A homemade flour tortilla is true love to me. Soft, warm, tender, as comforting as a billowy down quilt on a cold winters day. Flour tortillas are a staple of the Mexican table as are biscuits and cornbread are to the Southern table. Turning up at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A perfect snack reheated over the gas flame of the stove. Slightly scorched and then slathered with butter. The taste and texture of a manufactured flour tortilla can’t touch the made from scratch homemade flour tortillas.
Growing up I knew nothing of “store bought” flour tortillas. My grandma and mom always made flour tortilla from scratch. This was norm when making Mexican food for your family. Even though my mom had a family of 11 to prepare food for, it never was hard or a bother to make fresh flour tortillas. I found this to be true also of Mexican cafes and restaurants I’d frequent in the 15 years I live in San Antonio, Texas. I could walk a few blocks from my home on Mission Street in the King William District to one of my favorite mom and pop Mexican cafes, Taco Haven owned and operated by the Torres family. As I entered into the doors of Taco Haven, I would be greeted with the perfumed air of “grandma’s cooking” along with the sounds of Tejano music playing from the jukebox. I was a little kid again going to grandma’s house. Every flour tortilla was made to order. Fresh, warm, soft, and delicious and the flour tortilla complemented each filling it was wrapped around. My filling choices were always the same. Bean and Cheese, Potato and Egg, Bacon and egg, and Carne Guisada. My order would come to the table where I add a squeeze of pureed canned jalapenos to the inside before taking that first satisfying bite.
The ingredients are simple: All Purpose Flour, Fat, Baking Powder, Salt, and Water. It is the proportion of these ingredients, water temperature, and technique for mixing that give you the best results for soft and tender flour tortillas.
I use Leaf lard as the fat of choice for my tortillas. I purchase the rendered lard from my local Mexican market. Lard provides a richer flavor in the tortilla and was my grandmothers choice when doing any cooking or baking. Keep the lard cold before you measure it as it melts at room temperture. Any fat though can be used in the recipe, such as butter, vegetable oil, light olive oil, or coconut oil. The texture and taste will change slightly in the tortillas based on the fat you choose. Click here to purchase Leaf Lard online.
As you follow the recipe please watch for the bolded notes. I also give you the choice of measuring or weighing the ingredients. Weighing is preferred when baking. This will help insure the best results.
The complete instructional video for making the Homemade Flour Tortillas is located at the bottom of this post. Please visit my YouTube Channel “Just One Bite, Please?” for this and more videos.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons or Electronic Scale
- Mixing Bowl
- Plastic Bowl Scraper
- Stainless Steel Dough Scraper
- Wooden Rolling Pin
- Cast Iron 14″ Griddle or Pan
- Kitchen Towels (for wrapping the freshly griddle tortillas)
Flour Tortillas (Yields 8 Tortillas)
- Measured Grams Ingredients
- 3 cups 422 g. All Purpose Flour (King Arthur)
- 1 Tbsp. 10 g. Baking Powder
- 1 tsp 8 g. Sea Salt (finely ground)
- 1/3 cup 65 g. Fat (Lard or Vegetable Shortening)
- 1-1/4 cup 284 g. Hot Water (130°F or 54°C)
Mixing the Tortillas:
- In the mixing bowl combine the all purpose flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix with a fork to combine the dry ingredients.
- Add the fat to the dry ingredients and cut the fat with the fork into the flour mixture until it forms pea size pieces of fat.
- Using your hands rub and squeeze to enrobe the flour with fat. Do this until there are no signs of fat and the mixture will hold when squeezed in your hand. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
- Add the hot water (130°F or 54°C) to the well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir until well combined with a fork. The dough will be sticky.
- Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto your work surface. Knead with one hand for 6 to 8 minutes to develop the gluten. Using the plastic bowl scrape in the other hand to clean your kneading hand and gather the dough from the work surface. (NOTE: Do not put any flour down while your are kneading. The dough will be sticky)
- When the dough becomes strong enough you can stretched it from the work surface without it tearing you are done kneading. Gather the dough into a ball using the plastic dough scrape and cover with the mixing bowl and let rest for 20 minutes.
Pre-shaping, Rolling, and Cooking the Flour Tortillas
- After 20 minutes of resting the dough, divided the dough into 8 pieces and pre-shape into tight round balls. No extra flour should be used for this process.
- Place the rounded pieces of dough onto the work surface and cover the with plastic wrap.
- Rest the dough, covered for 15 minutes.
Final Shaping and Rolling:
- Preheat the cast iron griddle or pan on medium to medium high heat while dough is resting from step 8 of mixing. Drops of water should dance across the surface and evaporate quickly.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, keeping the other pieces covered with the plastic wrap as to not let a skin to form.
- Flour the work surface, dip the rounded piece of dough into flour, place the dough onto the rolling surface and sprinkle flour on top the of dough.
- With your fingers start flattening out the dough until it is a disk about 3 inches across.
- Roll the disk of dough out, turning it an 1/8th of a turn with each roll. This will keep the disk round as possible. (NOTE: The tortilla will taste just as delicious if it isn’t perfectly round)
- Roll until the disk is about 8 inches and 1/8th of inch thick. Pay attention to keeping the thickness the same across the tortilla.
- Place the rolled tortillas on a work surface while rolling the remaining tortillas.
- Once all the tortillas have been rolled you’ll be ready to cook them on the preheated cast iron griddle or pan.
- Place a tortilla on to the preheated cast iron griddle or pan on first side until you see bubbles forming on the surface. This should take about 1 minute or so. Adjust the heat if the tortilla cooks to fast (too hot) or is taking to long to cook (too cool). The surface should become whiter in color with small blisters and the bottom should be lightly caramelized and brown.
- Flip the tortilla over and cook the second side for about 1 minute. Cook until the bubbles on the underside of the tortilla are golden brown.
- Remove the tortilla from the griddle and wrap and stack the freshly griddle tortillas in a clean kitchen towel. Keep warm to serve.
- Store uneaten tortillas in a airtight plastic bag. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Reheating the Flour Tortillas
- Tortilla are best reheated over a medium gas flame on your stove top.
- Heating and flipping each side until the tortilla become soft and hot. A few areas might get dark brown blisters this is desired when reheating.