Homemade tortillas take about 45 minutes of hands-on time to make, but they are worth the effort to me. As with bread, fresher is so much better than anything in a package. I make tortillas on the same day that I plan to serve them. Or I occasionally freeze them as a loss prevention strategy. Because once you taste one, it is hard to stop devouring them.
The options for tortillas are boundless. This week I made myself a breakfast burrito with eggs, cilantro pesto, and salsa. When I lived in Asia, I often made tortillas into chips by cutting them into wedges and baking them. Quesadillas, enchiladas, soft tacos, and sandwich wraps are also popular in our house. Or the kids (and I) will just eat them plain, as a chewy snack. Yes, I confess we are definitely “carbo-vores.”
Recipe for Basic Flour Tortillas
- 3 cups flour (I used part whole wheat)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
- 3/4 cup water, plus a little more if needed
- Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add oil and stir with fork to form crumbs. If using cumin, stir in until evenly distributed. Add water and stir until dough forms (click on slide show below for detailed photos with captions).
- Knead dough for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Return dough to mixing bowl and cover. Let rest for at least 15 minutes. Several hours is better.
- Divide dough into balls (about the size of a ping pong ball). Sprinkle counter or flat work surface with a generous amount of flour. Flatten each ball before rolling into thin circular tortillas. Try to avoid stacking the raw tortillas, since they may stick together.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook each tortilla in a dry skillet until light brown spots appear. [Note: if you don’t watch them closely, they will burn. It doesn’t take long.]
- Stack cooked tortillas on a plate and cover to keep them warm and supple.
Final Note: Some day I would like to try making these gluten free by using masa corn flour. But this wheat version is so beloved by all that I haven’t dared experiment yet.