Homemade Flour Tortillas


Fumaric acid, diglycerides, calcium propionate, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate.

These are some of the ingredients (among many) found in store-bought tortillas.

In stark contrast, homemade flour tortillas contain five simple ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil or shortening, and water.

As I attempt to live by my personal Food Manifesto, I am discovering the necessity and joy of making more of our family’s food myself. I’ve made strawberry jam, peanut butter, yogurt, granola bars, lemon curd, cheese crackers, butter, and now, tortillas. There is something extremely satisfying about making your own fresh food, knowing exactly what is in it, and how it’s made. Slowly, our family’s dependence on store-bought foods is being whittled down to fresh produce, raw ingredients and whole foods.

Flour Tortillas

From Family Meals by Maria Helm Sinskey
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2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup lukewarm water

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the shortening and, using a fork or a pastry blender, work the fat into the flour until the mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs. Gradually add the water (it should be just warm to the touch), mixing it in with a fork until the dough is soft but not sticky. If the dough is too firm, work in 1-2 more tablespoons water. Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth. Divide the dough into 14 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes or up to 2 hours. One at a time, dust the balls with flour, flatten in the center with a rolling pin, and roll out onto a floured surface into a thin 6-inch round, rolling from the center outward and lifting a turning the round to prevent sticking. Heat a heavy-bottomed 10-inch pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Lightly oil the pan with shortening and wipe off the excess. (You need to oil the pan for the first tortilla only.) Lay a tortilla across an upturned hand, and then invert your hand, flopping the tortilla flat into the hot pan. Cook for about 30 seconds and then flip the tortilla over. Cook on the other side until the tortilla is slightly puffed and flecked with brown spots, about 15 seconds more. Wrap in a clean kitchen towel and repeat with the remaining tortillas, stacking them as they are ready. Serve warm. Store leftover tortillas in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days. Makes 14 tortillas.

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