Homemade Corn Tortillas are the basis for so many of my dishes, so I think it is time that I post my top five tips for making fresh corn tortillas at home.
Top Tips for Corn Tortillas
Tip #5: Look for a good brand of masa – Modern day corn tortillas are made with a special corn flour that is combined with calcium hydroxide, otherwise known as lime. The lime works a bit like a leavener but more importantly it works as a catalyst to make the nutrition in the corn available to the human body. The process of combining corn with calcium hydroxide (known as “cal” in Spanish) is called nixtamalizacion. Before instant corn tortilla mix was manufactured by large companies, home cooks would have to follow the tedious nixtamalization process and washing of the corn. I can make nixtamal, but I am super glad that modern food science has given us convenient instant dehydrated masa harina.
Tip #4 Knead the masa slightly so that you have a good dough texture – The masa shouldn’t be too stiff or too moist. You can keep adding masa harina or water to get the consistency you need to make your corn tortillas. The consistency should be similar to a play dough – firm yet pliable.
Tip #3 Use a tortilla press for making thin tortillas – There are some people that can pat out corn tortillas by hand, but I definitely can’t! A tortilla press is a great tool for making corn tortillas. My favorite corn tortilla presses are made of heavy cast iron. Also, you will need to fashion a pair of plastic liners for your tortilla press.
Tip #2 Just remember that a tortilla has 3 sides – The first side is the “setting” side. If your griddle is the perfect temperature, your uncooked tortilla should take about 10 seconds to “set” and turn opaque. The second side is the cooking side and it should take about 1 minutes for your tortilla to cook. Flip the tortilla to the third side, which I call the “puffing” side. The cooking side seals the tortilla so that it captures the steam activated when flipped to the puffing side.
My #1 Secret Tip
Tip #1 Practice practice practice! – The good news is that the ingredients for making flour tortillas are very inexpensive and your mistakes are definitely compostable. Don’t kid yourself, this is challenging. But keep trying and eventually you will get the hang of it!Print
Homemade Corn Tortillas
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 18-20 tortillas 1x
2 cup instant corn tortilla mix/masaharina (250g)
1.5 cups warm water (360ml)
In a large bowl, mix together the instant corn tortilla mix and water. Stir until cohesive, and then knead with your hands until you have a smooth dough. Add a spoonful of water or instant corn tortilla mix to adjust the texture so that you have a firm but pliable dough.
Divide the masa into 18-20 portions. Press out using a tortilla press and cook on a hot stove top griddle.