In this recipe, handmade flour tortillas are made with a surprising tip that enables you to shape the tortilla with ease using a tortilla press that would typically be used for making corn tortillas!
There are a few basic ways to make tortillas, and this is really more of a technique than a recipe. I’ve gathered tips from all over, but have found that I have a great tip of my own to add.
Due to the gluten in flour, flour tortillas are most commonly made by rolling out the dough with a rolling pin. That means that I tend to end up with tortillas shaped like continents, my hand, or even hearts, rather than beautiful circles.
Cake flour is lower in gluten and produces a very tender, flaky tortilla. The lower gluten content means that the dough can spread easily in a tortilla press without snapping back as a dough made with all-purpose flour would.
Follow this technique by using a tortilla press, or try using cake flour the next time you make flour tortillas, even if you're using the rolling pin method -- it will make quick work of this delicious treat. —AngelinaLaRue
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: AngelinaLaRue might be fairly new to Food52, but she is not new to tortilla-making.
WHAT: Light and pillowy tortillas that can -- and should -- be eaten like pita, English muffins, and lavash. Flatbreads of the world, unite.
HOW: Make a standard tortilla dough, but replace the all-purpose flour with cake flour. Use a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap to shape the tortillas, then cook them on a hot griddle.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Funny-shaped tortillas can be endearing, but they also can be frustrating. This ingenious technique for forming perfectly circular flour tortillas using cake flour and a tortilla press allows you to put away that pesky rolling pin, and it means you'll have neater tacos and quesadillas, too. And even if you don't use a tortilla press (we didn't!), the fluffiness of these tortillas is enough to make this recipe special. —The Editors
In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening with your hands until well incorporated. Start adding water a little at a time until you reach a smooth consistency, being cautious that the dough does not become too sticky.
Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Cover dough with damp paper towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Divide dough into 8 balls and let them rest for a few minutes while you prepare the tortilla press.
Preheat a griddle, comal, or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Shape the tortillas: If you're using a press, cut off two pieces of plastic wrap about the size of your tortilla press. (I like to cut a quart-size zip-top freezer bag apart to use in place of plastic wrap, but either works well.) Lay one piece of plastic onto the bottom plate of the press. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray (or coat lightly with oil). Place one dough ball onto the center (or a little higher) of the plate. Press with fingertips to flatten into a little disk. Lightly spray the other piece of plastic with non-stick cooking spray and place on top of dough.
Close the top plate over the dough and press the handle to flatten the dough. You will see it peek out of the edges of the press. Peel off the top plastic layer, and lift the tortilla with the bottom plastic attached, laying it across your palm. Gently peel plastic back while draping the tortilla out over your other palm. (Separate the dough from the plastic by nudging it with your thumb, if need be, then peel the plastic off.) If you don't have a tortilla press, you can take the more traditional route and use a rolling pin to roll out these tortillas.
Place the tortilla on the dry, preheated griddle, comal, or cast iron skillet. When bubbles start to form, continue cooking for about 30 seconds. Flip, and repeat. Continue with each tortilla and keep them warm in aluminum foil in the oven, set at 200° F.