In San Diego, if you are craving a good tortilla there are listless places to get your hands on one. I mean it sits on the border of Mexico, it would just be wrong if tgood ortillas in San Diego weren’t plentiful. You can even buy decent uncooked tortillas in the grocery store and take them home and make some fresh for yourself without having to lift a rolling pin. This is not the case in Puerto Rico. The only thing on the shelves at the grocery store are those cardboard-like Mission brand tortillas and the likes there of. Call me picky, but I can’t bring myself to buy something that I know I’m going to immediately regret putting in my mouth as I suffer through the dry, stiff wrapper to get to whatever I decided to throw in the middle. Simply not worth it. Fortunately though, getting my hands on the necessary ingredients to whip up a quick batch is no problem at all! Tortilla’s are super simple to make and cook up in a jiffy. The hardest part is rolling them into an actual circle and making sure not to over cook them. That and to avoid not eating them all!
I was feeling photographically motivated so I left my comfort zone and actually snapped off a couple of shots of the process for you guys too. Enjoy!
The dough balls needed to take a rest.
Rolled and ready to hit the pan!
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/4 cup lard
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup hot tap water, plus extra if needed
Place flour into a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, work the lard into the flour until it's completely incorporated. Dissolve salt into hot water. Pour hot water-salt mixture into the dough and stir using a spoon until nearly all of the flour has been worked in. If a large amount of flour remains and the dough mixture is still stiff add a small amount more water. Turn dough out on to a flat surface and knead until smooth. Dough should be more stiff than bread but not too firm.
Divide dough into 12 equal-sized balls. This is most easily done by shaping the dough into a ball then cutting it in half. Shape each of those halves into balls and cut each of those in half. Shape the four pieces of dough into a cylinder of equal width then cut each cylinder into thirds to form 12 equally sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Place dough balls on a place and cover with plastic wrap. Let set for at least 30 minutes to make the dough easier to work with.
Preheat a large skillet or griddle to medium to medium-high heat.
On a lightly floured surface using a floured rolling pin, roll out 1 dough ball into a tortilla. Begin by flattening the dough with your hand into disc. Sprinkle the top of the disc with flour. Roll the disc with the pin, then turn the dough 1/6 of a rotation. Continue rolling and rotating until you have formed an approximately 7 to 8 inch tortilla.
Carefully transfer the tortilla and place on the preheated pan. Cook tortilla for approximately 30-40 seconds until the tortilla begins to bubble and toasts in a few places. Turn tortilla over and cook for another approximately 30 seconds until tortilla is puffed. It is very important not to over cook the tortillas or they will be the texture of cardboard. Remove the tortilla from the heat and wrap in a kitchen towel laying flat.
Repeat the rolling/cooking process with the rest of the tortillas. Keep tortillas wrapped in a towel and place either in a tortilla holder or in a loosely tied plastic bag so that they retain their moisture while cooling. Best if served immediately.
Note: If you are quick & good at doing two things at once, you can roll out 1 tortilla while the other in the pan is cooking but there are only 30 seconds between when the tortilla goes into the pan and has to be flipped. It's better to focus on 1 tortilla at a time if not so that the quality of the tortillas aren't compromised.