making tortillas

December 2, 2007


Very long-winded post about tortilla making following the jump. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

I concluded today that I will attempt to make almost anything from scratch at least once, to see if it’s worth the while. Many an Allrecipes member has raved about homemade tortillas and how they’re soooo much better than storebought, I decided it was time to try making some of my own. I went in thinking about how tortillas only cost fifty cents or whatever, so these better be good….

First I started with a traditional flour tortilla recipe — no corn here at our house, as corn tortillas are universally loathed. Well, maybe that’s too strong a word…but our choice is most definitely flour whenever possible. I won’t turn down taquitos made with corn tortillas…but really, what’s not to love about taquitos of any kind?

Anyway. Flour recipe. Sucked big time. The dough didn’t get “smooth and elastic” like the recipe suggested it would, even though I followed it to the letter. They were hard to roll out, way too thick, bleah. Grr.

Now, I know myself — if failure isn’t immediately followed by success, I’m never trying again. So I ran out to the store last night and bought a tortilla press. Supposedly this would make shaping the tortillas somewhat easier. Hm.


Today, I pulled a whole wheat recipe that got stellar reviews, made notes on all of the reviews (modifications, etc) and headed for the kitchen. Made the dough in my KitchenAid because my hands had enough kneading the day before, thankyouverymuch. (Normally I refuse to use recipes that require hand-kneading…for the tortillas, due to all the raving and whatnot, I decided to flex. Never again.)

The dough came together nicely. Smooth and elastic. I left it to rest and headed off to preschool to pick up my kiddo. Now, they said to let it rest 1-8 hours…I returned to the dough after two hours, which I thought was a decent amount of time. I grabbed a little golf-ball of dough and put it in the press…threw it into the hot pan and cooked it up…and….meh.

The press wasn’t the easiest thing to use. My four year old desperately wanted to help and as time went on it became clearer that this was not a job for someone who weighs forty pounds. So I started pressing the dough. Still too thick. Hearing the “it’s amazing how the dough rolled out so papery thin!” comments in my mind, I thought, there must be a better way. I tried a number of things, including but not limited to putting the press on the kitchen floor and jumping up and down on top of it. (No, I am not kidding.) Still too thick. Grrr.

I walked away and decided that if I felt like it, I could always come back to them later. The dough could rest for eight hours, after all.

Two hours later (the four hour mark) , it all came together.

I rolled the little dough balls, flattened them in the tortilla press, then rolled them out further on my silpat with my marble rolling pin, which still works remarkably well and doesn’t even make me swear, despite having no handles due to being dropped on the kitchen floor by a child who clearly wasn’t listening when I said, “watch out, or that will fall on the floor and break your foot.” (No feet were broken, but we were all very alarmed at the very, very loud noise it made.)

Ahhh, succcess.


I’m still not sure if they were worth the effort, but they were quite tasty.



  1. I’ve yet to venture into homemade tortilla-territory myself…I’m using the excuse that I don’t have a press yet–and not saying that very loudly yet ’cause that Husband o’mine has a habit of knowing what I need in the kitchen and coming home with said need. Yeah, he’s that good 😉

    Want to share what recipe you used or are they all the same really?


  2. Oops! Here’s the recipe…I’ll link it in the post too.
    I chose this one because a lot of people said that they were successful using oil instead of shortening. Shortening totally squicks me out.

    IMO the press isn’t totally necessary — it just cut down the rolling time. There’s no way I could have done it with just the press. Didn’t get them thick enough.

  3. At the taco bar I used to go to in Santa Cruz – we’d watch them make tortillas – and they would line both sides with a sheet of plastic cut from a grocery store plastic bag. So – press, plastic, dough, plastic, press. This kept it from sticking to the press and they’d just flip it on to the grill from the plastic. Doesn’t sound like you had a problem with sticking – but may help in future attempts.

  4. I totally used plastic — it’s actually in the “directions” for the press. Didn’t help them get thin enough though. 😉

  5. I have been looking for a homemade tortilla recipe and came across your site by the way of Pioneer Woman…I’m glad I was just messing around on the computer this morning.

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