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by chef Billy Parisi

This foolproof Homemade corn tortilla recipe comes out perfectly puffed up and full of flavor and it’s only 3 ingredients. You will never buy pre-made store bought tortillas again after making these.

We absolutely love using this recipe to make homemade tacos like Chicken Tinga or Mahi Mahi, and you should definitely use it in your favorite taco recipe as well.

Corn Tortillas

Contrary to what you may think it’s corn tortillas, not flour tortillas, that are most commonly used throughout Latin cuisine. In fact, they are known as Mexico’s everyday bread. With its warmer climate, corn is a staple throughout these countries and is readily available all year round. It is essentially as important as our wheat is here in the United States.

Corn tortillas are made from finely ground corn kernels, also known as masa, and are then mixed with water and salt. It is no more difficult than that. They can be eaten plain or wrapped around various fillings.

Ingredients

  • Masa Harina – Any good finely ground masa harina we’ll do.
  • Water – I like to use warm water roughly around 100°.
  • Salt – Any salt will work for this.

What’s the Difference Between Masa Harina and Maseca

is the “brand name” for corn flour which is finely ground dried corn that is made into a meal known as masa. Masa Harina is dried hominy, which is corn kernels treaded in a lime alkaline solution, that are then dried and finely ground. You can use both to make corn tortillas, but I find Maseca to be easier to work with.

How to Make Sure They Puff Up

I’ve identified four crucial procedures to ensuring the corn tortillas puff up.

  • Moisture – The dough should be moist but not stick to your hands.
  • Kneading – Take the time to knead this, at least 7 to 8 minutes. When you press the dough there should not be any cracks around the outside edges.
  • Cooking Temperature – My perfect temperature for these is just a hair over medium. You may need to test out a corn tortilla to get it right.
  • Cooking Time – I do 45 seconds on the first side, 1:30 on the other side, and then flip to a final 45 seconds.

If the corn tortillas do not puff up then they are not prepared correctly and it could be any of these procedures.

Do I need a Tortilla Press to Make Them?

You do not need a certified tortilla press to make these. As long as you have a plastic zip bag, you can flatten out each tortilla using the bottom side of a frying pan or a cake pan. You simply will use your weight to press down to flatten them.

How to Make Corn Tortillas

Servings: 20

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups masa harina
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 2/3 cups warm water

Procedure

  1. Mix together the masa harina and salt in a large bowl until combined.
  2. Next slowly pour in the water in increments and knead in the bowl or on a clean surface for at least 7 to 8 minutes. See Notes.
  3. Form the dough into 15 to 20 golf ball-sized balls and cover with a damp towel.
  4. Using a corn tortilla press place down parchment round and place a dough ball on top towards the backside of it, cover with another parchment round, and press down firmly until flattened.
  5. Cook them 1 at a time in a large griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat for 45 seconds, then flip and cook for 1:30, and then flip and cook for a final 45 seconds. The edges should be browned and it should puff up. See Notes.Keep warm stacked up in towels or in a tortilla warmer.

NOTES

Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 day ahead of time, simply store in the refrigerator and reheat it. They are best cooked, kept warm, and served immediately.

How to Reheat: Wrap the desired amount of tortillas in aluminum foil and cook in the oven at 350° for 5-7 minutes or until warm. Likewise, you can heat them 1 at a time on a microwave-safe plate until hot.

How to Store: Place wrapped in plastic or in a container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. These will freeze very well wrapped in plastic or in a container for up to 3 months. Place in the refrigerator to thaw until soft, about 4 to 6 hours.

If you do not have parchment paper, use 1 plastic zip bag simply cut around the outside of the bag following the creases to make 2 plastic square pieces.

The four biggest components of successful tortillas are:

  • Moisture – The dough should be moist but not stick to your hands.
  • Kneading – Take the time to knead this, at least 7 to 8 minutes. When you press the dough there should not be any cracks around the outside edges.
  • Cooking Temperature – My perfect temperature for these is just a hair over medium. You may need to test out a corn tortilla to get it right.
  • Cooking Time – I do 45 seconds on the first side, 1:30 on the other side, and then flip to a final 45 seconds.

Originally published in billyparisi.com

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