love homemade tortillas! These look beautiful!

    Reply edit
  • Madonna January 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Ok girl, this is what I have been waiting for. My source for (no-lecithin) flour tortillas just jumped significantly in price so I am ready to take this on. Tell your mother she has made me very happy. (BTW, you look like sisters.) I am trying to rid myself of anything packaged that has an unpronounceable name.

    Oh, and someone dear to me gave me a Vic Firth baker’s pin and my dough goes where I want it to go.

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  • Rosemary May 30, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I’m trying to eat much better to promote my fertility and alleviate my PCOS. I have been making traditional flour tortillas for a while now using lard….sorry, but the lard makes them smell and taste so wonderful! But now that I’m trying to gear away from regular, overprocessed flours, I’m trying to find a recipe for tortillas using other flours. Do you have any suggestions for cooking with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour? It’s a mix of different flours and was wondering how to go about making a non-traditional flour tortilla with it.

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    • Hot, Spicy and Skinny May 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Hi! Thanks for visiting. I love your idea of using a more wholesome flour. Unfortunately, I’m a klutz with dough and almost never make anything flour based. I will ask my mom because she’s the baker on the family. But let me know if you discover anything on your own. I would love a guest blogger post!

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  • Kelsey August 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    It was literally a fiesta en la boca. Literally. There is nothing like this in Argentina and in Michigan we alllllllways eat some sort of Mexican food or at least Americanized Mexican food :) I made these tortillas and your recipe for refried black beans and put the refried beans on one tortilla, cheese on the other, put them together and put them in a fry pan until the cheese melted and the beans were oh so warm and yummy. Thank.you.sooooooo.much. Thank you! :)

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  • Anonymous September 19, 2013 at 7:33 am

    I just made these and your recipe is perfectly tasty! Melt in your mouth flavor. Great job!

    Reply edit

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