Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pressing Matters

Back in May I experimented with making my own corn tortillas. They tasted much better than the ones from the store, but rolling out the dough out to a consistent thinness and shape by hand was a bit of a challenge. Over the summer I saw an article about tortilla presses in a local food magazine, and put that on my mental list of things to buy.

I should have transferred my thoughts to a physical list, because it took me until last month to take action on it.  In between Christmas and New Year's, though, Hubby Tony and I made a trip to the "Little Mexico" section of St. Louis on Cherokee Street, and I popped into a market to look at their selection of tortilla presses.
There were four types: plastic, wood, aluminum and cast iron. I quickly decided the plastic models didn't look sturdy, and the wood models were too big to store. That left aluminum (which were shiny silver) and the cast iron (with an electrostatic black coating). I couldn't decide which type to get, so I brought both up to the cashier and asked him which one was better. I suspect his English wasn't very good and he didn't know what I was asking, but when he pointed to the cast iron one I made up my mind.

Today I used the press for the first time.  First I made the dough (a mixture of masa harina, salt, and water), divided it into portions, then rolled the portions into balls. Next I put a piece of plastic wrap on the base of the press, placed a ball of dough in the center of the base, then covered it with another piece of plastic wrap and pulled down the top of the press to smash the ball into a tortilla.

Holy Cow! I ended up with a perfectly flat round. I did it again and again, with the same results. The tortillas got cooked in a hot frying pan for a minute on each side, then piled on a plate.  They tasted great topped with pulled pork, Mexican cole slaw, avocado dressing, and salsa.

And since I still have 2/3 of a bag of masa left, I see more tortilla-making in my future!

Five years ago today: New Thing #9--Popcorn on a String


  1. Oh yummy! That sounds wonderful!

  2. What a good idea, I love tortillas but I have never made my own.. you are prompting me to buy a gadget :-) always a good thing