My college roommate, Joni, used to bring big stacks of homemade tortillas to our dorm after visiting her parents. We loved to sit around pulling off strips, nibbling away until they were all gone.
If you like the relatively flat tortillas reminiscent of those made in Mexico (see picture to the left), leave out the baking powder. If you prefer the light fluffiness of the Tex-Mex variety, be sure to include it. The choice is yours.
Better yet, be adventuresome and try both.
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
|8 3/4 ounces (1 3/4 cups)
1 teaspoon double acting baking powder, sifted
|In a 3-quart bowl, weigh the flour. Whisk together; make a well.||Weighing flour yields consistent results. Sifting baking powder eliminates distasteful clumps.|
|3/4 cup warm (105-110°F) whole milk
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
|Whisk together in a 1-pint tempered glass measuring cup. Warm on high power to 105-110°F; pour into well. Whisk inside well to slowly draw flour from around the edges. As liquid thickens, switch to a large mixing spoon, using a kneading motion (scoop flour from sides of bowl to plunge into the center, rotate bowl a quarter turn; repeat) to incorporate most remaining flour.||Dissolving salt decreases spot discoloration during cooking. Drawing in flour makes mixing easy.|
|2 tablespoons all-purpose flour||Evenly dust the workspace. Turn dough out over top and knead (plunge palm heel into dough, stretch, fold, rotate a quarter turn; repeat) 2-3 minutes. Place smooth side up; invert bowl over top and rest 20-30 minutes.
Pat dough into a 6-inch round. With a chef’s knife or bench scraper, cut 8 equal “pizza” wedges (cut round in half, each half into 2 wedges, each wedge into 2).
|Resting lets flour absorb liquids with less kneading.|
|Form 8 balls of dough by tucking the points under and rolling against the workspace with a cupped palm. Place smooth sides up, invert bowl over top and rest 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat an empty 10-inch seasoned cast iron griddle over medium-low heat until water droplets dance across the surface when flicked from your fingertips (5-7 minutes). No butter or oil is required.
|Uncovered dough dries out very quickly. Resting relaxes dough, making it easier to roll. Preheating the griddle discourages sticking and creates a crisp tortilla exterior.|
|8 teaspoons all-purpose flour, divided||Use a teaspoon of flour at a time to keep dough, workspace and rolling pin dusted. For each ball of dough, pat into a disc, flip to dust second side; roll into a 8-inch round. When rolling, start in the center of the disc and roll to the far edge while the other hand lightly stretches the dough towards you; rotate the dough a quarter turn; repeat until reaching the 8-inch round. If dough happens to stick, just use a silicone spatula or bench scraper to release it easily from the workspace.||Working from the center prevents creases.|
|Cook first side until bubbles form on top and golden areas appear on bottom (about 1 minute). Flip; cook the other side until golden areas appear on the bottom. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cover with an inverted oversized bowl.
To freeze, encase in bags marked with date/contents. Defrost in the bags (to minimize dehydration) at room temperature. Do not refrigerate; it stales bread.
|A rack prevents condensation. Covering reduces dehydration.|
FOR 4-INCH TORTILLAS: Makes 32. Divide each of the 8 “pizza” wedges into 4 smaller wedges. After rolling each to 4 inches, cook 3 at a time.
FOR QUICK PERSONAL PIZZAS: Makes 16. Divide each of the 8 equal “pizza” wedges into 2 smaller wedges. After rolling each to 5 inches, space across 3 half sheet pans lined with parchment paper, or each evenly coated with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon pesto or marinara, 1/4 cup shredded/crumbled cheese (mozzarella, Monterey Jack, cheddar, goat cheese or feta), 1/4 teaspoon Italian herb mix (basil, parsley, oregano) or fresh herb leaves, 1/2 cup finely chopped/sliced/diced toppings (precooked meats, pepperoni, bell pepper, onion, garlic, mushrooms and/or cherry tomatoes), 1/8 teaspoon each roughly ground black pepper and kosher salt, and finally 2 teaspoons drizzled olive oil (to promote toppings roasting versus burning). Bake 1-2 pans at a time until crust edges are golden (18-20 minutes).