Sunday, April 11, 2010

corn tortillas, Paul's Recipe

Maybe a couple years ago, Paul moved to Los Angeles.  Maybe a couple days ago he sent me the following email:

"I never buy pre-made corn tortillas anymore..."

with the following picture attached:

I responded thusly:

"tell me how you make them.  I'm making bread again, pain de mie"

Then Paul sent me his recipe:

ok.. well. i use the instant corn masa flour, so get a 4 pound bag. you need a lot for practice.  i am using the rick bayless recipe as a loose base for what mine developed into over the last 2 months.  
1. pour like 2 cups of the masa flour into a bowl with a big pinch of salt.
2. add water until you get the consistency of icebox cookie dough or sugar cookie dough.  too dry or wet? the shit is easy to fix.  you'll know jono, you'll just know what's right here.
3. roll into balls no bigger than a smaller golfball
4. take your thickest sandwich bag and cut the sides so it opens like a book. cut off the ziplock too.
5. put a ball of dough between the sheets of plastic and roll with a pin until even thickness which is important.  they can be thick or thin, as long as they are consistent.  you'll find your size.. mine are slightly thicker than traditional store specs.
6. oops! meanwhile you should have 2 dry cast iron pans on the stove. one at low heat and one at the white hottest.
7. peel the top layer of plastic off the tortilla and turn it over placing the tortilla side on the palm of your hand with about an inch of the tortilla "hanging over".
8. peel off the top plastic and "lay" the tortilla into  the cooler pan. 20 seconds or so on each side to "set" the tortilla. burn your hands.
9. now the fun part. 30 seconds on each side in the hot as hell pan, maybe 40 if you want more burnt character.  if you did everything just right, the tortilla will soufle!  i've had them blow up like a football..
10. i make a batch and then fry them in a little canola before eating.. 
11. buying a tortilla press would make this a whole fucking lot easier and i don't know why i haven't since they're all over the place out here. 
 good luck! if you get into this- you will make some beautiful tortillas. -paul

Thanks, Paul.  


earl parker said...

I've eaten the (damn) things! Not bad, considering I've only bought pre-made corn tortillas a couple times in life: I always felt, thought they were too rubbery. Of course, under my weekly inspections, and subject to "terms of guaranteed progress" I can see chef Simms "Austin style breakfast tacos" breaking new ground here in the Southland, but not yet of course. A difficult thing to master, I'm sure.

Douglas said...

Nice work, Paul. I can now see a whole lot of my time being spent trying to make these, swearing my head off, burning my fingers off, and so on and so on and so on. Because you sure as shit can't buy a decent tortilla in England.