Corn, or maize, is a staple ingredient in the traditional diet of Mexico and Central America. Blue, white or yellow maize is ground and treated with a lime water solution to make masa harina, the key ingredient in authentic corn tortillas. The lime solution softens the maize and is an important source of calcium. Corn which is naturally gluten free can be a good choice for those following a gluten free diet.
- Place masa harina and salt in mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Slowly pour water into bowl while mixing with your hand. Mix until a soft dough that sticks together is formed, but is not sticky (you may not need all of the water).
- When dough is mixed, place on clean surface and knead for a few minutes to make sure it is thoroughly combined; do not worry about over mixing. If the dough is too soft and sticky, add a little more masa harina.
- Divide dough into 8 golf-size balls.
- Use a tortilla press to form tortillas. If you do not have a tortilla press, place ball of dough on a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper, fold wrap over ball to cover dough on top. Using a glass pie dish or heavy bottomed pan, place dish on top of dough and press dough firmly and evenly to create a 6-inch (15.2 cm) round tortilla.
- Gently peel plastic wrap from tortilla and repeat with remaining dough balls.
- Preheat pan over medium heat. When several drops of water sprinkled on pan skitter and dissipate, add tortillas (one at a time) and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side until very lightly browned but still soft and pliable.
- Tortillas are best served warm. Place tortilla in a clean cloth and wrap to keep warm until ready to serve.
- If your tortillas have ragged edges after being formed they are too dry, knead in a few tablespoons of water to get the proper consistency.
- These tortillas are the perfect size for a soft taco. If you want a larger taco, divide dough into 6 pieces.
- Serve tortillas as an accompaniment to stew, soups, and grilled meats or fried in the culinary basket to make tortilla chips.
- Tortillas can be made into soft tacos with a meat or fish filling, flautas or tortilla soup.
- Tortillas made with wheat flour are more common in Northern Mexico.