Etymology/Definition of “Tortilla” – “1690s, from American Spanish tortilla, from Spanish, “a tart,” literally “a little cake,” diminutive of torta “cake,” from Late Latin torta “flat cake“
The history of the tortilla dates back 10,000 years to their inventors, the Aztecs. The name was coined by the Spaniards when they came to South America. Originally tortillas were only made from corn meal painstakingly ground from corn on a stone slab, similar to a mortar and pestle, by young women. These young women would spend a life time learning the secrets to making the perfect tortilla.
Since then this simple flat cake has taken the Americas by storm being the second most bought bread product just behind sliced bread. (source)
This isn’t the traditional tortilla recipe, since we’re skipping the lard and using wheat flour rather than corn flower, however this delicious variant is just a delicious and versatile as it’s ancient cousin.
1 large mixing bowl
1 small mixing bowl
1 rolling pin
1 cast iron skillet
½ or 1 ½ teaspoon
¾ or ½ and ¼ cup
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vegetable oil
¾ cup warm water (give or take depending on the humidity)
Step 1: In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Stir until evenly combined.
Step 2: Combine the warm water and vegetable oil. Create a cavity in middle of dry ingredients then begin adding to the flour mixture a little (around a tablespoon) at a time. Stir and add water/oil until the dough comes together into one piece. You may need more or less water depending on the moisture content of your flour. If you do have to add more water, add in half tablespoon increments to prevent from over watering.
Step 3: Knead the dough for about a minute. Shape into a ball and let rest, covered with a damp towel for about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Let rest for another 10 minutes.
Step 5: Flatten out each ball of dough with palm into a quarter inch circle then roll out into a 6 inch circle about the thickness of a piece of poster board. To help keep consistent thickness, wrap 2 rubber bands, one on top of the other, around each end of the rolling pin. Stack the tortillas, dusted with flour, until they are all rolled out.
Step 6: Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat. One at a time, cook the tortillas in the hot skillet until blistered and slightly golden on each side. On my stove, it took around a minute 30 seconds each tortilla (45 seconds each side).
Step 7: Stack the tortillas on a plate covered with a dry towel to keep them soft and warm until all of the tortillas have cooked.
Need ideas on what to do with your tortillas? Check out Good Eats Episode – “Tortillas Again”
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