5:01 AM

Anatomy of a Burrito (Part 3): Tortillas

Posted by Nicole |

Next in our Mexican Fiesta recipe series is a staple for many south of the border food fans, tortillas! I suppose this should have been the start of our burrito series, but we just weren't there yet! Now we can say, "been there, done that."

This weekend, Heather and I soaked flour overnight with water, whey and oil and the next day got together to make, roll and cook stacks of tortillas! Why would we go through all of this when you can get packs of tortillas from any grocery store/Costco - some even with whole wheat flour? Well as we described last week, we are soaking our grains in order to make them more nutritious and easier to digest. So when burritos came up on the menu we needed an alternative to processed tortillas which besides not being soaked, are filled with preservatives. So we found a recipe and went for it!

We made a lot of tortillas, enough to freeze several meals worth. So we each started with;
  • 12 cups of whole wheat flour - what type of flour used does alter the end product (more on that below)

  • 4 cups warm filtered water

  • 4 tbsp whey, yogurt or other acid medium

  • 1 cup of oil - I used half coconut oil, melted and half olive oil. Heather used all olive oil. Ghee or butter might be our choice next time for the taste.

The above mixture soaked overnight. The next afternoon we sprinkled over the top of each bowl;

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 4 tsp sea salt

Then we kneaded the dough (we realized working with halves was easier than the whole amount of dough) until it was smooth and the salt was incorporated, probably 5 minutes. Then we let the dough rest about 10 minutes. This really helps relax the flour, especially when working with whole wheat, this is a great tip.

Next we divided the two large segments into small round balls of dough, about the size of a golf ball (we didn't make large burrito size, more like taco size tortillas). We preheated an electric griddle and two frying pans to high. Once we had portioned out the dough, we started with the first balls (they had rested again while the rest of the dough was formed into balls) rolling them into flat disks, as round as possible, about 1/8 inch thick. Then we cooked each tortilla about 1 minute on each side, until the air bubbles that formed were browned. Then we flipped and cooked the next side, probably a little less time as the second side cooks faster. Then we started stacking, and stacking, and stacking... I think we each ended up with about 60 tortillas! And really from start to finish it didn't take as long as we worried it might! And well worth the effort, and we have a freezer full of burritos in the making!

A few points looking back. We read a review of the original recipe we based ours from and the point was made that whole wheat pastry flour gave a crumbly result. So I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour. According to the package, this is dark northern hard red spring wheat. My tortillas were not crumbly at all and if anything were a little heavy. This might have been the addition of too much flour during rolling/kneading but given Heather's results I think it was the flour. Heather also used whole wheat flour although the actual grain name was not listed on the package. Her flour was marked as "chapatti flour." Chapatti's are an Indian flat bread, basically a tortilla. They are made regularly at home like tortillas in Mexico and are eaten like bread, with eggs, curries, and many other dishes. Her tortillas were much lighter in color than mine and were more tender. From a little research online, this type of flour is ground more fine than stone ground whole wheat like I used and thus a little of the bran has been sifted, but it is still considered whole wheat. I think I will look for this type of flour next time as it resulted in a softer tortilla.

All in all, we had a successful day and are enjoying the fruits of our labor with a side of Mexican Rice and Refried Beans - Yum!!

Stay tuned in the Anatomy of a Burrito Series - we're not done yet! What would a burrito be without toppings?! Until next time... Bon Appetite!


Richrd said...

Keep up the good work. I ran across your blog and enjoy very much. Have you looked at the tamale yet? Inspired by my mexican friends I am looking for recipe without lard.


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