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Homemade tortillas: Easier than you think

April 9, 2016

TraditionalTacoTortilla

I first made tortillas out of More-with-Less Cookbook and was somewhat astounded to learn how easy they were. (Well, not as easy as sliding them out of a package, but significantly better. Homemade.)  They’re so easy to make you can stir them up anytime you run out of store-bought tortillas (and don’t want to run to the store), or when you are in the mood for a nice cheese or egg quesadilla.

I also recommended these as an easy recipe out of Whatever Happened to Dinner book and included it in the 10 Easy Recipe PDF I mentioned last week. Although I do admit rolling out a thin tortilla may be a bit stretching or daunting if you’re a 93 year old guy trying to cook much of anything for the first time in your life (as he indicated when he first wrote to me).

RolledOutTortilla

Rolling them out thinly is indeed the challenge, but they are forgiving. These were a little on the tough or too-much-flour side, because I ended up using a bit more wheat flour than I probably should of.

Carmen Wyse, one of the food editors for Whatever Happened to Dinner, tells how she first discovered how easy tortillas were to make, with the recipe she included in the book:

Tortillas

Carmen Wyse

On one camping trip, I tried making breakfast tacos out of store-bought tortillas. They were crumbly and weren’t working well. A camping companion said she always makes her own tortillas. I figured if she could, I could too, and I have been making them ever since. I usually make a double batch and keep the leftovers for snacks throughout the week. I can always count on a big hug from my twelve-year-old son when he sees me starting to make these.

3 cups / 750 ml flour (Carmen uses up to 1 cup whole wheat*)
1 teaspoon salt
½–1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup / 75 ml vegetable oil
1 cup / 250 ml warm water

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the vegetable oil, and mix with pastry cutter or forks until crumbly like cornmeal. Add 1 cup warm water. DoughKneed a bit to bring it together, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 30 minutes to several hours. Form into 12 balls.

TortillaBalls

I halved the recipe for this small batch.

Heat a cast-iron (or whatever you have) skillet to medium high. Roll each tortilla out as thin as you can, and plop it in the hot skillet.

FryingTortillaWhen it starts blistering, turn it over for about 30 seconds. Sometimes I [Carmen] hold the edges down some to keep the tortilla from puffing up. Put it in a tortilla warmer or under several kitchen towels.

TortillaOmelet

Tortilla with egg and cheese omelet and chive garnish.

*I added an asterisk here to explain that Carmen grinds her own wheat berries, which means she is able to use very fresh flour, which tends to result in lighter and fluffier tortillas (or whatever you’re making), I’m told. Not to mention healthier. That may account for why mine turned out a little pasty.

Below are the original ingredient quantities I used from More-with-Less Cookbook—which by the way, is coming out with a 40th Anniversary Edition later this year including yummy photos of some favorite or intriguing dishes! Can’t wait to see it in print. (And if you like the “More-with-Less 40th Anniversary Edition” Facebook page, you will be find fun testimonials for the next couple of months from dozens of cooks who have grown up with or used the book for years and years.)

Tortillas in More-with-Less

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup large or shortening
½ cup lukewarm water

(Mix and cook as in directions above.)

***

I love Carmen’s camping story. What’s the best or your favorite recipe received from a friend?

***

Do you grind your own flour? I know grinders are expensive (Carmen got one for a birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, all-in-one gift one year, I think). But so worth it, according to Carmen. There are alternatives to wheat grinders (coffee grinders work, some say). I’d love to hear your ideas.

***

Never owned a copy of MWL? This classic edition of More-with-Less by Doris Janzen Longacre will stay in print (I’m told) even after the 40th anniversary edition comes out later in 2016.

More-with-Less Cookbook

More-with-Less Cookbook

Whatever Happened to Dinner?

Whatever Happened to Dinner?
Or get the FREE PDF Sampler here of 10 Easy Recipes.
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From → Family Life, Food, Recipes

4 Comments
  1. You are one busy woman, and so it Carmen. I can’t imagine doing home-mades on a camping trip. Happy weekend, Melodie!

  2. Elaine permalink

    We have a Nutrimill Grain Mill which we use regularly. I grind wheat and spelt berries to make bread. We don’t use a lot of bread–I bake a loaf about every 7-10 days, slice it and put it in the freezer till I’m ready to use it. Then I take out a few slices as needed. I have never tried making tortillas, but they sure sound easy.

  3. If you do ground wheat berries, you could certainly do tortillas. They’re kind of fun actually. And that’s a great hint to go ahead and slice your bread and take out a few slices at a time. Thanks, Elaine!

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