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Homemade Flour Tortillas

Every other day, grandma used to make her famous homemade flour tortillas. As soon as I entered grandma’s kitchen, I could smell that special aroma that only comes from freshly made tortillas. If you’ve ever had the luxury of being in a kitchen when tortillas are cooking on the comal (cast iron skillet), you know what I’m talking about. I remember rubbing a stick of butter on my warm tortilla and watching the butter melt. I’d quickly roll the tortilla and eat it; sometimes the butter would run down my arm which was okay because I would just lick it right off.

I remember running to grandma’s house after school, knowing that she would be rolling and cooking tortillas. She would give me a small ball of dough, and I’d roll out my own tortilla. Mine was always shaped like an oval, never perfectly round like grandma’s. My favorite way to eat a fresh warm tortilla is with a dollop of salsa casera, lightly salted, and rolled into one perfect spicy burrito.

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Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/8 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon lard or shortening

1 1/4 cups warm water

Directions:

1. Place a comal (griddle or cast-iron skillet) over medium heat and allow it to heat up.

2. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add the lard or shortening, and combine until you have the consistency of small crumbs.

3. Add the warm water and mix well with your hand. The mixture may be a little sticky. Knead on a cutting board or smooth counter until dough is pliable and springy. Sprinkle with flour if dough is too sticky.

4. Form 2- to 2 1/2-inch dough balls. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough balls to form 7- to 8-inch disks. If dough is sticky, sprinkle board and rolling pin with flour to make it easier to roll out the dough.

5. As you roll out each disk, place on the hot comal to cook, it will take 1 minute or less on each side. After cooking the first side, turn tortilla over and let it cook on the opposite side; when tortilla starts to form air pockets press down gently on it with a wooden tortilla press or rolled up kitchen towel (like grandma did) to release the air. Don’t press too much, or it will make tough tortillas.

6. Keep the tortillas warm in a tortilla warmer or under a clean dish towel. Leftover tortillas can be refrigerated in a plastic bag.

Makes 13 to 14 (7- to 8-inch) tortillas

Recipe from the Muy Bueno Cookbook

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