What’s flat, round, has a long history with mankind, and whose name in Spanish means “cake”.
The tortilla of course.
The Humble Tortilla is Big Business
The humble tortilla is big business.
In 2021 the tortilla market was valued at $45.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to around $70B in 2026.
Why such growth you may ask? Because tortillas are versatile, easy, and inexpensive.
They’re a central ingredient in Tex Mex and Mexican cuisine – itself a burgeoning cuisine category. They’re used for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and fajitas just to name a few dishes.
Traditionally, Mexican cuisine makes tortillas from corn. Corn tortillas are one of the oldest forms of food from the Mesoamerican culture.
Flour tortillas were invented in the Mexican state of Sonora which is Mexico’s largest wheat producing area and has become one of the most popular breads in America.
When you’re in the mood for tortillas, tacos, or any one of those other dishes where the tortilla is central, don’t make a trip to the grocery store. Make homemade flour tortillas!
Why Bother with Homemade Flour Tortillas?
So why bother going to the effort to make homemade flour tortillas?
There’s a few reasons.
They are ridiculously easy to make. You can have fresh, warm, tender homemade flour tortillas in under an hour, and half of that is rest time for the dough. Use the dough rest time to prep ingredients for a taco bar.
Second, you probably have everything to make them in your own pantry – flour, butter, and salt.
No trip to the grocery store needed.
Third and most importantly, you’re going to be love, love, love how good they are. Get ready to have a homemade tortilla that rivals the filling in terms of flavor. Eat them hot and fresh right off the skillet with a bit of butter. Or wait, don’t do that, you may not have any left over for tacos.
Here’s my recipe for homemade tacos.
What To Do With Homemade Tortillas
If you do indeed have some leftover, use them as dessert. Check out my Apple Quesadilla recipe.
Now off to the kitchen and make some tortillas!
Nothing compares to a delicious, tender homemade tortilla. Once you discover how easy this is to make, you’ll never want a store-bought tortilla again!
- 1 1/2 cups al purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon very warm water (between lukewarm and hot)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt.
- Add the cold, cubed butter to the bowl.
- Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until you don’t feel any large chunks of butter.
- Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the very warm water.
- Using your fingers, gently incorporate the water into the flour mixture using a counterclockwise motion. As the dough begins to come together, gradually increase the pressure to incorporate all the flour to form a smooth, cohesive dough, similar to pie dough. Once all the dough has been incorporated, if the dough seems “ragged” or dry, place your hand under running water. Shake off the excess water and using only the moisture remaining on your hand continue working the dough. Repeat this process as needed to achieve a smooth dough ball. Should your dough end up too wet, add flour in very small amounts and work to incorporate the additional flour until the dough is smooth.
- Using a bench scraper or a knife, divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Cover dough balls with a clean towel and set aside to rest at least 30 minutes.
- When you’re ready to make tortillas, place dough ball on a lightly floured surface. Use your hands to flatten the ball into a disk.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the disk out to 6-inches in diameter (about the width of a spread-out adult hand.) Use additional flour on your surface and on your rolling pin as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet or Comal over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add tortillas one at a time. If your pan is hot enough, you will begin to see bubbles and steam pockets forming on the surface of the tortillas as the butter steams and causes the tortilla to rise. If you do not see bubbles, increase the heat. Once the tortilla has several bubbles and steam pockets, turn it over and cook the other side. When fully cooked, remove from the pan and keep warm while you repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Don’t overwork your dough. Once the large chunks of butter have been incorporated into the flour stop working the dough. Otherwise, the butter will melt and not provide the steam you need for the tortillas to “rise”.
Use a Comal, black iron skillet, griddle, or ceramic skillet to cook the tortillas. If you use a stainless-steel pan, coat the surface of the pan with olive oil prior to heating.