There’s quite a bit of effort involved in making tortillas from scratch. Processing your own, locally sourced flour with lime? That’s a whole other level of commitment to food excellence, and one that I can’t help but admire. These tortillas are the definition of comfort food, and the difference between delicious and out-of-this-world. Can’t wait to rustle up a partner and get my arms covered in flour! -Amy
I love Mexican food. Tasting my friend’s mom’s tortilla chips straight from the frying oil (okay, we let them cool for a few minutes) with a sprinkle of salt and a dollop of barely-smashed guacamole makes buying Tostitos practically sacrilegious. That fresh corn flavor can’t be captured in a bag. After making corn tortillas from scratch, I feel the same way about them as well.
Not that making your own tortillas is quick work. Advance planning is key. I may not be frying up a batch of fresh tortillas on a busy Tuesday; instead, a weekend taco party with time to prep was worth it to see how fast they disappeared.
In an effort to DIY most of my pantry, this year I signed up for a Grain CSA. So, instead of buying masa flour, I made my own. Surely, this is a more involved process that requires a little patience, but it’s nice to know the corn is grown less than 50 miles from here and that the flour is as fresh as can be. You can also make the dough in advance and freeze it, and since 15 tortillas hardly put a dent in this batch of dough, I have some ready for the next taco party.
Plus, I have about five more pounds of local corn to use up, so come on over for tacos. My freezer will always have más masa.
Scratch-made Corn Tortillas
- 1 1/2 lbs organic field or dent corn
- 2 quarts filtered water (plus more for making the masa)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pickling lime (also known as slaked lime)
- Rinse the corn in cold water. Add the pickling lime to a stock pot with 2 quarts of filtered water and turn the burner on high. Add the rinsed corn and remove any kernels that float to the top.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Transfer it to a glass mixing bowl, dutch oven, or gallon jar and cover. Glass or enamel won’t transfer flavors/chemicals like metals and plastics will.
- Let the corn soak for a minimum of 48 hours in the fridge. A week is recommended, and you can soak for up to 2 weeks. The longer the soak, the more digestible the corn will be.
- After you are done fermenting your corn, drain and rinse in cold water. Working in 1-cup batches, add the corn to a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse and then grind until fine, 5-10 minutes. A tablespoon at a time, add filtered water just until the ground corn forms a dough ball. Remove from processor and repeat with the rest of the corn.
- Combine the batches of dough into one large ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight. Can be made a few days in advance or frozen for future use.
- Section the dough into 1 1/2 ounce balls (about the size of a ping pong ball).
- Take a gallon freezer bag and cut into a circle, creating two protective layers. Spray one side of each circle with cooking spray and place a dough ball between them. Press in a tortilla press, or use a cutting board to flatten the ball.
- In batches, heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray (if not using cast iron) and add as many tortillas as will fit with room in between. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, until a golden color. Keep warm in a basket and serve immediately.
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