Updated: Jan 10, 2021
Homemade tortillas are deceptively easy to make, only requiring 4 ingredients and a rolling pin or tortilla press. I don't own a tortilla press, just a simple rolling pin works for me. If I'm craving tortillas, but not in the mood to roll many out, I make a batch of dough, roll a few out, then cover the dough and keep at room temperature for a day, pinching off a bit of dough and cooking it as desired. These tortillas are excellent alongside any meal, perfect to drag through chutneys and yogurts before scooping up roasted vegetables. I love them wrapped around gently scrambled eggs, beans, cheddar and pickled chiles + onions, and a perfect afternoon snack can be made by spreading a thin layer of jam or lemon curd + greek yogurt onto a warmed tortilla, before rolling it up.
A couple notes on ingredients- I call for pastry flour here, which is a low protein (meaning low gluten) flour, that produces an extremely tender tortilla. If you can't find pastry flour, all purpose works too. I occasionally swap a cup of the pastry flour with a cup of spelt flour. Your choice of flour will affect the amount of water needed, so start with the recommended 3/4 c. and add more if needed. Olive oil is my preferred oil to make these with, but any neutral oil you have works fine, as well as lard. If using lard, no need to melt it first, simply work it into the flour by hand until crumbly before adding the water, and do use warm water as this will help the lard combine well.
Tortilla dough can be frozen for 1-2 months if wrapped well, and already cooked tortillas keep well at room temperature for a couple days, in the fridge for a bit longer, and freeze well too.
-4 cups organic pastry flour
-1.5 teaspoons sea salt
-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or other neutral oil, lard, organic shortening etc.)
-3/4 cup warm water, to start
In a large bowl, mix flour and salt by hand, then pour in oil and water. Mix by hand until dough becomes cohesive enough to form a ball. Knead for 10 seconds, if the dough feels a little dry and crumbly, sprinkle a couple tablespoons of water on and knead it in. If it feels very sticky and tacky, add a small handful of flour. You want a dough similar in texture to play-dough- soft and pliable, without the dough sticking to your hands. Knead the dough by hand for 2 minutes, until very smooth. Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes, or up to a day at room temperature. It's important to keep it covered while it rests so no moisture is lost.
Before rolling, heat a large skillet over medium/high heat, preferably cast iron or something equally thick for the best heat distribution. While the skillet heats, cut the ball of dough into four equal portions, then divide each portion in half, continue cutting pieces until you're left with small pieces of dough- the size is up to you. If I'm feeling lazy, I tend to roll larger, burrito sized tortillas to make the rolling/cooking bit move quickly.
Roll each ball of dough into a circle. To roll- have a bowl of flour nearby for dusting your work surface. Sprinkle a small about of flour on your rolling surface, then take a piece of dough and roll it in flour. Roll in a circular shape, rotating and moving the dough while you roll to ensure it isn't sticking. The goal is to roll the dough thin enough to be slightly translucent when you pick it up. Use more flour as necessary, but try to use as little as possible- you want the flour used to be fully absorbed into each piece of dough, otherwise excess flour will burn on your skillet. If that happens, you can simply brush it off before eating.
When your skillet is very hot, smoking hot, gently place 1 tortilla at a time in the skillet. You'll see bubbles begin to form on the top of the dough, this is good! After about 20-30 seconds, peek under the tortilla, it should be lightly golden in spots. If so, flip and cook remaining side. If you don't get air bubbles in your first tortilla, make sure your skillet is smoking hot, and make sure you're rolling the dough thin enough. Play around, and don't worry if your first couple aren't perfect, those are the cooks treat anyways... :)