The first tortillas were always the best. My younger sister and I were almost always hungry and my mother would usually give us fresh hot tortillas. I loved those sacred first tortillas, there was something very special about them to me.
Now I make them myself and I still love them just as much. The simple basic recipe is perfect because it's so very versatile. As it is, the tortillas can go with anything, sweet, spicy, sour or bland, they fit right in. Over the years I've experimented by adding different things and discovered hundreds of different ways you can make them.
To the basic recipe some of our favorites adds are ...
cinnamon and sugar
garlic, onion and cayenne
garlic, some Italian herbs and ground parmesan
cayenne, chili powder and onion
sun dried tomato paste
chopped dried herbs
chopped dried spinach
chopped black olives
You can substitute up to half the flour with ...
corn flour (ground cornmeal)
oat flour (ground oatmeal)
whole wheat flour
(up to half because if the flour is too dense it won't cook properly)
You can make them as thin as you like or make them a bit thick for a heartier flat bread. I often make them double thick for that purpose.
You can make the tortillas into chips by cooking as usual, then brush with a little vegetable or olive oil, cut into wedges, sprinkle with things you like (the add list above works well) and bake for a few minutes in the oven until they're crisp. Our favorites for chips are parmesan chips, cinnamon-sugar chips and chips from the corn version.
Here's my mothers recipe and the only one I've ever used ...
4 c flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
4 T shortening (I have also used margarine and it worked fine)
1¼ c water
flour for rolling
Kneed together with hands working the dough well. Form 12 palm sized balls and set aside. Prepare a rolling surface and roll each ball out round and thin. In a large, dry skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, cook on both sides until done. Cool each tortilla seperately. Makes 1 dozen.
I've also used it to make tortillas and pancakes on the woodstove.
An iron skillet or tortilla pan is the best to me
but you can use any sort of flat pan or griddle.
Our house and kicthen are very small and counter space is limited.
I use the counter for rolling and the stove top or dinning table for the rest.
When the tortillas are ready, put them on the dry pan and cook until there are some light bornw spots. the tortillas will get air pockets which go down when removed from the heat. Lightly cook on each side and then allow to cool.
One plate for rolled tortillas waiting to be cooked and another for cooked tortillas cooling. If the windows are open or I make them outside I cover both plates with a cloth napkin but the cooked tortillas need to get air while cooling or they will become damp.
Now you guys experiment and share your favorites and what you come up with :)