Tortillas are one of my favorite bread items and I use them for just about everything. Luckily, there is a fairly large Hispanic population in Louisiana so I am able to find tortillas fairly inexpensively at the grocery store. …EXCEPT burrito size tortillas (the really large kind). I can only find burrito sized in large national brands, like Mission, and they tend to be pretty pricey, comparatively speaking. …which is dumb because tortillas are about the cheapest things on the planet.
So, using this recipe from Rick Bayless, I whipped up a batch of tortillas! It was pretty quick and painless and resulted in some pretty delicious flour tortillas.
His recipe uses all white flour while I substituted about 1/3 with whole wheat. Also, I divided my dough into 8 pieces rather than 12 so that I could make larger burrito-sized tortillas. This recipe is really easy and is a very reasonable project for the weekend. The tortillas stay good in the refrigerator for up to a week (in an air-tight package).
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour ($0.12)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.29)
- 5 Tbsp lard ($0.22)
- 3/4 tsp salt ($0.05)
- 3/4 cup warm water ($0.00)
- Combine the flours in a large bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Add the lard and work it in with your hands until the flour is coated in lard you have an even, crumbly mixture (looks like coarse sand).
- Dissolve the salt into the warm water. Add the salt water to the flour/lard a little at a time until a cohesive ball has formed. You may need more or less water depending on the moisture content of your flour.
- Once you have a rough ball of dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for a minute or two or just until everything is evenly mixed. The dough will be fairly stiff and quite unlike regular bread dough so don’t worry if it is difficult to knead.
- Divid the dough into 8 pieces (for large tortillas) or 12 (for smaller, 6-inch tortillas). Do your best to shape them into balls and let them sit for 30 minutes, covered with a damp towel.
- After the dough has rested it will be much softer and easier to roll out. Roll each ball into a very thin circle (about the thickness of poster board). You can pile the rolled tortillas, one on top of the other until you are finished rolling.
- Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over a medium flame. Once the pan is fully preheated, place one tortilla in at a time. Wait for it to bubble up and turn slightly golden then flip and cook the second side in the same manner (about 30 seconds each side). As each tortilla comes out of the skillet, pile them on a plate and cover with a damp cloth to keep soft and warm.
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Step By Step Photos
Add the lard to the flour in a large bowl. “Smoosh” it in with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Dissolve the salt into the warm water. Add the salt water to the flour/lard a little at a time until a cohesive ball forms.
Turn the rough ball of dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it for a minute or two or just until everything is evenly mixed. The dough feels VERY different than regular bread dough so don’t worry if it’s difficult to knead.
Shape it into a ball.
Divide the dough into 8 or 12 pieces depending on how big you want the tortillas.
Shape each piece into a ball as best you can. The dough is still fairly stiff at this point so don’t worry if they’re not perfect. Cover the balls of dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes
After the rest period, the dough will be much easier to work with. Roll each tortilla out until it is about the thickness of poster board (not quite as thin as paper but not nearly as thick as cardboard).
Stack the tortillas as you roll them out. Once they’re all finished, preheat a heavy skillet over medium heat.
Cook the tortillas one at a time in the hot skillet. Cook on each side until slightly bubbly and lightly golden brown (about 30 seconds each side).
Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp towel to keep them warm and soft until they are all cooked.
If you are a vegetarian, you can substitute vegetable shorting for the lard and get a similar result. I will be posting a low-fat tortilla recipe tomorrow (I wasn’t a fan at first but they have definitely grown on me!!)
I didn’t have lard available to me, so I used canola oil. My dough was soft and stretchy, so the tortillas stretched while I was trying to lay the on the pan, leading to unevenly cooked tortillas. In the end I had to scrap the “make tortillas” plan and just make them into tortilla-like chips.
They were good, if a little lackluster (I’d add more salt, I think). Is my substitution of a liquid fat instead of a solid fat the reason why my recipe failed?
I subbed butter and even added too much water and these still came out amazing. I would definitely follow the photos at the end to see how the tortillas are supposed to look! I ended up cooking mine just a touch too long towards the end. Still a+
Thanks I’m about to make these and have no lard. Butter it is!
Thanks for this recipe. I can’t wait to make burritos with this.
Am I able to freeze the tortillas before I cook them but after I roll them out?
You can, however they could get soggy. A previous commenter noted, “The only problem I’ve had with freezing tortillas (my grocery store sells fresh-made ones, but in fairly big batches for one person to eat) is that when they thaw, parts tend to get soggy. But, that could just be my freezer. Next time when I thaw them, I’m going to stick a paper towel in the bag and see if that prevents sogginess.”
I’ve never attempted to make bread, of any kind, let alone tortillas. This recipe is awesome! The only item I sub’d was vegetable shortening, it was what I had on hand. I am totally impressed that something so simple can taste so dang good, mon cher!! Beth, Thank You for sharing your wholesome, fabulous and inexpensive recipes with us!! I will never buy store bought again <3
I don’t buy Tortillas because they are overpriced and lack any sort of quality/flavor.
.. but I was making fajitas last night and felt that I should serve some tortillas. Normally I make my own bread, so I decided to give this a whirl… && really, how bad could they turn out?
wow wow wow! THIS is the way of the future. they are flakey, flavorful, and just wow.
the first words out of my boyfriends mouth were “the only way that this could be better is if we were stoned.” (which was rather cheeky, for such a clean cut gentleman!)
thanks for such a great starting point!!! I look forward to using this as a base & modifying it to make flavored tortillas for wraps! :-D
Hahahah love it. Fantastic story! :D