People sell freshly rolled flour tortillas, spotted and burned from the grill, at outdoor markets in Cuernavaca, an hour outside of Mexico City. A neighbor brought us a bunch she bought on her way home from classes, a display of hospitality that is very common in Mexico, always thinking of someone else, always thinking of food. You use the tortillas for just about everything, or maybe that’s just myself, but they certainly don’t last very long in the kitchen.
Back home you won’t find tortillas like this in the supermarket. No way. And while the difference may be slight to apathetic taste buds, to me it makes all the difference. Some people may wonder why you would go through all the trouble of flour covered fingers and rolling tortillas by hand but there is something delicious and somewhat soothing of making them yourselves. Then again I enjoy going through the trouble, listening to music as I sprinkle flour and dust some salt on the balled up pieces of dough. It reminds me of the tortillas rolled by the experienced hands of women who have been doing this all their lives.
Flour Tortilla Recipe
3 cups of white flour
2 tsps of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
4 tablespoons of vegetable shortening
1 cup of warm water
First mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in the four tablespoons of vegetable shortening with a fork until it is well incorporated into the flour. Take the cup of warm water and slowly pour into mixture. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. Use your hands to create the dough. I find that just one cup of warm water is enough to get a nice consistency in the dough. Let the dough sit for a little while, but for the most part the dough is ready to be made into tortillas.
Separate the dough into equal sized balls, slightly larger than a tablespoon. Squish the balls with a flat surface or use a tortilla press if you have one. Without a tortilla press you will need to roll them out by hand moving the discs ever so slightly around to make circle shaped tortillas.
Heat up a pan with a flat surface and when it is nice and hot (not smoking) put on the tortilla and let it cook on both sides for a minute or so. You know they are done with the tortillas come out with small specs of brown.