Saturday, January 8, 2011


Tortillas in a towel I wove in the early 1980s
Princess Lisa called me this morning, she and Doug were on their way to China Peak to ski for the day. In her sweetest voice she suggested I come over when the boys get home from school. "And maybe you can make dinner for us," it was a statement, not a question.

By noon I was craving the home-made chorizo that was in their freezer, left over from Christmas brunch, none in my freezer. Eggs and chorizo burritos with home made tortillas and a bowl of fresh pinto beans would be great this cold winter day. Breakfast for dinner is fun on occasion.

Let's make tortillas. Watch the videos on rolling and baking tortillas.

This recipe calls for lard, don't panic, it is only 2 tablespoons to 4 cups of flour, very little. During my years of cooking lard was used, then for many years margarine was recommended, then butter and now we are full circle, lard is no worse than butter. For tortillas lard is the traditional fat.


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons lard (do not use oil or shortening, use lard)
water, about 1 and 1/4 cups, more or less

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.
Dough is smooth and elastic
Mix in the lard with your fingers until the flour resembles cornmeal.
Add water and mix until the dough comes together.
Place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic, or put in mixer bowl with a paddle attachment and mix till smooth and elastic.

Cover the dough and let it rest 15 minutes, it must rest.

Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball, lay on a cookie sheet so they do not touch.

Cover and let rest 20 minutes, don't skimp on the rest period.
Cover balls with plastic

Preheat a flat iron grill, see mine on the November 30, 2010 entry about iron cookware. Heat to medium to medium-high, it depends on your stove and grill, too hot and tortillas burn quickly, too cool and they take to long and will dry out.

Start rolling from the center, up then center down
Sprinkle a little flour on board, smooth out to even layer, lightly flour a rolling pin.
Roll from the center of a ball of dough and up, then roll from center and roll down.

Turned, ready to roll from center up and center down

Turn halfway, again continue rolling in same manner till tortilla is thin, 1/8 inch thick or less.

Getting bigger, ready to turn

Keep repeating same sequence

Roll till less than 1/8 inch thick

Flip onto grill and cook until bubbly and golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side. 

Place the cooked tortilla in a folded dish towel.
Continue rolling and cooking the remaining dough balls.

Making a batch of tortillas has always been great mental therapy to me. There is nothing more comforting than a tortilla off the grill with a light coating of butter. If the weather is hot I keep a glass of iced tea handy to sip while rolling and baking tortillas. 

After dinner the cooled tortillas can be put in a zip lock bag, without the towel.
For a sweet treat you can heat a tortilla on the hot grill, smear a layer of butter on and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, yum yum.

Finished stack ready to go

Under side of my board has hard rubber feet

Feet keep board from moving back when rolling
I wove the orange linen and cotton towel in the early 1980s when I was weaving for fun with a group of ladies in China Alley in Hanford, California. The towel just feels good and it's been my tortilla towel ever since.

Please leave a comment if you try my tortilla recipe.