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Instead of making masa with masa harina and water, you can often buy fresh masa in Mexican grocery stores. These are so much better than store bought tortillas, but take a bit of practice to get the process right.
- Please note: the difference between ¼ cup and 1/3 cup, while only 4 teaspoons, can be critical.
- Mix the Masa Harina and the water; knead to form your masa (dough).
- Pinch off a golf-ball sized piece of masa and roll it into a ball.
- Set the masa on a piece of plastic in the tortilla press; cover with another piece of plastic.
- Press the masa.
- Transfer the tortilla to a hot, dry cast iron skillet.
- Cook for about 30 seconds on one side; gently turn.
- Cook for about 60 seconds (it should puff slightly); turn back to the first side Cook for another 30 seconds on the first side Remove and keep the tortilla warm.
- Notes: When mixing the masa, mix all the Masa Harina with 1-¼ cup of the water.
- You can work it with your hands, if you like.
- If it seems too dry, add additional water, a teaspoon at a time.
- Too much water, and you wont be able to peel the plastic off the tortilla; too little and your tortilla will be dry and crumbly.
- Unlike pastry dough, masa does not suffer from being over-handled.
- The masa will dry out quickly.
- Keep it covered with a piece of plastic wrap while making your tortillas.
- Cut up sandwich or freezer bags (best) work better than the flimsier plastic wrap or waxed paper.
- Hold the pressed tortilla (with the plastic on both sides) in one hand.
- Peel away the top plastic from the tortilla (not the tortilla from the plastic).
- Flip it over into your other hand, and peel away the other piece of plastic.
- Gently place the tortilla on the hot skillet or griddle.
- It should make a soft sizzling sound when you do.
- If your tortillas are not perfect circles, dont worry; they will still taste wonderful.
- If your skillet or griddle is at the right temperature, a tortilla can be cooked in no more than 2 minutes.
- The use of cast-iron skillet is important.
- You are cooking at high heat on a dry surface, and a lighter-weight utensil could warp.
- Brown spots on your tortillas are good.
- Put your hot tortillas in an aluminum foil pouch wrapped in a kitchen towel or napkin.
- You want them to stay hot and tender.
- Corn tortillas can be made 2 hours in advance, wrapped and reheated.
- Bake, in a 350°F oven for about 12 minutes.