The best Tortillas Recipe
Flour tortillas are the centerpiece of Northern Mexican cuisine. Rich in lard and whole milk, these flour tortillas are airy, tender and subtly sweet.
In Mexico habits are split between those who make their own flour tortillas and those who buy them, in the U.S. it’s clearer: just as most people go to a grocery store to buy bagels or sourdough, they rarely, if ever, make fresh tortillas from scratch.
And while I encourage everyone to dive into the world of sourdough, I think there’s a much more compelling argument for homemade flour tortillas, which are one of the easiest and most accessible types of bread you can make at home, with results far superior to almost anything sold in American stores.
One reason for this is the short list of ingredients. In their most basic form, Northern Mexican tortillas are made with flour, water, fat and salt. You will never find spinach or whole wheat tortillas in Northern Mexico, as these ingredients take away from the essential flavor of the flour and fat.
Still, there are small but important differences in the way they are prepared. For example, my mother’s family uses milk to make the dish richer and, thanks to the proteins and sugar in the milk, to make the tortillas brown better when cooked. They also use a touch of sugar for a balanced sweetness, because lard – the traditional fat used in flour tortillas – is very flavorful. Other tortilla makers simply use water and omit the sugar.
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