Corn Tortilla

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Stef has been telling me all about how good the authentic corn tortilla taste in Mexico, hot from the pan and so I thought we should all be able to experience them, in the comfort of our own homes!

You’ll need to find Masa Harina flour which is flour that is made out of corn. DON’T use the type of cornflour that you get in the baking section at supermarkets that you’d use for thickening, or putting into shortbread – it’s completely different! Also, don’t use polenta as that’s also different. You can find Masa Harina on line or from some delis.

There is no gluten in corn which means that if you grind it up, it won’t stick together to become a dough. It has to go through a process in which lime is added to the cooked, soaked corn so that when it’s dried and ground, it will form a dough when water is added.

 

You will need:

2 cups of masa harina flour

2 tsp oil

1/2 tsp salt

 

In a large bowl add the flour, oil and salt.

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Add 1 1/2 cups of hot/warm water (you may need a little more or less) to the dough and squish it all through your fingers to mix. It’s best not to use a spoon as you get a feel for how the dough should be. As you squish it, you’ll find it’s not like normal dough – it seems a little ‘cleaner’, in that it doesn’t stick as readily to your fingers. Keep mixing until the dough is soft and feels exactly like play-doh (I think it smells similar too!). Put into a plastic bag and leave for 15 minutes so that the corn can absorb the water.

After 15 minutes, take the dough out of the bag and check that it still feels like play-doh. If it’s a little firmer add a splash more water and squish it through with your hands until it’s mixed in. Don’t be afraid to add more water, the secret with this dough is to keep it soft. You can always add a little more masa harina if you’ve gone too far with the water. It should look like this:

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Take a large, good quality zip lock bag and cut it open, so that you have to pieces of plastic. Take a small golf ball sized piece of dough and roll it into a ball and put on top of one piece of the plastic. Cover with the other piece of plastic and squash down.

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Roll out the dough through the plastic. If you try and roll the dough without a plastic covering it will just stick to the rolling pin. You can’t dust with flour to stop it sticking because it makes the dough too dry. You can use a tortilla press to make the process quicker, but I think you can roll the tortilla more thinly this way, which gives more of a chance of your tortilla puffing up during cooking. Heat a frying pan (non stick if possible) up over medium heat while you’re rolling out your dough. Don’t add oil to the pan.

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Peel the rolled tortilla off the sheet of plastic (it may tear if you’ve rolled it too thinly, in which case you need to squash the dough together and start again) onto your hands and put it onto the hot dry frying pan.

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The tortilla should start to cook at the edges straight away, you’ll see the tortilla start to whiten. If you’re lucky, you’ll then see that it starts to puff up. This is ideal (though certainly not essential) as it cooks the dough thoroughly in the middle. You can encourage this puffing up by pressing firmly with a fish slice all over the tortilla. Keep looking under the tortilla until you see brown speckles forming and then turn it over.

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Keep pressing down on the tortilla with the fish slice so that the other side cooks evenly and to encourage puffing. When you have brown speckles form on the side nearest the pan, you can take it out. Put in foil to keep them warm and serve straight away.

If you have any left, you can brush them with oil, sprinkle with cheese and bake them in the oven to make home style Doritos!

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