Last week I shared the recipe for elk fajitas, and a couple of friends mentioned homemade tortillas. One said his wife always makes them with the fajitas, and others asked if I knew how, so I thought I’d just share the recipe my father taught me.
I grew up in a small ranch house. My parents lived as hippies, much different than those you see today. They grew a garden, hunted and fished for meat, created and repaired clothing on the sewing machine, and even cooked on a wood-burning cook stove.
NO. I didn’t grow up in the pioneer days (I’m not THAT old). My parents shared a blessed life with me and taught me that I could survive off the land and with meager options. This is something lost to most people in present-day America. I feel blessed to have learned these ways.
You won’t need a wood burner to make the tortillas. I wanted to let you know how I learned to cook the tortillas. What you will need is a castiron comal (griddle).
My great-grandmother taught my dad to make tortillas, and he taught me. When we made them, we used “two scoops of this, a pinch of that, ….” I’ve attempted to hone the measurements to make it simpler for you.
Homemade Flour Tortillas
- Cast iron skillet
- 2 heaping cups white flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons cooled bacon grease
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups hot water (The hotter the better. Make it as hot as you can stand to put your hand in for kneading.)
- Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Ad the bacon grease and cut it in with a pastry cutter or fork. Gradually add the water in scant amounts, kneading it thoroughly into the flour mixture until it’s absorbed. Then add a small amount more of the water, repeating the kneading until you’ve added enough water to make the dough somewhat sticky.Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on a clean dry surface until it becomes elastic in texture. Divide the dough in half, then in half again, and again, until you have multiple balls that are approximately 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Smash the ball with the palm of your hand so it’s about the size of a biscuit (not flat, flat). Place the dough back into the bowl and cover it with a towel. This will keep the dough from drying out.Pre-heat your comal over medium-high heat.Spread a thin layer of flour on your clean, dry work surface and also on your rolling pin. Take one of your dough patties and roll it into a round tortilla shape. (Mind you, round tortillas are sometimes tricky to make, but you’ll get better with practice. No worried if yours looks like Texas or Alaska. Your family will love them anyway.)After you’ve rolled the tortilla out, place it on your pre-heated comal. Cook it until you see the flat dough form bubble-like features then flip it over. It should have a golden color. Cook the other side until it’s golden as well.Have a dishtowel or floursack folded and ready. Place your cooked tortilla between the folds to keep it soft and warm. Repeat the process with the remainder of the dough patties.Serve them with your favorite dinner or top it with butter or jelly while they’re hot.Homemade tortillas are best when they’re served right away, but if you’d like to store them you can. Wait until the initial head has gone from your towel or sack then place the entire thing into a large ziplock bag or wrap it with aluminum foil. You can also take the option of spending your money on a tortilla warmer. It’s up to you.