Back in culinary school there was a 3 week stint in an American Regional cooking class where I was saddled with tortilla chip duty. I took ready made tortillas, cut them into wedges, and threw them in the fryer. Easy abs repetitive, but it did give me a taste for homemade tortilla chips over the store bought version.

That and a love of tacos that may or may not be universal (seriously, when have you met someone who hated tacos?) prompted me to try making my own tortillas.

This was a second recipe attempt. The first recipe I tried called for an overnight fermentation. This meant mixing the dough, waiting until the next day, then shaping and cooking. The dough didn’t rise at all but it did produce a strong sourdough taste that was off putting for me. So I looked for something with shorter fermentation.

I found a simple recipe from Pies And Tacos and worked with it, substituting half of the flour for whole wheat. Now I have a tall stack of tortillas in my freezer for future taco nights or tortilla chips.

If you don’t have a tortilla press, a rolling pin will work fine. Just don’t be surprised if your tortillas come out with a little more “character,” especially if you haven’t had a lot of practice in. They’ll taste just as good, I promise. And if you turn them into chips, it won’t matter how oddly shaped they are.

Wrinkles add character.

Be advised that the flour you need to add (like in many other recipes) may change depending on a lot of factors like humidity, brand of flour, which state of retrograde Mercury is in, etc. So you’ll want to add the last bit of flour slowly and see how the dough looks as you’re mixing. You don’t want it too sticky, nor do you want something dry.

You can use any kind of oils in this recipe. My previous attempts using coconut oil did end with a slightly coconutty taste at the end, so keep that in mind should you want to make, say, beef tacos. I used standard vegetable oil this time. Other people have also suggested bacon grease. This will call for future testing.

Making these into chips won’t even require a fryer. Just add some oil and seasonings and bake until crispy. I’ll go into more detail in a later post.

Sourdough Tortillas

Adapted from Pies and Tacos, creates 32 tortillas

  • 125 g sourdough starter
  • 320 g warm water
  • 56 g liquid fat (vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil, bacon drippings, etc)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 320 g all-purpose flour
  • 320g whole wheat flour
  • Extra flour for dusting

Sift together both flours and set aside approx. 1 cup. Add rest of ingredients to the remaining flour and mix either by hand with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer with a hook attachment.

Once everything is incorporated, take a look at the dough and add the cup of flour slowly as needed. You should have a smooth dough that is neither dry nor sticky. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

Turn out the dough on a smooth surface lightly dusted with flour. Divide into 32 pieces. You can do this by eye, or using a scale. They come out to roughly 30g a piece.

Roll each piece into a ball and let sit on the counter. Avoid keeping them in the bowl as they’re likely to stick together. Let rest covered for 5 minutes.

Turn a dry skillet or pan to medium heat. Working with one piece at a time, roll or press each round into a circle roughly 7 inches in diameter. Cook the rounds, one minute on the first side and thirty seconds on the other.

Let cool and store in an airtight bag. The tortillas keep at room temperature for a few days or frozen for about two months.

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