The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

tortillas

  • Pin It
NicoleLEK's picture

Trends in the UK bread industry

July 7, 2011 - 6:26pm -- NicoleLEK
Forums: 

I am doing research on the U.K. bread industry, and I'm looking to better understand trends that are taking place. One trend I am studying is the use of flatbread. I'd like to talk to people who are familiar with this market to better research if this is a growing trend, and if so, why.

Can anyone help me better understand this?

janij's picture

Multi grain tortillas

September 28, 2009 - 5:55pm -- janij

I am wanting to figure out how to make a multi grain whole wheat tortilla.  I have a recipe I really like and use all the time that I can sub some whole wheat in.  I am wondering if anyone has any ideas about adding grains to the tortillas.  I was wondering about soaking craked grains.  But would they need to be ground finer after they are soaked?  And how much should I add to a 2 c of flour recipe?  Maybe a couple tablespoons.  I am going to just start experimenting, but I have surfed the web and not found any ideas.  So I didn't know if anyone had any ideas.

janij's picture

Flavored Tortillas/Wraps

May 13, 2009 - 6:06pm -- janij

I hate buying tortillas.  And I have found a recipe that I really like for flour tortillas.  I got it on here.  Someone posted it from I think Epicurious.  Anyway, I really like wrap sandwiches on the flavored wraps.  Has anyone made tortillas with flavoring?  I take it you would do the same thing you do to flavor pasta.  But how much herbs, or spinach, or tomato paste or whatever would you add?  Any ideas?

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

When I was growing up in South Texas we had this neighbor who would, on Saturday afternoons, make her tortillas for the week.  Believe me, I made friends with her children so I could make myself available for tortilla day.  I think she enjoyed my enthusiasm and always had a few extra tortillas for me to take home. 

They were sublime!  My family would fight over them, and no matter how many she sent home with me they were always gone before dinner.  My mom asked for the recipe, yet no matter how my mother pleaded, or bartered with her own secret recipes, she refused to give up her recipe.

Eventually we moved to North Texas and that ended my weekly tortilla gorge.  It seemed I was destined to eat rubbery store-bought substitutes for the rest of my life.  I survived on them until a few years ago when I was reminded, quite by accident at a local Tex-Mex place, of our neighbor and her delicious tortillas.   I watched as the woman behind the counter rolled and cooked beautiful tortillas and I thought, why couldn't I do that too?

I had quite a bit of culinary know-how, and I had the internet which would surely hold the key to delicious tortillas, right?

You would be surprised!

I tested a number of recipes for tortillas with all manner of ingredients.  Some had vegetable oil, others butter, and some had vegetable shortening.  They used a variety of flours from regular all-purpose to bread flour to even cake flour.  Some used milk, others water.  None of them turned out the way I wanted. 

I discovered pretty early that all-purpose was the flour to use.  It developed a moderate amount of gluten so the tortillas were chewy but not tough.  The liquid I had the most success with was milk.  Water works fine, but the cooked tortillas are not as soft as when you use milk.  As for fat, that was more tricky.  Butter burned too easily and the vegetable oil gave the tortillas an odd texture.  Vegetable shortening left the tortillas with an almost fishy smell, which happens when the shortening gets too hot.

I despaired that I would never find what I was looking for when, while looking at the shortening shelf at the grocery store, I remembered one thing from the Saturday's at my neighbors.  Manteca!!  That is lard to be specific.  So, with my tub of lard in hand, I went back to the kitchen and tried one of the more successful recipes with the lard and ... EUREKA!  I had it.

Now, this is the point where I am supposed to be sorry that I like lard, that I know it is supposed to be evil, and gross, and made from animals.  I'm not.  No, I am PROUD to say I cook with lard.  Using lard I can make tortillas that make people beg.   Some have offered me cash to make them a batch.  I'm not kidding.  Lard adds a depth of flavor with out any funky aftertaste.  It has a high smoke point so it does not scorch, and it lasts for a really long time in the pantry.  It is also versatile.   I use it combined with butter in my pie crusts.  But that is an entry for another day.   

Flour Tortillas   Makes 12

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup warm milk, or water

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the lard and mix until it is well combined and the mixture looks grainy.

Add the warm milk and mix until a smooth ball of dough forms, about 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll the pieces into balls. 

Cover and let rest 30 minutes.

Once rested, roll the balls of dough into 6″ to 7″ tortillas. 

Cook on a griddle, or in a heavy pan, over medium heat until golden brown and puffy.

Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel while the rest cook.

Enjoy!  Or, allow them to cool and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge.  They last for five days ... if you can keep from eating them hot off the griddle.

Posted on www.evilshenanigans.com - 2/18/2009

kjknits's picture
kjknits

My family has recently embarked on a "less-is more" natural style of living. We're trying to do more things ourselves instead of relying on commercial offerings. We're also trying to get rid of the plastic in our house, which is easier said than done! But baking things I usually buy ready-made at the store, I can do.

One of the things I have switched over to making at home is flour tortillas. We love tacos and quesadillas, and flour tortillas seemed easy enough to make. I remembered seeing women make them in San Antonio when I was there several years ago. All they did was roll out a ball of dough and plop it onto a cast iron skillet for a few seconds on each side. Simple!

I found my keeper recipe at epicurious, which is one of my fave food sites. I haven't tried the wheat version yet, but the white flour tortillas are amazing.

flour tortillas

I follow the recipe pretty much exactly, but I use my stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. And I divide the dough into 16 portions, then roll them out paper thin. This makes tortillas like the ones I'm used to buying at the store, about 8" in diameter and nice and flexible and thin. I would divide them into even smaller portions for tacos, though, because 8" is more like a burrito size. Then I just cook them one by one on a preheated cast iron skillet, no oil or anything necessary (my skillet is super-seasoned, thanks to our summer favorite, fried okra). I place the cooked tortillas in a big lidded Pyrex dish while they wait for the rest to get finished.

Next item on the commercial product hit-list: corn tortillas! Good thing we have a big Hispanic influence where we live...masa harina is on every grocery store shelf.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Well, if I had had my druthers, I would have been in San Diego for the meet.  After all, I was in Ensenada, which is pretty close.  Compared to Kansas City, that is.  But, no, I couldn’t get away from work for a fun Saturday with other TFL-ers.

 

Being in Mexico so much in the past few months has had an upside, though.  That would be tortillas.  Not the stiff, cold, nearly tasteless disks of flour or corn from your supermarket shelves or coolers.  Uh-uh.  No, we’re talking about steaming, burn-your-fingertips-hot, still puffy, straight-off-the-comal fresh tortillas here.  The real deal.

 

I’ve had freshly made tortillas before.  We lived in Houston for five years and there are a bunch of restaurants in that town where you can find fresh tortillas, although they are usually the flour variety.  I’ve even made my own, although I haven’t really mastered these deceptively simple little flat breads. 

 

What I’m finding here in the Baja is something almost magical.  Whether rolled up to eat as a bread, or torn off in chunks to pick up food, or wrapped around meat and other fillings, tortillas make a simple meal complete in very much the same way a crusty bread makes a bowl of soup a dining experience.

 

Growing up in northern Michigan really didn’t give me any useful insights into tortillas.  The only thing that I knew about tortillas was that they came in boxes (think Lawrys or Old El Paso), were hard, brittle, made of a coarse corn meal and used to make tacos. And that they disintegrated at the first bite.  And I wondered: why would anybody get excited about something that lets you take just one bite before it collapses into your lap?  Later on I learned about flour tortillas and things like burritos and enchiladas; then tortillas began to make a bit more sense.

 

But here, as I am sure is the case in other parts of Mexico, tortillas aren’t just an ingredient that you use in one dish of your meal.  Instead, they are an integral part of nearly every meal.  And that is a very good thing.  Especially the maiz (corn) tortillas.  They are just as soft and flexible as their flour brethren and come in a variety of sizes. The flour tortillas don’t hold a candle to the maiz tortillas when it comes to taste, though.

 

For instance, there is a tiny little eatery called Paola’s in the village of La Mision, about half a mile east of Highway 1D along the Baja coast.  There are maybe 4 or 5 tables, each seating a handful of diners.  You walk up to the counter and you can see the stove, which usually has 5 or 6 large kettles and pans on it.  There’s usually beef in one pot, pork in another, chicken in a third and, sometimes, a fourth with lamb, or goat, or tongue or whatever else Paola found at the market that morning.  There will also be a pan of beans, usually, though not always, refried; and another of rice.  You tell the ladies which meat you want (which is usually braised or stewed with chilies, onions and/or other vegetables) and they will ask “Maiz o harina?”  (Corn or flour?)  You reply with your choice of tortilla, then tell them what you want to drink and go sit at your table.  In a few minutes, your plate will arrive, along with a basket of tortillas that are simply too hot to pick up. 

 

Once the tortillas cool just enough that you can snatch one out of the basket without burning yourself, you have an important decision to make.  Should you skip the silverware and use the tortillas to scoop up your food?  Should you start stuffing the meat into your tortilla for an impromptu taco?  Or just alternate bites of the meat and tortilla so that you get to experience the melding of flavors?  In the end, it really doesn’t matter, so long as you savor the flavors that are completed and balanced by the inclusion of the tortillas. 

 

Another favorite dish in these parts is the fish taco.  Ensenada is home to a fishing fleet, so you can get fresh fish every day, ranging from sea bass to tuna to squid to lobsters to shrimp.  Fish tacos are usually made with white-fleshed fish, like locally caught flounder or halibut.  The flesh is cut into strips that are battered and deep fried.  A few pieces go into a soft tortilla, preferably a maiz tortilla.  They are then topped with shredded lettuce or cabbage.  If cabbage, it’s more like a slaw with a faintly sweet-tart creamy dressing.  Other than maybe squeezing a lime over it for some extra zing, all you have to do is roll the taco closed and enjoy every bite.  All of which would be impossible if not for the tortilla.

 

While sitting in a restaurant waiting for my check one evening, I saw a woman walk into a work area and haul out a very large stainless steel bowl.  She proceeded to scoop several pounds of flour into the bowl from a large bin, then added a largish blob of either shortening or lard, some salt and part of a pitcher of water.  She then began to mix it all together with her hands (I wonder if there is a Spanish equivalent for frissage?) until she had a large mass of dough, adding water to get the consistency just right.  After rubbing off the excess dough clinging to her hands, she set about rolling the dough into balls that were sized somewhere between a large egg and a tennis ball.  About that time, my server brought my check, so I didn’t get to see her finish the process.  I’m assuming that, since these were flour tortillas and she was making a large number of them, she probably used a press to flatten the balls into disks which were then put on a griddle to cook.  However, I was walking out the door before she got to that stage.  Still, it was interesting to see that the tortillas I had enjoyed with my meal were freshly made on site.

 

Tortillas are sometimes used to thicken soups, or as garnishes.  And, yes, they can even be bent and fried into a crispy shell for tacos or salads, although I haven’t seen that in this part of Mexico.  For my tastes, though, the tortilla is at its absolute best in its simplest and freshest form.  Then it can work its magic in any way the diner desires.

Subscribe to RSS - tortillas