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Tortillas (Project Panettone: Step 1)

Thursday, September 17, 2009
Flour Tortillias

I'd like to clear few things. I really, really love to have a finger in the pie, so to speak, get everything dirty with flour and watch the simplest combination of ingredients take shape. Being it for piadine (Italian flat brad), brioches or Tuscan bread, every dough that needs to be banged and turned over with no mercy somehow gives me deep satisfaction...

It's actually searching for the secret of Pizza Margherita that I ended up like this, writing about yeasts and jams instead of joining my coworkers for Happy Hour or watching American Idol on TV. One day I happened to ask Google if he knew something about pizza, and there you go, a whole world of forums, blogs and Cookaround opened up and didn't give me respite ever since.

Yet, as much as I enjoy sinking my hands into sticky and rebel masses, and smelling the scent of flour spreading in the air, sometimes laziness prevails and the option I'd rather buy it already made sounds much more appealing than a biceps workout. Maybe one day I'll have my own Kitchen Aid, a pink one, and maybe I'll have one, or even two work boards wider than 7 inches, and then you'll see me baking pizzas for the whole building.
While waiting for that happy day, I'd rather take it easy and do one step at a time, satisfying the gluten mania with less laborious projects. I've already tried the No-Knead Bread and the Irish No-Effort Bread, and I have a feeling that one day there'll be time also for Paoletta's No-Knead Pizza and for Ornella's No-Knead Brioches. But since today I feel particularly optimistic, I commit myself and I tell you that at this pace, walking up a leavening road that goes through piadine, popovers and half-hour breads, one day I will too - maybe - get to Him, the Supreme, the Impregnable, the Proud Panettone, ambition and dread of every foodblogger.

Meanwhile I started training with flour tortillas, the Mexican piadinas, so to speak. Mmmm... tortilla is very flat indeed, and I think I'll have to go a long way. OK, maybe not this Christmas, but one day... Panettone...I will too... And while drafting the stages of my route, I'll take a tortilla and spread it with avocado.


Flour Tortillias
for 9 tortillas

flour 300 gr.
salt 1 teaspoon
baking powder 2 teaspoons
vegetable oil 2 tablespoons
milk approximately 180 gr.


Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm. Mix flour with salt and baking powder. Add oil and mix well (I used a mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil). Gradually add milk and start kneading. Use only the amount of milk necessary to obtain a smooth, non-sticky dough. If needed, add more milk or adjust with more flour.
Work the dough for 5 or 6 minutes and then let it rest for about 10 minutes, covered with a kitchen towel. Divide it in small balls of about 50 gr. each. Slightly dust the work surface with flour and using a rolling pin flatten each ball into a thin round of approximately 6 inches diameter. If needed, pair the edges with a knife to obtain rounder tortillas.
Heat a cast iron pan and cook each tortilla about 30 seconds per side, turning it with a spatula and deflating any bubble that should develop. Tortillas can be frozen, wrapped in plastic. They should be served warm, filled with meat and/or cheese, hot Mexican salsa and avocado. If you like, you can also add shredded green cabbage, sour cream, grilled chicken or fish instead of beef.

Note (polemical): real tortillas should be made with lard, but finding it is really impossible. Or rather, you can easily find it only in Mexican markets and produce stores, but stay away from it... it resembles glycerin and it's full of hydrogenated fat, bleaching and deodorizing agents that make it last even YEARS outside the fridge. There is nothing else out there, because lard in North America has been stigmatized long time ago as too fattening and bad for your health. Today, if you tell someone that you're looking for lard, and that you need it to make tortillas or a nice and fragrant pie crust, they'll point the finger at you like you were a social order subverter. Meanwhile those supermarkets that are full of strange margarine, bleached fruit and food whose ingredients remind you more of a chemical formula like the ones you studied in high school, those not, they don't hurt anybody, and they're actually very generously open 24/7. To the delight of those who avoid lard like Satana, but have no problems gorging themselves on corn syrup.
Please forgive my ranting.
6 comments
Miriam Kapner said... [Reply to comment]

Would it be possible to convert the measurements for us non-metric system users? I don't know what 300 grams of flour should be!! Thanks!

One Girl In The Kitchen said... [Reply to comment]

I have to say, I find it hard to work by cups and spoons, in fact I HATE cups and spoons, especially when baking, because my cup of flour will never be the same as your cup of flour. But I can convert into ounces if you like. You'd need a scale though.... : )
300 gr of flour is 10.5 ounces (like 2/3 of a pound). And 180 gr of milk is approximately 6.5 ounces

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Here in Louisiana we DO use lard for many thing INCLUDING frying "certain" things.
I do know that the flakiest of pie crusts are made with LARD.
When making flour tortillias how much lard would one use ?
Thank you,
tymtyt@yahoo.com

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