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*Makes 10 (6 inch (15 cm)) tortillas



1 pound (about 3 cups or 455 g) masa harina or store bought masa


masa harina:

Scant 1 cup (215 g) water, or more if needed

1 1/2 cups (240 g) masa harina (preferably Bob’s Red Mill)



1.  Pour the water into a large bowl. Add the masa marina and stir to integrate. Knead the dough for 30 seconds until it is firm and supple. It should not stick to your fingers when you touch it and should not crumble when you press it into a ball; it should have the texture of Play-Doh. Add more water or masa marina if necessary to achieve the right consistency. Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes before using. Masa from masa marina can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, but you may need to add some water to get it back to the desired consistency.

2.  Roll the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) thick and slice it crosswise into 10 equal pieces (each about 1 1/2 ounces (45 g)). Roll each piece into a small ball. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel to keep the dough from drying out as you press and cook each tortilla.

3.  Put your tortilla press on a table at a comfortable height, so that you can use your body weight to assist in the pressing. A kitchen table might be better than a counter, depending on your height. If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use a heavy cutting board as the bottom and a heavy metal sauce-pan with a flat bottom as the top.

4.  Set a griddle or large cast iron skillet over high heat. Line a basket or a shallow bowl with a clean cloth napkin. Cut a plastic produce bag at the seams, so that you have two pieces of thin plastic.

5.  Put one piece of the plastic on the tortilla press, then put one of the dough balls on top of the plastic, push down lightly with the heel of your hand so that it turns into thick disk, and cover the top of the remaining plastic. Using a tortilla press (or your metal pan), flatten the tortilla. Open the press, turn the tortilla 180 degrees, and repeat the process so that you have a very thin circular tortilla that measures 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. When pressing, be sure to jiggle the handle a bit for extra force.

6.  Hold the flattened tortilla in the palm of your hand. Peel off the top piece of plastic. Gently transfer the tortilla to the other hand with the plastic facing up and peel off that plastic. Now you will have only the masa disk in your hand with one side hanging slightly off your hand. Starting with the part that is hanging, gently lay the tortilla on the hot griddle by pulling your hand away. The tortilla should lie flat on the pan without any creases.

7.  Cook the first side of the tortilla just until the edges begin to dry, about 1 minute. Flip and cook the tortilla until you start to see some steam puffing up inside of it and brown spots developing on the underside, about another 2 minutes. To encourage the steam, you can take your fingertips or a spatula and lightly press down on the tortilla. Flip in onto the first side one more time, and cook for just 30 seconds to get some brown spots. The cooking speed depends on the heat of your cooking surface. Hotter is better. A great tortilla will have two distinct layers, which develop when the heat is hot enough to create steam that puffs the dough and helps it separates. (Note that if the tortilla puffs up while cooking, it’s said to mean that you’re ready to get married!)

8.  Transfer the cooked tortilla to the napkin-lines basket and cover with the napkin. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all of your dough, being sure to keep the cooked tortillas wrapped in the napkin. Serve warm.


From The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook

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