Corn Tortillas from Scratch
If you’ve never made them before, homemade tortillas may seem daunting or out of reach. I assure you though, they are easier than you think and 100% worth the effort. We’ve been making flour tortillas for a couple of years now and almost never use store bought because they just can’t compare. I’ve tried my hand at corn tortillas a few times before but haven’t been completely satisfied with the results. Finally though, I’ve found a recipe that works. These were so, so good!
Also, a word about shaping. I must admit, I am totally excited about my recently purchased tortilla press. I held off buying one for such a long time because I generally avoid buying unitaskers, but when I considered the fact that we make tortillas at least once every week or two, it seemed rather silly that we didn’t have one yet. If you have a press it will make the shaping process a lot quicker and simpler, but if you don’t, never fear. You can use two skillets or two pie plates pressed together to have the same effect.
Yield: about 10-12 6- to 7-inch tortillas
1½ cups masa harina
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. vegetable oil, softened butter, or lard
About 1 cup hot water, plus more if needed
In a medium bowl, combine the masa, salt, and fat of your choice. Stir together with a fork until evenly combined. Gradually add the water to the bowl in a steady stream, mixing constantly, until a soft dough comes together. (I make my dough just slightly wetter than I think it should be. The masa will absorb some of the liquid while the dough sits, so a bit of extra liquid helps prevent the dough from being crumbly.) Turn the dough onto a work surface (lightly floured, if necessary) and knead briefly just until the dough is smooth and supple.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature at least 30 minutes or up to a few hours.
When you are ready to cook the tortillas, divide the dough ball into 10-12 equal sized pieces. (I use my kitchen scale to make sure they are all about the same size.) Shape using a tortilla press, two pie plates pressed together, or a rolling pin to form 6- to 7-inch rounds. (No matter which method you choose, shaping between two pieces of plastic wrap makes it easier.)
As the tortillas are shaped, transfer them to a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Cook about 1 minute per side, just until each side begins to brown/char. Transfer to a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Once all the tortillas are cooked, let rest under the towel briefly. Though they may seem stiff just out of the skillet, the warmth and moisture under the towel will help make them perfectly pliable again. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator 2-3 days.