Like most (?) toddlers, my oldest son is rather enamored with quesadilla.
We play around with ingredients, but even just plain old’ cheese is almost always a surefire hit for lunch or dinner.
So, one day I decided it was high time I tried making my own tortillas, and boy am I ever glad I did. This hasn’t ended up meaning we never buy tortillas, but these are an easy way to make a meal that much more delicious.
I was a little intimidated about it since I don’t have a tortilla press, but, at least for this sort of tortilla, I was fine without. The final product is almost naan-like with its delicious char, and would work for just about any application where you’d use a tortilla or flat-bread, be they quesadilla, tacos, fajitas, wraps, gyros, or even mini-pizzas.
Of course, the best part (other than the low cost) is that this is really easy, and something where you can definitely find a way for your kid(s) to “help.”
NOTE: I actually doubled this recipe, and it worked great. It made more, and I had enough dough to let Tucker “help” with his own lump of dough to play with, and it let me not worry if it took one or two tries to get the cooking time/technique down. Adjust thickness and cooking time as necessary, depending on how you want them.
Simple Homemade Flour Tortillas
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (I used NoSalt, a low-sodium substitute, and it still worked great)
1/4 c room temperature fat of some kind (lard, butter, margarine, shortening, whatever) I used Smart Balance, but Crisco would be a great choice.
3/4 c hot water (near boiling)
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl with whisk or fork, and in a seperate bowl or measuring cup soften your choice of fat in the hot water if necessary.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix the dough together by hand until very consistent, making sure to work the fat in very well.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough by hand for 5-6 minutes.
Divide dough into about 8 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a round ball. Cover with a tea towel or inverted bowl as you work. Let them sit for 20 minutes.
Heat a cast iron skillet well, at medium-high heat. DO NOT grease the pan.
Take a single ball and press it with your hand into a flat circle. On your lightly floured surface, take your rolling pin and flatten the dough into a nice large circle (roughly… no need to be a perfect circle IMO), so the dough is about 1/8 of an inch thick. You can flatten all of the tortillas at once and spread them out as long as you have the space. If not, flatten and cook the tortillas one at a time. If you have a tortilla press you can, of course, use it instead.
One at a time, carefully place the flattened dough discs into the hot skillet, being sure there are no folds or bumps. Wait about 30 seconds, and flip it over with a spatula–you’ll notice nice little brown spots all over. After you flip, let it cook for another 15-30 seconds and pull the tortilla off the pan. Keep warm under a tea towel while you make the rest the same way. If you’re not eating right away, I suggest wrapping your bundle of finished tortillas in foil or a tea-towel and putting them in a warm oven.