My Take On Wheat Flour Tortillas
I have owned the book, Flatbreads and Flavors for some time now..I have been meaning to start making my own flatbreads at home, but for various reasons have put off doing so..
Last week I took the plunge and started with wheat flour tortillas..Because I am seldom happy with a recipe straight out of a cookbook, I naturally modified it to suit my mood and the ingredients I had on hand..
Bruce's Wheat Flour Tortillas ---- Yield = 12, approximately 10" diameter tortillas
100g King Arthur white whole wheat flour
50g Lindley Mills organic whole rye flour
395g Gold Medal bread flour
5g table salt
75g I Can't Believe It's Not Butter stick margarine
25g Crisco vegetable shortening
250g water, 80F (approximately)
The flours and salt were added to a 7-cup food processor and pulsed several times to evenly combine the ingredients..The fats were added and pulsed for 20-30 seconds to cut them evenly into the flour mixture..With the food processor running, the warm water was added until a ball formed and moved around the bowl in one homogeneous mass..The dough should be slightly sticky..This amount of flour is really taxing a 7-cup food processor, not so much because of the weight of dough, but because the dough ball is too tall for the bowl..It should really be made in an 11-cup food processor, or by hand in a bowl..I recommend reducing the recipe by one fourth if using a 7-cup food processor..
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and hand knead for 1-2 minutes..Divide into 75g portions, which should yield an approximately 10" tortilla..Round each portion into a ball, then flatten the balls into approximately 3" rounds of dough..Cover with a non-scented plastic bathroom or tall kitchen garbage bag that has been scissored open to allow unfolding..Allow to rest for 30 minutes..Pre-heat a 12"-14" heavy cast iron or stainless steel skillet so that it is just below smoking hot..On a floured surface flatten the first dough circle as far as possible with the palm of a hand..Using a rolling pin and as much flour as needed to prevent sticking, roll out the tortilla as evenly as possible until it is approximately 1/16"-1/8" thick..These tortillas need to be thinner than one might think if you have never made tortillas before (these were my first!!!)..Too thick, and they will not cook properly in the skillet..
When the tortilla is thin enough, carefully transfer it using two hands to the skillet, taking care not to have any wrinkles, or overlapping dough..I rolled out the first couple of tortillas to fit my 10" cast iron skillet, which made them too thick..As a result, there were a dozen, or so, spots in the first two tortillas that were translucent where the dough had not fully cooked..I then set aside the 10" cast iron skillet for my 14" SS-aluminum-SS clad skillet..I rolled out the subsequent tortillas thinner, and larger than the first two..Voilla!!!..Problem solved!!!..
I gave up after the first two tortillas in trying to make perfect circles of rolled out dough..Too much angst in trying to make a perfect circle..The remaining tortillas were more, or less, about 10" in diameter..Most resembled Rorsach blobs in shape, but tasted divine..When the tortillas are rolled out to the proper thinness for quick cooking in the skillet, they will immediately bubble up as moisture (fat) pockets in the dough flash into steam..I found that an Ateco 10" offset icing spatula was the ideal tool to flatten out the air pockets in the tortillas so that they browned more evenly, as well as to lift the edges of the tortills to check for doneness..When the skillet was hot enough, the tortillas took about 30-45 seconds per side to cook through and brown properly..
I used a dinner plate covered with a folded over cotton tea towel to stack the tortillas as I cooked them..If I had been trying to keep them as hot as possible for immediate consumption I would have placed them inside a folded over clean cotton bath towel laid on a 1/2 sheet pan placed in the gas oven pre-heated to the WARM setting for 10 minutes, and then turned off..I cooled them on a wire rack, and then stored them in a 2-gallon zippered plastic food storage bag, which was ideal for this purpose..
I encourage anyone that has been wanting to make their own flour tortillas to do so..It is dead simple..You only need a bowl, a surface to knead and roll the tortillas on, and a skillet to bake the tortillas in that is large enough to cook the size tortillas that you want to make..All other tools are a luxury, although an 11-cup food processor is a real time saver for this size recipe..
I should have done this a LONG time ago..I cannot for the life of me think how I ever thought I would be harder than it turned out to be, but I did..Silly me!!!..