This recipe hinges on weight, so you need a scale. Try to buy Sonoran or other soft wheat flour for these tortillas, but regular all-purpose makes a good tortilla, too.
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: tacos, tortillas
Author: Hank Shaw
Comal or flattop or heavy frying pan
225gramsSonoran, or all-purpose flour
25gramsRoasted or whole wheat flour(optional, see note below)
50gramslard, bacon fat, duck fat, vegetable shortening or butter
7/8cuphot water(see below)
Mix the two flours and the salt in a bowl. Add the lard and, using your fingers, work it into the flour until you have a texture similar to a coarse meal.
Meanwhile, heat some water on the stove to a simmer. When it's hot, measure out a scant cup of water, about 7/8 of a cup, and add most of it to the flours. Mix well with a fork at first because it will be too hot to work with your hands. You want to see everything incorporated into a very pliable dough that is just short of being sticky. Sometimes it takes only 3/4 of a cup, sometimes a bit more. Never more than 1 cup of water, though.
When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead it vigorously for 5 minutes. It should be a soft, pliable dough that is not sticky.
Now, using your thumb and forefinger, squeeze off a ball of dough about the size of a walnut. Typically this is about 40 to 45 grams. You will eventually get all your balls within a few grams of each other without effort, but it takes practice. Squeezing off the balls keeps the gluten structure intact and makes for a better tortilla. Give each ball a roll to make it a ball and set it in a plastic bag. Do this with all the flour, re-kneading if you must. Set the balls to rest in the bag for 2 hours.
Heat a comal or flattop to about 450F. Get your tortilla press out. If you don't already have them, you need two thin sheets of plastic to line it. I cut them from produce bags. You don't want thick plastic here. Take a dough ball out of the bag and re-roll it into a ball. Set it in the center of the press, then set the other sheet of plastic on it. Gently press it into a disc, then lever the top of the press down hard. Remove the plastic and set the flattened dough on your hand while you carefully remove the second piece of plastic.
Carefully lay the tortilla on the comal and let it sit there until you see lots of little bubbles, about 30 to 45 seconds. Flip the tortilla, using a spatula if needed. Let this cook another 30 to 45 seconds, then flip one more time. By now the tortilla should have ballooned up in places. Move each finished tortilla to a tortilla warmer lined with paper towels, or set them in a kitchen towel, covered to steam and stay warm.
NOTE: If you don't have or want to use the roasted or whole wheat flour, simply use more of the Sonoran or all-purpose flour.