Sunday, November 8, 2009

Flour Tortillas, recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
(optional, 1/2 cup of one of the following: oat flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, soy flour)
1.5 teaspoons salt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder, aluminum-free
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1.5 cups just boiled water, this varies daily!

1. In a glass bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder.
2. Add oil, stir. Using your fingers, mush oil into flour to distribute evenly, leaving no large pockets of "un-mushed" oil.
3. Add a 1/2 cup of hot water, stir. Add the second 1/2 cup of hot water, stir to distribute as evenly as possible.
4. The final 1/2 cup of hot water is what my grandmother would call "al tanteo", which translates loosely as "to the guess" -- meaning you have to guess the right amount, and the right amount changes each time you make the tortillas. So go slowly, adding a bit at a time, until all the flour has been incorporated into the ball of dough, but it is not sticky. Knead a few times on the kitchen counter. It is not like pie dough that must be handled minimally, but it is also not like bread dough that should be kneaded to develop the gluten. Knead just a few times to create a smooth, elastic consistency.
5. Divide into sections, called "testales" (I usually get about 13 to 15 testales). Allow to rest for 15 to 30 minutes, covered with a towel to prevent drying out.
6. Flatten using a rolling pin.
7. Bake on a "comal" (a heavy cast iron griddle) on medium-high heat. See Notes on Baking & Storage, below.
8. Keep warm in a foil-lined dish cloth until time to eat.

Notes on baking:
  • The proper baking temperature is similar to that for pancakes. There should be a slight sizzle sound as the tortilla hits the comal.
  • Also similar to pancakes, when bubbles form, it's time to flip.
  • Use metal spatula to flatten bubble that get out of hand! If your tortilla has puffed up to the size of a blow fish, squash it!
Notes on storage:
  • Arrange unused testales on a plate, cover, use within a week.

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