My love for flour tortillas goes way back. I have great memories of watching my grandmother and great-grandmother make huge batches of tortillas and cook them on an old wood-burning stove. Something about that stove seemed to add the perfect flavor to the tortilla and brown it in all of the right places. I’d anxiously wait while they patiently worked in batches to hand-pat each of the tortillas – there was no need for a press or rolling pin, they had years of experience. Trying not to be obvious, I’d mosey in and out of the kitchen carefully monitoring their work and waiting for any sign that I could dig in. Inevitably, they would surprise me with a warm tortilla smothered in butter. While I no longer put butter on my tortillas, they continue to be one of my favorite comfort foods.
I’ve tried many recipes over the years, but this version comes closest to the flavor and consistency of the tortillas I remember from my childhood.
Makes 12 tortillas
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
- 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, lard or 2 1/2 tablespoons of each (for the most authentic version)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup very warm tap water
Combine the flour and shortening in a large mixing bowl and work the shortening into the flour with your fingers until completely incorporated. If this isn’t done thoroughly (until no particles of shortening remain visible), the tortillas will have an irregular texture. Dissolve the salt in the water and pour about 2/3 cup over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork; the dough will be in large clumps. If all the dry ingredients haven’t been dampened, add the rest of the liquid (plus a little more, if necessary). Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead until smooth. It should be a medium-stiff consistency – not firm, but not quite as soft as most bread dough either.
Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes – this makes the dough easier to roll.
Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
Flatten a ball of dough, flour it, then roll forward and back across it; rotate a sixth of a turn and roll forward and back again; continue rotating and rolling until you reach a 7-inch circle, lightly flouring the tortilla and work surface from time to time.
Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle (you should hear a faint sizzle and see an almost immediate bubbling across the surface). After 30 to 45 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip it over. Bake 30 to 45 seconds more, until the other side is browned; don’t overbake the tortilla or it will become crisp. Remove and wrap in a cloth napkin placed in a tortilla warmer. Roll and griddle-bake the remaining tortillas in the same manner – stack them one on top of the other in the warmer.
original recipe found here