Learn How to Make Tortillas Like a Pro

By George Steckel
Dec 10, 2020
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Say goodbye to store-bought tortillas. Made In recently launched a Blue Carbon Steel Comal in partnership with Masienda, and while it sold out, we still want to inspire you to cook homemade tortillas. In a matter of 5 minutes, you can have fresh corn tortillas that pair perfectly with your favorite meats and veggies. Read along to learn all the tips and tricks to make tortillas:

  1. Making the Dough
  2. Pressing the Tortillas
  3. How to Cook with a Comal
  4. Achieving a Tortilla Puff
  5. Crafting the Perfect Bite

How to Craft Tortillas

Bags of masa will most likely come with instructions on the back, but the process is quite simple and designed to make your experience of making tortillas effortless. One cup of masa should be mixed with a scant cup of warm, not hot water. Slowly add the water to the masa in a large bowl, stirring to incorporate evenly by hand. You can also use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or hook attachment. You’ll want to knead or mix until the water is evenly incorporated and there are no dry spots. The finalized dough should be moist to touch but not tacky. There’s no need to let the dough rest, either. The next step involves dividing the dough and pressing it!

A tortilla press is not necessary, but it is ideal. You can make your own by taking a recycled grocery bag and cutting two circles out of it, around nine inches wide, for a six-inch tortilla. Take a piece of dough and roll it into a ball about the size of a golf ball, and put it in between the two circles you cut. Press down on the ball a little and then flatten the dough with a heavy object; a Made In Pan works excellent! You’ll have to play around with the thickness of your tortilla, but Jorge suggests one to two good presses will get you there. Rolling pins should be avoided, as the dough can stick quite easily, and it can be tough to get a perfect circle.

Let Gravity Do its Job

The next part is key to ensuring your tortilla comes out in one. Take the top piece of plastic off the tortilla press, and then pick up the bottom piece. The tortilla will be stuck to it. Simply turn it upside down and slowly peel the piece of plastic off the tortilla, letting the gravity of the tortilla do most of the work. This will ensure your tortilla peels off in one motion and doesn’t rip.

Let’s Get to Cooking

Place the tortilla on your dry comal (or non stick or cast iron skillet) over medium heat. There is no need to add vegetable oil or butter to the comal, as the tortilla will naturally release itself from the pan. Sear the first side of the tortilla for 20-30 seconds and then give it a flip and repeat. 20-30 seconds again. Flip it once more to the original seared side and await the tortilla to puff. Within 30 minutes, you can have enough tacos to feed your neighborhood. By applying a bit of pressure to the tortilla’s edge with a towel or spatula, you can help speed up the process. So what’s the deal with the tortilla puff?

The Desired Tortilla Puff

Sourdough has its crumb shot. Tortillas have their puff. While a puff is not necessary, and by no means the only result of a good tortilla, it is a sign you did a good job. A puff is the result of heat being trapped in the center of the tortilla. When the tortilla is sealed, a moist pocket is trapped in the center, and as it starts to cook, the heat expands, producing steam, causing it to bloom. If you get a puff, stop what you’re doing, take a photo, and bask in your success.

Putting Everything Together

Once you get in the groove of making your tortillas, keep a kitchen towel in a bowl nearby. Place the towel faced open in a bowl, then place your tortillas on top of that, and fold the towel over it. We recommend cooking all of the tortillas, as there isn’t much use for the remaining dough. This will keep your tortillas warm as you continue to cook. What you choose as fillings are based on preference, but you can’t go wrong with carnitas, fried fish, or chicken tinga. Sautéed mushrooms or perfectly roasted broccoli are great options for vegetarians or vegans. If you have leftovers, simply add a bit of olive oil to the comal and reheat your filling. With the large surface area of the comal, you can cook tortillas and prep your filling! While Masienda’s Masa Harina is corn-based, you can also cook homemade flour tortillas or re-heat store-bought tortillas on the comal.

In the end, knowing how to make tortillas is a great way to save money and impress your guests! They’re flat out delicious, and I apologize if you are unable to go back to buying store-bought tortillas. So whether you were able to snag a Blue Carbon Steel Comal, or you prefer using a Carbon Steel Frying Pan or Non Stick Frying Pan, break out some masa, and get to work! You can thank us later.