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The Ultimate Corn Tortillas

from Fall Means Chili Weather

A comal or cast-iron griddle is traditional for baking tortillas.

2 cups masa harina
2 to 3 tablespoons unbleached flour (optional )
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ to 1 cups warm water

In a medium bowl, whisk or stir together the masa, flour and salt.

Gradually add liquid and mix, using a wooden spoon or spatula and wet hands to prevent sticking, until the ingredients are well-blended. Knead for 20 to 30 seconds until dough is pliable. The dough should be moist enough to hold together. Add additional warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. If dough is too moist, it will be difficult to peel tortillas from the liner. Knead in a bit more masa.

Divide the dough into 12 golf-ball-size orbs, shaping with your hands. Place into bowl and cover with damp towel to keep moist.

Heat a comal or griddle to 375°F. The surface is ready when a sprinkle of water “dances” on the hot surface. Use a wad of paper towel to spread a light layer of vegetable oil on the cooking surface.

To press a tortilla, line the bottom plate with parchment paper. Cut parchment paper into pieces that fit the press but overlap the sides.

Using fingers and palms, flatten a ball of masa into a thick disc, 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Place off center, a bit toward the hinge, of the lined bottom plate.

Center a second piece of parchment paper or plastic shopping bag over the masa.

Firmly press down the top plate. Wiggle the press handle slightly from side to side to evenly distribute the masa. Lift the top plate. Rotate the tortilla a half turn and firmly press again to make a 6-inch tortilla as thin as possible.

Lift off the top piece of parchment. Flip the tortilla into your other hand and peel off remaining layer. Use a spatula or fingers to flip the tortilla onto a heated comal or griddle.

Cook the tortilla for about 15 seconds. This step sets the dough. Flip the tortilla and cook for about 1 minute. Flip the tortilla again and cook for about 1 minute longer on the first side. The tortilla should puff a bit and have a few brown spots. Transfer to a tortilla warmer to keep the tortillas warm, soft and supple. Repeat with remaining masa balls.

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