homemade corn tortillas
When it comes time to cook these tortillas just remember: 45 seconds, 60 seconds, then press-and-puff. It’s that easy.
- 1 cup masa harina
- ¾ cup hot tap water (not boiling water)
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cayenne (optional)
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl with your hand. Pour hot tap water into the bowl and continue mixing with your hand until it combines into a dough. Shape it into a ball.It should feel cohesive, like playdough, but might be a little crumbly. If it feels too crumbly, or won't stick together, simply wet your hands and shape it again.Loosely wrap the dough ball in a damp paper towel and let it sit for 15-20 minutes so the dough can fully hydrate.
When the dough is ready, use a kitchen scale to divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, and place them back in the bowl, under the damp paper towel.
Heat your preferred pan (non-stick or cast iron preferred) to medium-high heat. The skillet should be so hot that when you flick a drop of water on it, it sizzles and evaporates almost immediately.
Take one of the pieces of dough, flatten it gently between your palms, and place it in the center of a tortilla press between two sheets of plastic or parchment paper (a quart ziplock bag with the sides split open works well here) and press down to flatten into a disc.If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use two heavy books to press your tortillas. Press hard, you may even need to sit on the books.
Peel your tortilla off the plastic or parchment paper and transfer it to the hot skillet. Cook for 30-45 seconds.
Flip the tortilla over and cook for an additional 60 seconds.
Flip the tortilla over one more time and use your spatula to press down on the center of the tortilla to make it puff up. Let it sit like that for 3-5 seconds.You may find this works better if you use the heel of the spatula, or you may need to press a few times. Some tortillas puff more dramatically than others, so don’t expect a huge balloon — even a gentle sigh of a puff will do. Transfer the tortilla to a clean dishtowel, and loosely wrap the towel around it to let it steam and soften.Repeat with the rest of your tortilla dough.
When all tortillas are cozily nestled in their warm dishtowel, let them sit an additional 15-20 minutes to finish steaming before serving. This is the perfect time to prep any taco toppings.
- If you find you’re making tortillas faster than you’re cooking them, cut a few pieces of parchment paper and transfer the pressed tortillas to them to wait for their turn in the skillet.
- Prep time includes time for the dough to rest before shaping. Cook time includes time for steaming. If you’re really in a rush, you can skip the 15-20 minute pre-shape rest and press the tortillas right away — you may find they’re a little dry, so just use wet hands to shape the dough balls.