Monday, April 1, 2013

Flour Tortillas Recipe

Whoops, hit the wrong button and posted two blogs on one day instead of Monday and Wednesday so beware. It won't be until the end of the week before I post again.
I made Pollo Con Creme and of course Flour Tortillas. I am in love. I predict that I will rarely ever buy tortillas again. Why would I? These are soft, flexible, and not nearly as chewy as the ones from the store and easy to make taboot.
 What is hidden in store products that makes them so different than if you were to make it your own? You can use the same ingredients as that on a store product's label and yet the products turns out very different. But the clincher is, are you really using all the ingredients as the manufacturer? We are not getting the whole story. 
This might be a clue. For instance the dairy industry is working on eliminating the need to put aspartame on the label of their yogurts and flavored milks. My question being what else isn't on the label now? 

Got diet milk? The dairy industry for the past three years has been hoping to sell you some under the guise of just plain "milk," so that chocolate and strawberry varieties that contain artificial sweeteners would no longer need to carry a special label.
Our daughter gets a migraine instantly with just a drop of this artificial sweetener often labeled as Equal. She is very concerned that this will be approved.
But before I get on a whole tirade I'd better stop myself because I get really worked up. Let me suffice it to say that I'm trying hard to eliminate the need to buy as many store food products as possible.
Just so you know, I used some potato flour in my Easter bread rolls, yum, yum. Okay, that was a squirrel moment.
Anyway, with this second batch, I used lard. They turned out even better than the first batch done with canola oil. Not surprising because leaf lard is the best for pie crusts.
I've read lots of tortilla recipes of Hispanic base that had lard instead of shortening or oil so I thought why not? Though I haven't seen a hint of anyone using ghee in tortillas I'm tempted to try.  That would add a lovely buttery taste and wouldn't that be good mixed with powdered vegetables in the tortilla shell for a turkey or chicken sandwich wrap?
As for lard, I'm saving store cottage cheese containers to put particularly leaf lard in from our pig we will hopefully butcher this coming weekend. I am determined that I will cook more with lard this year. Any is more than I did last year so I'm not talking a lot, just more.
 A lot of butter or lard may not be a good thing but in moderation it is a whole lot better than shortening or margarine any day. Though I make some butter from our goats, I still buy the bulk of it and so I need to work more on transitioning from my dependence to using my own lard, butter, and ghee.
I promised to tell you the skinny. Here it is.
Easy Flour Tortillas
From the Cook's magazine
2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
cut into 6 pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, heated to 110 degrees
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
This is the base. I of course never once used shortening. But the thing that was crucial that Cook's disclosed was the methodology and reasoning behind it. It is why I love the magazine.
You mix in a bowl the flour, salt and fat of your choice. Then with clean fingers work the fat into the flour until it becomes fully incorporated. It will be a moist flour, freshly ground cornmeal in texture.
Stir in the water until combined. The hot water causes the fat to liquefy and coat the flour and does not allow the liquid to absorb as well. This keeps the gluten from forming and creates the tenderness.
Cook's recommends leaving the dough in the refrigerator for a short period of thirty minutes after rolling into individual balls but I just left my dough on the counter and rolled out after the resting time.  
You may need a little flour on your counter when rolling out. I love my granite counter tops for you can often get away with kneading bread or rolling out things without flour and so they are more moist.
I couldn't believe how easy it was to get the shells see through thin. As for cooking them. I used my cast iron skillet. Cook's said the tortilla puffs up and this causes flaky layering but mine when it did this burst and I didn't like the results. I turned down the pan a little and cooked at a slightly lower heat. Each to their own.

 Now on to corn tortillas. Cook's has a recipe for them too. I just happened to have a corn tortilla press I picked up at a second hand store a few years ago and have yet to use.

This is electric and is meant to press and cook but my cousin doesn't like the way it cooks. I don't know if she used hot water to make her shells or not and so that may have something to do with why this press works for her. I have not eaten her shells and so I can't compare hers to mine. We will have to do that one of these days.
This is photo of the inside. She understood that this press is not for corn tortillas. I'm just glad I don't need another cooking appliance. But who knows it might work great for you.

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