The traditional from-scratch way to make tortillas is to buy field corn, soak it in slaked lime, wash it thoroughly, and then grind it by hand into fresh masa. In an effort to make this recipe accessible to everyone, I’ve called for masa harina. It will yield tortillas that are vastly superior to grocery store tortillas for relatively little work. Masa harina is a flour made from dried masa. You can sometimes buy fresh masa made the traditional way from Latin American grocery stores. If you find fresh masa, make sure you get it plain, not preparada, which is for tamales. Also, check if it was made from masa harina. If it was, don’t bother. You may as well make your own. The Maseca brand is widely available and produces consistently good tortillas. I wish I could find a good organic or local brand of masa harina. I’ve tried a few other types and keep coming back to Maseca for its dependability.
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: 12 Tortillas 1x
- Cuisine: Hispanic
- 1½ cups masa harina
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
In a medium bowl, mix together the masa harina and salt. Add 1 cup of warm water and begin mixing with your hands. The dough should be moist and smooth, like Play-Doh. It should stick together easily when pressed but not be too wet. Add more water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Form the dough into 12 equal balls, about 1 ounce each. Lay them on a plate and cover them with a damp towel.
Get your tortilla press ready. Heat a cast-iron skillet or comal over medium-high heat. Pick up one of the masa balls and press it between your palms to flatten it slightly. Place it in the tortilla press between the plastic.
Press the tortilla firmly, but not as far as the press will go. You will need to experiment with the proper thickness. Overly thick tortillas are harder to work with and can overpower a dish. Overly thin tortillas are difficult to peel off the plastic. The tortilla should be about 6 inches in diameter.