Corn has been Mexico’s staple food for thousands of years. Without nixtamalized corn (fermented) and beans, it’s fair to say ancient Mexicans would not have been able to sustain themselves. Today, with so many more options available, the corn tortilla still rules Mexican cuisine. Although decent corn tortillas can be purchased at local markets, they don’t come close to the fragrance and soft-pull of warm homemade tortillas. Corn tortillas are usually doubled-up to wrap warm and juicy fillings. In Oaxaca, they’re made extra large and used to make “Mexican pizza” called Oaxacan Tlayudas (Waa-HAAK-Kahn Lie-Yoo-Das).
- Large skillet or griddle
- Tortilla press or rolling pin
- Parchment paper or gallon-size ziploc freezer bag
- Large mixing bowl
- 2 cups Masa harina (corn flour)
- ⅛ tsp Kosher salt
- 2 cups Warm water
- Prep – Heat skillet over medium heat until very hot. Cut 2 pieces parchment paper around the size of a tortilla press (or a plastic bag with top and sides cut). Lightly moisten 2 clean kitchen towels. Preheat oven to 200°F (95°C).
- Make Dough – In a large mixing bowl, mix corn flour, salt, and water. Knead in a circular motion until all lumps are gone and dough feels smooth. Cover bowl with a moist kitchen towel and let sit for 1 hour.
- Make Tortillas – One at a time, divide dough into 10 equal pieces and form into balls about 1½-inch in diameter. Place one piece of cut parchment paper on the bottom of tortilla press, shiny side up. Place a dough ball in the middle and lay the second piece of cut parchment over the ball, shiny side down. Close press to form a 5-6-inch round, ⅛-inch thick disk. A rolling pin may be used instead of a tortilla press. Cook individual tortillas and place in oven wrapped in a moistened towel to stay warm. See NOTES to make large tortillas for Tlayudas.
- Cook Tortillas – Open tortilla press and remove top paper or plastic bag. Lift the bottom paper with tortilla with one hand. Peel tortilla from paper with other, laying it on the hot skillet or griddle.Leave untouched for 30 seconds. Flip with a spatula and cook for 1 minute until brown spots begin to form on the bottom. Turn over again and after 10 to 15 seconds some or all of the tortilla should puff up. If it doesn't, poke middle with your finger to "remind" it. Cook for another 15 to 20 seconds after puffs. Remove towel, wrap, and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat process until all the dough is gone. Wrapped tortillas can be eaten the same day. The towel-wrapped tortillas may be sealed in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator for up-to 3 days. Reheat in a hot skillet for 30 seconds on each side.
- Extra tortillas freeze well and can be kept frozen for months.
- Use same recipe to make 3 extra-large tortillas except divide dough into 3 balls, roll tortillas with a rolling pin instead of a tortilla press, and make balls into 16-inch disks.