Hola amigos! A few days ago I released a recipe video for my homemade flour tortillas. I was going to write a brand new blog post to go with the video, but when I read through the words I shared in an old Spicie Foodie post from 2011, I simply couldn’t write a new blog entry. The feelings of the old post still remain inside of me. Flour tortillas are still a special treat that stays close to my heart.
Everything I said then, remains the same today. There are only two differences from what I wrote below: my father and my grandmother both passed away in 2016. And just as I did when I lived on the other side of the World, I still feel my father and grandmother close to me when I make flour tortillas. It’s just a bit different now. More special for me.
I hope you enjoy the video, recipe, and my story below. I hope that you treat yourself to a batch of soft, warm, homemade flour tortillas very soon.
(If you don’t see the video right below this text, view it on our YouTube channel by clicking here.)
Original article written in November of 2011
The dictionary defines nostalgia as “A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” What a beautiful word, it alone evokes so many beautiful and wonderful memories from my life. Even though I haven’t always been so interested or passionate about food and what goes into preparing a meal for your loved ones, I have so many memories around food. Mexican celebrations always involve food, lots of food. Every occasion grand or as small as having a friend stop by for coffee requires food to share.
I’ve been very lucky to have had the opportunity to live in 4 different countries and visit countless. All of those countries have smells that immediately transport me back. CR, sizzling deliciously greasy sausages cooking at the many food stalls down a main square. France, warm buttery croissants for breakfast every morning. USA, My father’s fresh baked Mexican breads, my mother’s posole, and all of the amazing food my sisters cooked for me (both Mexican and American food). Mexico, the enticing smells coming from the kitchen every Monday when all of the aunts, uncles and cousins gathered at abuelita Toña’s (grandmother Antonia) house for our weekly get-together. My grandmother’s warming tea, from the leaves of her lime tree, that she made for us on those chilly rainy days. This doesn’t even touch on the foods from our travels, I could go on and on but I won’t.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of my abuelita spoiling, in her own way, her son-in-law, that would be my Papi (father). She would hear that he was coming to visit her and went into her kitchen to prepare a special treat for my Papi. She would make him homemade flour tortillas. I never saw her do this for anyone else and often wonder if even though she is now in her 80s still makes tortillas when my father is vacationing in Mexico. Her tortillas were so soft, warm and unlike any other I have ever tasted.
You may be wondering what the big deal is about flour tortillas, they are not commonly found in my hometown. Flour tortillas are not as common as corn tortillas on every Mexican table. They seem to be consumed the most in the northern states of Mexico and in Tex-Mex cuisine.
My mother also makes amazing flour tortillas, and it was a special treat we had every once in a while or when we ran out of corn tortillas. I would watch my mom prepare the dough, divide it into small balls and roll them out so fast that she could almost keep up with us scarfing them down. I was too busy eating and being a rebellious teenager to see the exact ingredients and appreciate the work that goes into making flour tortillas. But at least I could acknowledge that my mother’s tortillas were the best tortillas ever made by anyone in the US, period!
The first time I tasted commercial flour tortillas I was so disturbed that they could even be called and sold as flour tortillas, disgusting. To me they tasted and smelled like plastic, perhaps due to the preservatives. If those “tortilla” try coming in my house it usually involves me putting up a fight. Don’t get me wrong I am not passing judgement on people who buy those tortillas. I was just spolied by my grandmother and mother with incomparable tasting tortillas. I won’t lie to you though, there have been times when I’ve just been too busy or ill to make flour tortillas. So the plastic dough disks have entered my kitchen on a few occasions. But we’ll conveniently forget about those times, okay.
It has been about 6 years since I started making my own homemade flour tortillas. My husband would agree that they are the best he’s ever had. OK, ok so my gringo husband had only tasted commercial before trying homemade, but still he would tell me if they sucked. Since my mom is so far away and I couldn’t just stop by for some lessons, I had to work hard and practice hard until my tortillas turned out perfect. Now that I’m not the smart-ass rebellious teenager I could go into the kitchen with my mom and listen to her, if only she wasn’t on the other side of the world. One day for sure, and perhaps I’ll even make her proud that I finally learned to cook, hehe.
Though it has been 6 years, making homemade tortillas has never become boring or repetitive to me. It is because every time I reach for the flour, water, salt and oil, I think of my Papi. I think about how my grandmother knew my father is a great man, one most deserving of the best homemade flour tortillas in the world. The first bite immediately transports me to my mother’s house and the smell of the tortillas on the comal, nostalgic indeed.
- 2 cups all purpose wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¾ cup lukewarm water, maybe less or more*
- extra flour for dusting
- rolling pin, a comal or griddle or large pan, clean kitchen towel for covering the cooked tortillas and a bag or container with a lid to store the tortillas.
- In a mixing bowl mix the flour and salt until well combined, make a well in the center and add in all of the oil and half of the water. Mix until well the ingredients are coming together and little by little adding more water until your dough comes together, and isn't sticky. Please notice that depending on the conditions of your home you may need to add more or less water to get the dough to come together. Drizzle just a little bit of oil into the bottom of your mixing bow, then place the dough back in the bowl, cover and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
- After 10 to 15 minutes check on the dough. It should be soft, moist, stretchy and easy work with. If it isn't then cover and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Divide the dough into small even-sized balls around the size of golf balls. Shape them into proper balls then place the little balls back into the bowl and cover. Place your comal/griddle/pan on the stove over a medium high heat. While you wait for it to warm up you can begin rolling out the tortillas.
- Dust your work surface with a little bit of dust, and also rub the rolling pin with some flour too. Place one dough ball onto the work surface, use your palm to flatten down. Then begin rolling and stretching out the dough into a circular shape and to ⅛th of an inch thick. Don't stress it if your tortillas aren't perfect circles -- it's the taste not the shape that matters most. Carefully place your rolled out tortilla on the comal/griddle/pan and allow to cook for about 2 minutes or until you see the dough change colour and air bubbles begin to form. (Please watch the video for a visual guide). Carefully flip over the tortilla and cook for about a minute or less -- you'll see more air bubbles for and it cooks rather quickly so keep an eye on it so that you can take it off the heat. The tortillas should be soft and a little golden spots, but not be hard or crispy -- they need to bend and roll with ease. Once cooked cover the tortilla in your clean kitchen cloth to keep warm.
- Next roll out another dough ball into a tortilla repeating step number 3. Once you get the hang of it you'll be able to time the cooking perfectly so that you can be rolling and cooking the tortillas at the same time without having to stop. Serve your tortillas warm as desired and store any leftovers in the fridge inside a plastic bag or a sealed container.
** This recipe makes 10 to 12 flour tortillas perfect for tacos. If you'd like you can make larger tortillas or alternatively you can also double or triple the ingredients for larger batches.
*** Watch the video for a visual guide https://youtu.be/Ynn8UwlqTko
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♫Music By♫ Nicolai Heidlas from HookSounds.com
Royalty Free Music from HookSounds http://www.hooksounds.com