Friday, June 27, 2014

Flour Tortillas

* 3 cups flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/3 cup vegetable oil
* 1 cup warm water

1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the dough hook attached mix dry ingredients until well combined. Add oil and water with mixer running at a medium speed. Mix for 1 minute, stopping several times to scrape the sides of the bowl. After about 1 minute, or when mixture comes together and begins to form a ball, decrease mixing speed to low. Continue to mix for 1 minute or until dough is smooth. 
2. Transfer from mixing bowl to a well-floured work surface. Divide dough in half, then in half again. Continue until you have 16 fairly equal portions. Form each piece into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand as much as possible. If dough is sticky, use a bit more flour. Cover flattened balls of dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes before proceeding. 
3. After rest period, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Roll each dough piece into a rough circle, about 6-7 inches in diameter, keep work surface and rolling pin extremely lightly floured. Don’t stack uncooked tortillas on top of each other or they will get soggy. 
4. When pan is very hot, place one dough circle into pan and allow to cook about 1 minute or until bottom surface has a few pale brown spots. The uncooked surface will begin to show a few little bubbles. If tortilla is browning too fast, reduced heat a bit. If it’s taking longer than a minute to see a few pale golden brown spots on underside of tortillas, increase heat a bit. Flip to other side and cook for about 30 seconds. You want the tortilla to be soft but have a few small pale golden brown spots on surface. Remove from pan with tongs and stack in a covered container or zippered bag till all tortillas are cooked. This will keep them soft and pliable. 
5. Wipe out the pan in between tortillas if flour is started to accumulate. 
6. Serve warm or allow to cool for later use. 

We certainly got better with these as we went along.  The first few we made we ensured the surface was well floured when we rolled them out - but then the excess flour burned in the hot pan.  (And don't get me started on how long it took to get my favorite stainless pan back to its typical beautiful condition!)  We found the dough to be easy to work with without too much flour, and we used a bench scraper to move it when it was time to cook it.  The pan that we ended up using with great results was my 10" Calphalon frying pan.  Also, when the tortilla began to create bubbles as it cooks on the first side, before the bubble gets a chance to get too big, lightly prick it with the tines of a fork.  This was a great trick we learned with the about 4 to go.  Definitely the last tortillas of the group turned out the best.  By the end we had figured out to roll them decently round, nice a thin, with very little to no excess flour.  They were fun to make, and tasted like tortillas!  They worked great for taco night!  If you have time on your hands and you are making tacos, give this a try.  If taco night made your weekly meal plan because life is hectic and full of competing schedules and you need a quick and easy dinner everyone loves, grab a package of tortillas from the store!

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