>From the All Recipes website...

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Tortillas from Scratch

Corn Flour
Corn tortillas are made with a type of specially treated corn flour called masa 
harina. To make masa harina, whole corn kernels are boiled with an alkali until 
the hulls loosen and float to the top. The kernels are then drained, crushed, 
and dried. The resulting flour is mixed with water and kneaded into a pliable 
dough in order to make tortillas. You can find dry masa harina at many 
supermarkets. At specialty stores and Mexican grocers, you may even find fresh 
masa, which needs to be used right away.


Making Corn Tortillas
Even though they're such a simple item, it takes years of practice before cooks 
can effortlessly make a perfect tortilla. (A tortilla press makes flattening 
the rounds much easier.) For corn tortillas, divide the dough into small 
balls--about the size of a walnut. Keep the dough wrapped in plastic while you 
work with one piece at a time.
The best way to bake the tortillas is to use a cast iron griddle--the kind that 
stretches across two burners of your stove. Two cast iron skillets will work, 
as well.
Heat one burner to medium-high and one to medium. There's no need to add oil to 
the pans: you aren't frying the tortillas, just heating them until the dough is 
cooked but they're still pliable, not crisp. 
If you have a tortilla press, flatten the dough and begin baking. If you're 
using your hands, the easiest way to flatten the masa balls is to use a 
gallon-sized plastic freezer bag to prevent the dough from sticking to the 
counter. 
Flatten the dough in between the sheets of plastic into a round as thin as you 
can make it without tearing. Peel it from the plastic and transfer it to the 
hottest griddle. 
To lay the tortillas in the pan, your knuckles will be close to the heat 
source, but don't panic: working from left to right, lay the left-hand edge of 
the tortilla onto the griddle, and gently sweep your hand away--don't jerk it. 
The edge of the tortilla will stick to the griddle, so as you move your hand, 
the tortilla will fall into place in the pan. 
After about a minute on the hot griddle, flip the tortilla over into the cooler 
skillet. 
Using tongs--or your fingers, if you're brave and heat-tolerant--gently touch 
the center of the tortilla until it starts to puff slightly. 
The tortilla should be done, developing brown spots, after 30 seconds to a 
minute. 
Wrap the hot tortillas in a clean kitchen towel while you shape and bake the 
rest of the dough.
Making Flour Tortillas
Flour tortillas are different from corn tortillas in that they contain wheat 
flour rather than corn flour, and include additional ingredients like 
shortening or lard and sometimes a pinch of baking powder. These pale cousins 
of the corn tortilla are usually made larger and thinner because the gluten in 
the wheat flour allows the dough to be stretched without falling apart, plus 
the fat in the dough keeps them from cracking and tearing. They can be 
flattened with a rolling pin. To bake them, follow the process outlined above 
for corn tortillas.

--
Rhonda G in Missouri 
Owner of Awesome Swaps and More 
Owner of A Place for Chatting and Friends 
Owner of Rhonda's Recipe Exchange 
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