Tortilla Tutorial

Say that three times fast – it’s fun! Tortilla Tutorial, Tortilla Tutorial, Tor– Oh, pardon me, that’s not why we’re here. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am indebted to my dear mother-in-law for not only teaching me to make tortillas – something I’ve wanted to do for years – but also loaning me her tortilla maker whenever I want to make a batch!

This is her showing me the first time. Here is her recipe:

Whole Wheat Tortillas

1 c. warm water
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Lecithin (optional)
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
2-3 c. freshly milled wheat flour (usually 2 cups)

Measure liquids into mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients, kneading in the flour until the dough is workable but not stiff. Let stand 10 minutes. Shape the dough into 8-10 2 inch balls. Let rest while tortilla press preheats. Using the tortilla maker, place ball of dough slightly of the center of the tortilla maker, close the lid, and using the large handle, give one firm press until you hear the air start to squeak. Once you hear the squeak, release pressure and open lid. Allow tortilla to cook about 30 seconds on each side.

That is the recipe from Bread Beckers, Inc. It took a little experimenting to actually have good success, so here are our pointers…

1. To soak my dough, I mix all ingredients and add a tablespoon or two of yogurt or whey to aid in the breakdown of the flour. I set my dough on the counter with a tight lid (you don’t want the dough to dry out) for 7 hours prior to baking.

2. Make sure you don’t add too much four. It should hold its shape in little balls, but still be sticky and almost tricky to work with (oil your hands if you need to).

3. Preheat your tortilla maker for at least 15 minutes.

4. Keep the dough covered until you cook it – it’s important that the dough be moist, or you won’t be able to press the tortillas thin enough.

5. Press the dough hard, but just until it squeaks, then lift up quickly, or your tortilla will start to shatter around the edges, like this one did…

6. It helps to flatten the balls a bit in your hands before placing them on the press.

7. cook them just until they’re ‘dry’ – not brown. This will ensure your tortillas stay moist and flexible. I store mine in a ziplock bag in the fridge, and they are good till we eat them up – usually a week.

Here is Anneke preparing the dough for me. I did the pressing ’cause it really takes a heavy hand to get them flat. We actually didn’t achieve very thin tortillas last night, due to me adding too much flour again. We’ll get it right next time! They still tasted just as good. Anneke always begs me to ‘shatter’ one so we can taste test while they cook! ๐Ÿ™‚

Once you have made your yummy tortillas, you will want a yummy filling. I will share my latest favorite recipe with you next time!

12 responses to “Tortilla Tutorial”

  1. Laurie Wiebe Avatar
    Laurie Wiebe

    How can i get them thin enough? Mine are too thick.

    1. Trina Avatar

      If they are too thick, your dough was too dry. You need a moister dough!

  2. Brandee Gorsline Avatar
    Brandee Gorsline

    Hey Trina- hope you’re all settled into you new, warmer home! Freezing up here! I got this same tortilla press and I’m still working out the quirks. I made a great, freshly ground Emmer soaked flour dough and used tallow in it and it was a total flop! They all split and had huge holes. So, I just used organic white flour and tallow to make another batch (took several weeks to work up the ambition to try again) and only the first one I made made the nice squeak that your video demonstrates. Does this mean that my press isn’t hot enough? What temp should it be set at? How long do I need to wait in between putting dough in the press? I followed a recipe that said to cut in the lard or tallow with a pastry cutter and I had some holes because some of the tallow chunks were too big but I’m assuming that melting my tallow before adding it to my flour will remedy that. Thanks for any guidance you may have!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Brandee, good to hear from you!!
      Yikes, this is an old post. I ought to go back and edit it. lol. my method is slightly changed now.

      I usually do use a liquid form of fat–have used both melted coconut oil and lard with good success.

      I have my tortilla press set to its highest setting.

      If you’re not getting the ‘squeak’ your dough may not be moist enough. I have learned to make a pretty moist dough (wet enough I had to use a spoon–I don’t roll them out into little balls like this post anymore!) to get really flat, flexible tortillas. If your first one squeaked, but subsequent ones didn’t, my guess is moisture level (the dough dries out fast, and you should cover your bowl in between tortillas if moisture is the problem.)

      You can put another ball of dough right on the press! It shouldn’t need to reheat at all.

      I hope these tips help. Do not give up–it took me literally months to get the hang of it because I had to figure it out on my own, and I, too, waited a long time in between failed batches. lol

      Are you using any kind of dough conditioner? That would be another thing I’d look into. I now use egg yolks in place of lecithin and my dough is flexible and friendly. My recipe current recipe is in my cookbook.

      If you wanna phone consultation, get my number from Sarah and call me up, I’d love to talk to you!

  3. Carolyn Avatar

    You’re a gem! Thanks So Much For Your Quick Reply. I Bought Some Sweet Dairy Whey In A Bag Through Amazon. Will That Work? I’ll Follow Your Advice About Experimenting With The Various Types Of Flour By Sticking With Sprouted Wheat Until I Get A Better Handle On It. Again, Thanks So Much For Taking The Time To Create The Webpage. Valuable Info And Fur

  4. Carolyn McFadden Avatar
    Carolyn McFadden

    Do you form the dough into balls after you’ve soaked the dough as a whole ball for 7 hours on the counter or do you form the dough into little balls after adding the yogurt and before letting it set on the counter for 7 hours? In other words, am I letting a whole blob of dough set on the counter covered for 7 hours or am I letting 10 two-inch balls of dough set covered on the counter for 7 hours?

    What kind of yogurt do you use? Which is better, the yogurt or the whey? What kind of whey do you use? Can I find the yogurt and the whey in the grocery section of Kroger, Walmart, Meijer etc.?

    Can I substitute sprouted wheat flour in this recipe? Can I substitute organic oat flour in this recipe? Can I mix two flours together for this recipe like say Oat and Corn.

    Have you made corn tortillas with this griddle. If so, how do you do it? I have a bag of Maseca Instant Corn Flour – will that work?

    I know that’s a lot of questions, but you seem to know what you’re doing, Trina. I found your video, and that’s what convinced me to buy the Chef Pro 10 inch. I will be glad to pay you for your advice.

    Sincerely, Carolyn

    1. Trina Avatar

      Hi, Carolyn! I’d be happy to answer your questions!
      I soak the dough in one big ball, covered with a lid or saran wrap to keep it from drying out. After the dough has soaked, and it’s ready to press, that’s when I shape it.

      Yogurt and whey would have equal benefits–you simply seeking to keep the good bacteria at a higher count than any bad bacteria that would develop while it sits at room temp. Yogurt or whey both have a lot of probiotics, so either can be used. You won’t find whey at the grocery store–it’s made from letting raw milk set on the counter until it separates into ‘curds and whey’. But you can strain store bought or homemade yogurt through a cheese cloth or fine strainer and get a similar, yellowish liquid (leaving you with a thicker, greek-style yogurt). If yogurt is your option, I recommend plain, and that is easy to find in any store.

      You most certainly can substitute sprouted wheat for regular wheat in this recipe–I have done so with good success. I have not tried oat flour, but I encourage you to experiment.

      I have not had much luck making corn flour tortillas on the press. I believe it’s an entirely different process, and most instructions call for a cool press. I haven’t gotten a dough that was pressable, period, but if I did, I image this press could work if you just didn’t plug it in? I just end up using wheat flour tortillas when a recipe call for corn, because wheat is what I have had success with so far. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      One more tip–if you do plan on trying out different flours, I would suggest you first get the hang of the basic wheat flour tortilla. Oat flour is not going to act the same, and it may be tricky at first. So, start with wheat? And let me know how it goes!


  5. Trina Avatar

    Erin, I'm flattered (and amazed!) that you are reading the whole blog from the beginning!

    My MIL's tortilla press is made by Villa Ware, but they quit making them. I found mine from a company called Chef Pro (it's virtually the same piece of equipment, just a different label). They are hard to find, you may have more luck if you search for “flat bread maker”.

  6. Erin Avatar

    What sort of tortilla press does your mother-in-law have? I've been on the hunt for one for a while…

    I'm enjoying getting to know you via your blog, Trina. After reading a guest post of yours (on Lindsay or Stephanie's site – – I can't remember), I came on over. I started by reading Tipi Tales, then went back to the beginning, and pop in when I have a few minutes to leisurely read. I'm almost through with 2007 now!

  7. abigail Avatar

    Oh mercy, tortilla tutorial is one of the most impossible tongue-twisters I've ever attempted ๐Ÿ˜€ !!

  8. Serena Avatar

    Oh, yes, you must taste-test as you're cooking. My mom would always say she had to "make sure it's not poison", which I guess could sound a bit morbid, but which always made us laugh. I may have picked up the phrase and used it a bit myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Duck Avatar

    Thanks for a great time Trina. The Tortilla's where great even if they were thick.

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