Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Texas Style Tortillas

photo property of Lisa Fain

Sorry it took me so long to post this. If it make you feel any better I wrote this entire post and then accidentally erased it. But all will be forgiven and forgotten when you make these tortillas. They are that good. Like the best tortillas you will ever have outside of my favorite torillarias (is that how you say it or I just want to?) back home in Texas. Now I have had many a tortilla in my days, and I will tell you one thing: they are not created equal. Put those store brand frisbees back on the shelf and out of your cart. This is what you are really searching for. 

I have tried buying tortillas in Maryland. Bad idea. And I have tried making several recipes. Better idea. Finally, I have found it: the perfect recipe. Best. Tortilla. Ever. No kidding. And you don't need a mixer to achieve perfection. I have made them either way with fantastic results. They are just the thing to load full of tender cooked black beans cooked with some onion and chipotle chili, nutty quinoa, corn salsa, creamy avocado and a sprinkle of salty queso cojita.  Goodness, is it lunch time so something? 

Make plans for dinner now and put these tortillas in your line up. You won't regret it. They are straight forward and easy. Even if you are not a bread-maker, you can do this and you should.

Did I mention these are my favorite? I often double the recipe so there are plenty for leftovers and breakfast tacos the next morning. And yes you can do all-white flour, but there is still plenty of gluten to go halvesies, but if you try to swing the other way and go all whole wheat your tortillas will be more brittle and require more liquid.

Texas Style Tortillas
adapted from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison

cup of all-purpose flour 
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3/4 cups of warm milk (feel free to use prepared powdered milk here)

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.
Slowly add the warm milk.
Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)
After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.
In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.
Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.
Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.
While you probably won’t have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.

Makes eight tortillas.

Have you made these yet? I would love to hear about your results.


  1. I think I will absolutely have to try these--delicious! I have tried homemade tortillas without great results.

  2. I haven't been to Texas in almost 5 years, and I am dying for real tortillas. I dream about Alamo Cafe at least a few times a week. I have tried making tortillas myself a few times, and ended up with either puffy donuts or hockey pucks. I will have to try yours!

    I have been surviving with Costco's refrigerated cook-them-yourself tortillas. They are pretty dang good!

    Now if only I could perfect the queso. I snuck a peek at the real Alamo Cafe recipe when I worked there, but haven't been able to pull it off myself. American cheese, enchilada sauce, milk and lime juice. Heaven in a bowl.

  3. I was just asking your mom if she had ever made tortillas because i think the store ones are so disgusting and don't even taste like tortillas. I am looking forward to trying them!

  4. Thank you for posting this recipe! I have tried different tortilla recipes and I finally think I know what I'm doing wrong!

  5. These are sooo delicious. WE ate them last friday night and then I ate them for breakfast the next morning. yum!

  6. How did I miss this post? I am going to try these soon.


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