What Else I Did on My Vacation August 8, 2012Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Cooking Challenge, random stuff.
Remember how I said that I accomplished a couple of kitchen projects on my vacation last week?
(Was it really just last week? I think it might have been the week before – I’m already ready for another vacation!)
So yeah, well, one thing I’ve been wanting to do, which I’ve been told is super-easy, was try making flour tortillas. Not corn tortillas, which I’m told you need a tortilla press for, and which I’m not even a huge fan of anyway.
I came across a recipe, and, apparently, I came across the same recipe again, because I had two copies printed and in my “need to try this” folder.
That’s a pretty big folder, sadly.
And so, I was making a Mexican-type dish, and rather than bread, we wanted tortillas. Fresh, homemade tortillas.
It seems that making tortillas is very similar to making pie crust, or even biscuits – you start out with your dry ingredients (3 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking powder (which, obviously, you don’t use in pie crust) and a good teaspoon of salt), and cut in your shortening – in this case, I used lard.
Oh, and I used the food processor.
You don’t have to use lard, but I wanted to. It’s more authentic, and I”m not afraid of pork fat. You can use unsalted butter if you must, or even vegetable shortening – it’s up to you.
Just like with pie crust (or biscuits), I drizzled the water in just until it formed a ball – 3/4 – 1 cup. I used the lesser amount, probably because of the humidity that day.
So yeah, you can use a pastry cutter (I finally bought one I actually liked, and now I never use it!) or even two forks – you know, it’s like any pie crust or biscuit dough.
Once you’ve got a nice ball of dough, you’re going to want to divide it into 12 even-sized balls.
You can just eyeball it, if that’s really the way you want to go.
Or you can be all nerdy and weigh the dough ball, divide the weight by 12 (hint: grams are easier to divide) and weigh each individual ball.
Guess which way I went.
Keep the balls of dough that are not in play covered loosely with a cloth, lest they dry out.
I can’t help thinking that dry tortilla dough is harder to roll out, right?
Plus you want to let them rest a few minutes. Probably something to do with gluten and hydrating and stuff.
Okay, I’m going to admit – it took me a while to get the hang of rolling the dough – mostly because I was working in a rather small area (those bowls of tomatoes and peaches take up room on the counter, you know!) and I think my rolling pin was too big.
I’ve since bought a smaller pin, but it’s one of those French-style tapered rolling pins.
I have no idea how to use it. But I’ll figure it out, fear not!
So we rolled the dough balls into about 8-inch circles. (Or a reasonable facsimile of a circle.) (I should probably get one of those pie-rolling-out silicone mats with the graduated circles, shouldn’t I?) (Next time.)
I’m going to be honest – this was probably the last “circle” I rolled out – some of them looked like, well, what’s the opposite of a circle?
They looked like a pair of pants.
So I tossed the tortilla “circle” onto a hot griddle (or a heated skillet) (but if you’ve got the griddle why not use it, you know?) and cook each side 10-20 seconds.
Think pancakes – put it on the griddle, and let it cook until you start to see bubbles – then it’s time to turn it.
And you just turn it over and cook the other side.
Your little bubbles will start to brown and it’ll be just like real (store-bought) tortillas, only, well, tastier. And probably healthier, since you’ll actually be able to pronounce everything that’s in there – even lard!
And I know I made it sound like a pain, but really, it’s not bad at all. The whole operation probably didn’t take more than half an hour, start to finish, and really, that’s not bad, is it, for a hand-crafted bread product?
Plus, it’s bound to get faster as I get better at it, right? I mean, given enough experience, I ought to be able to cut that time nearly in half! How’s that sound – a dozen homemade tortillas in the time it takes to cook a pot of rice?