The Tortilla Ratio

Flour, Lard, Water, Salt.
Flour, Lard, Water, Salt.

When you live in a place where a flour tortilla isn’t sold as a ‘flour tortilla’ but as a fajita or burrito wrapper, or as a taco shell, there is no course of action to take but to make them at home.

My normal tortilla recipe is too large to efficiently solve a desperately in need of a good tortilla crisis, but the beauty of the recipe written in metric units is the ease with which it may be scaled up or down.

This size batch yields eight tortillas, approximately 5″ in size; perfect for dinner for two. Due to the small size of the batch, it is more efficient to simply knead the dough by hand, though a handheld mixer fitted with a dough hook would prove handy.

I have chosen to omit baking powder from this recipe after testing both with and without it, and finding it unnecessary for the type of tortilla I personally prefer, which is as thin as my meager rolling skills will allow me to make. Baking powder is helpful in creating a more airy thick tortilla, at a proportion of 1/4 teaspoon per 100 g of flour.

The recipe should take approximately 40-45 minutes, from start to finish, depending on the level of confidence with a rolling pin, and the urgency of the tortilla emergency.

Flour Tortillas (a ratio)

  • Servings: 8 ea.
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

100 g all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, heaping
25 g lard
48 g warm water

Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Mix briefly to combine. Add the lard in small pieces, and with your fingers work into the flour until evenly incorporated.

Slowly add the water, mixing constantly while doing so. The dough should feel just slightly tacky to the touch, but not enough to stick. Adjust with more water or flour, using very small amounts of each, if necessary.

Knead the dough vigorously until it feels to be very elastic when stretched and can easily be shaped into a smooth ball. Placed in a greased bowl, cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel, and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.

The dough can be made ahead of time, and kept well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to three days. Allow enough time for it to come to room temperature before working with it, to ease rolling.

Wit greased hands, divide the dough into eight equal portions, shaping into smooth balls. Working on a floured surface, press each portion slightly into a flat disk with your hand, and roll carefully into as thin and round a disk as possible.

Heat dry skillet, testing the temperature by dropping a few sprinkles of water on the surface. If the water bubbles on the surface, it is not hot enough. If it evaporates instantly, too hot. If it forms small spheres and dances across the surface of the skillet, it is just right. Lay each tortilla flat on the skillet, flipping when the edges begin to curl up, and as air bubbles appear throughout the surface, slightly over a minute. Flip the tortilla, and cook for an additional 45 seconds or so.

Keep finished tortillas wrapped in a clean kitchen towel.

An old pro tip, but one which merits repeating: place a damp towel under a bowl in a ring shape while mixing to prevent movement.

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