Basics,  Recipes,  Testing Kitchen,  Vegan

Wheat Flour Tortillas, the taste of Northern Mexico

Wheat flour tortillas are, sometimes, the tortillas of choice in Northern Mexico for tacos. Some people don’t consider them as real Mexican food, mainly because of what the food industry and supermarkets have done to them, following the concept of Tex-Mex. I was of that opinion, but as soon as I learn more about them, tried the ones from Sonora Taqueria and made my own ones, I discover that wheat flour tortillas are as legit as corn ones.

Corn flour can be an expensive and hard to get choice, specially if you don’t have tacos very often. Wheat flour tortillas come to the rescue of those who love a Mexican night from time to time. Its dough is extremely versatile, with just one recipe you can have tortillas for burritos, tacos and gringas. And you will only need plain flour, water, salt, baking powder and the most important ingredient: fat or oil.

The fat

Yeah, flour is the most important ingredient in these tortillas we’re cooking here, but the fatty element is what is going to give them character. The traditional choices are: sunflower oil, vegetable shortening or margarine and lard. I’ve tried all of them and lard is my favourite fat for wheat flour tortillas. I’m not a fan of lard, its smell and taste can disgust me but I like the taste it gives -I’m a walking contradiction- and how it makes tortillas fluffy.

Margarine with olive oil is my second option: it gives a nice taste and fluffiness but its an unhealthy option and discard it. Sunflower oil is what I use for vegan/veggie options. The tortillas are ok, still very good, but they lack that fluffiness you will love so much. If lard is not a problem to you, go for it, you won’t regret it. If you’re a powered by plants, go for margarine and don’t feel guilty about it, your’re not going to be eating these tortillas everyday. If shortenings and margarines are not your stuff, try extra virgin coconut oil. I haven’t tried it but I’m sure it’s a good option.

How to make Wheat Flour Tortillas

INGREDIENTS (for 12 medium-large tortillas)

  • 300 gr plain flour
  • 160 gr boiling hot water
  • 45 gr of your fat of choice
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 flat tsp baking powder

PREPARATION

  • Add the flour to a bowl, with the salt, the baking powder and your fat. Mix with your hands, until the fat or oil is thoroughly integrated into the flour, and the flour has a sandy consistency.
  • Boil the water and add it to the bowl. Mix with a spoon or a spatula until you can’t anymore. Then, use your hand. Fear not, you won’t burn. The dough will be just hot enough.
Wheat-Flour-Tortillas-
First knead
After the second kneading. You can’t see the difference xDD but, trust me, this is important
  • Knead your dough for 1 or 2 minutes. Then, leave it to rest for 10 minutes. These resting period will help the gluten to develop and the flour to be fully hydrated.
  • After those first 10 minutes, knead again for 1 or 2 minutes and leave the dough to rest, now, for 20 minutes. The gluten will develop even more and your wheat flour tortillas will gain flexibility.
  • When that time is gone, knead lightly and form balls of 40 gr each. Place them on a plate and cover it with cling film to prevent the balls to dry. Leave them to rest for 30 minutes.
I like to use one of these matts to make my tortillas as round as possible. I roll them to 20-22 cm of diameter as they will shrink as soon as they will relax and cook in the frying pan
  • 1 hour is gone by now and it’s time to roll your tortillas. Dust each ball with flour, pressing it with your hands, and form the discs with a rolling pin. The trick is to turn the tortilla 45 degrees after each time you roll it a bit. Dust your working surface lightly if the tortilla sticks to it.

Final steps

  • Heat a fry pan on medium-high fire. Prepare a plate with a clean tea towel. Here is where you will keep your tortillas after baking them, keeping them warm and preventing them to get dry. They will also get flexibility as the steam will cook them for a bit longer. The result is a very soft tortillas, as you will see.
  • Once your fry pan is hot enough, start baking your tortillas. Put one and leave it to cook till you see the bubbles forming on the surface. Turn it and cook it for a further 2-3 minutes until that side gets the browning you desire.
Look at this pillow!
  • When it’s cooked, transfer to the plate and cover with the tea towel. Do the same with the rest of tortillas. Keep them covered until the moment to eat them.

Tips

  • To reheat them, use a dry frying pan, few minutes on each side until you see they start to fluff again. Eat immediately.
  • If you don’t eat them all, keep them covered with cling film inside the fridge. They will stay nice for 2 or 3 more days.
  • If you want to make tortillas for burritos, make balls of 70-75 grams, depending on how big is your frying pan. Try to make them as round and thin as possible, lightly dusting your working surface if necessary.
  • You don’t know how to use them? Make Tacos Perrones!
  • Discover more of our recipes!

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