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How to Make Corn Tortillas

Handmade corn tortillas have a pebbly texture and a definitive, earthy corn flavor. They’re a wonderful addition to a Mexican-themed party, where their heavenly aroma is sure to draw guests into the kitchen to start the nibbling. In the Mexican home, fresh tortillas are bought daily, as the French buy baguettes.

The Quaker Oats brand of masa harina or the Aztec Milling Company’s deep yellow masa harina works well in this recipe.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Juanmonino]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Juanmonino

Special tool: Tortilla press

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Yield: Twelve to eighteen 6-inch tortillas

2 cups masa harina

Pinch of salt

1 to 1-1⁄2 cups lukewarm water

  1. Combine the masa harina and salt in a large mixing bowl and add the lukewarm water while stirring, until smooth.

    The dough should be slightly sticky and form a ball when pressed together. To test, flatten a small ball of dough between your palms or 2 sheets of plastic wrap. If the edges crack, add more water a little at a time until a test piece doesn’t crack.

  2. Divide the dough into 12 to 18 pieces, depending upon the size you prefer for your tortillas.

    Roll each piece into a ball and place the ball on a plate covered with a damp cloth towel.

  3. Heat a dry cast-iron or nonstick frying pan or a stovetop griddle over medium heat.

    Flatten each ball of dough between 2 sheets of heavy plastic wrap either in a tortilla press or on a counter by using your hands or with a rolling pin. Remove the plastic from the top and, holding the tortilla with your fingertips, peel off the bottom sheet of plastic.

    Lay the tortillas, one by one, on the griddle and cook for about 1 minute and 15 seconds per side, gently pressing the top of the second side with your fingertips to encourage the tortilla to puff. Use tongs or a spatula to turn.

  4. Cool the hot tortillas in a single layer on a towel.

    When they are still warm, but not hot, stack and wrap in the towel. Serve immediately or let cool, wrap well in plastic, and store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Corn tortillas can be frozen for 2 weeks.

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