Thursday, July 15, 2010

Flour Tortillas: I'm a Gringo

After making all that yummy black bean salsa last week, I was pretty low on flour tortillas for the fam. Mr. Devlin was especially fond of cheese and black bean quesadillas and soon, Mother Hubbard's cupboard was bare.
No problem. I figured I would make up a batch of flour tortillas before the next wave of hunger struck. There's nothing more pathetic than Mr. Devlin's hungry face (think Donner Party). In our early days of dating, I had made up a few batches of tortillas with relative success....although, now I'm thinking it just seemed that way--you know, that stage of being in love when everything seems wonderful? I was also in the early stages of being in love with food too. I think my recollection of how fantastic my homemade creations were at that time have been colored by the hearts and flowers crap I was oozing at the time.

So allow me to share with you the right way to make these babies....and, uh, also the way I made them today.

The recipe I used is as follows:

4 cups AP flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs. shortening
1 1/2 cup water

Here's what I ended up with. Now, this is fixable. By adding ALOT more flour. So, what I would suggest is that you start with only 1 cup of water when you mix this up and then add flour as needed from that point on.

Blend the dry ingredients in a bowl, add in the shortening with your fingers for best distribution and then add in the water and mix with your hands. Add flour as needed so you have a soft but dense ball of dough.

More like this, actually. Now divide this dough into 24 equal pieces. Make sure that you have a lot of space to work with, unlike the counter top I thought would do (there was a Littlest Pest Shop set up on my table and I wasn't about to disturb).

Keep the work space covered in a lot of flour. I found the more flour I used, the easier it was to shape the tortillas. But, if you think you're gonna get perfectly round disks, just stop that now. Seriously. I about had a small OCD fit in the kitchen over this.

Which is why I looked like this by the time I got done. This is not the face of a happy camper.

Ok, so, the next thing I realized was it's better to roll out a bunch first and then turn on the large skillet to cook them. By not doing this at first, I learned why it's better to unplug the smoke alarm instead of trying to smother the shrieking SOB that will surely wake Thing 2.

With the tortillas rolled out, heat a large skillet on high until hot and then reduce the heat to medium. Don't add any oil or pan spray. Just drop a round on the hot surface and wait a minute or two. Then flip over. Each side should get golden with some darker spots.

Keep a plate or cooking rack nearby to stack the finished tortillas on as you cook. You will also find that as the flour shakes off in the pan, it will burn so after a few, remove what you can of this from your skillet with a wet paper towel and keep going. mmm, burnt flour.....

In the end, I learned a few things...

1) somebody else's tested recipe isn't the same as my tested recipe
2) the more flour I used, the easier to shape and handle the tortillas were
3) have a big workspace
4) perfectly round tortillas are over-rated
5) it would make more sense to make these about an hour before using them for a meal than during the kids' naps because they're pretty awesome fresh. If that's not possible, cool them completely, then wrap in some waxed paper and put in a large ziploc bags. I'm gonna try freezing some of these as well to see what happens.
6) You never know your limitations until you try something so don't not try a recipe just because you don't know how it will turn out. You might suprise yourself. 

"Donner, Party of One? This way please...."


ash said...

hmm...i think i'm gonna try you think they'd work with whole wheat flour? i usually make at least one meal a week with them, so it'd be interesting to make my own, at least once!

betty crocker said...

I would try a mix of whole wheat with AP instead of just ww. And please-report back so I know :)

Sara Lesher said...

I loved reading this post! Looking forward to trying this recipe to go with that tasty salsa of yours!

Anonymous said...

Now I can do this one, and you still look pretty darn cute for not being a happy camper.

betty crocker said...

I should tell you that we had them as quesadillas for dinner and they were freakin' yummy!
Sure, Kendra-even my second chin was smiling lol