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Old 10-26-2006, 06:02 AM   #1
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Tortilla disaster!

I bought a packet of corn flour thinking I'd make tortillas from scratch and have some bean and chicken wraps for dinner. I mad the dough and rolled out the tortillas but they just wouldn't stay! They kept tearing apart. The dough felt like it wasn't well bound so I added a bit of wheat flour. It still didn't work.. So I just made irregular shaped nachos and deep fried them! They tasted good but just too much effort gone waste..
Then the next day I rolled out the remaing flour with corn starch and voila! They rolled out perfectly! I though I'd just cook them on the pan with a little bit of grease.. But after a while they became quite togh
what is the matter with my dough?

I used
1 cup corn flour (not starch)
3 tablespoon oil
and water to bind

is there anything that i must add to the flour. we only get this one type of flour.

that brings me to my next question.. I've come accross varous names of corn flour.. polenta, masa harina..etc whats the difference? are there more varieties?

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Old 10-26-2006, 06:19 AM   #2
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Gosh, Shaheen, I don't know.

Here in the States people generally use masa harina which is a corn flour that follows the Mexican preparation and it is avaliable in many supermarkets, foreign food markets, and on the web.

How it might differ from the corn flour you have I cannot even guess. Perhaps the preparation of the two differs in some way.

Hope someone can shed some light on it for you.
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Old 10-26-2006, 06:42 AM   #3
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Corn tortillas are made from dried corn that has been soaked in alkali solution, usually lime also known as calcium hydroxide. The corn kernels are then ground into a dough called masa in Spanish.
Masa harina is an instant (just add water) product for making masa. The most common one is Maseca. Quaker also makes masa harina and their brand might be easier to find in your neck of the woods.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:26 PM   #4
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Cornflour and corn starch are both thickening agents. The differences are that corn starch is pure starch, has greater thickening capacity and produces clear sauces. Cornflour is a mixture of starch and gluten, has a lesser thickening capacity and produces opaque sauces.

Since your recipe calls for corn flour, it actually refers to masa harina, the explanation of which was given by skilletlicker. I have made tortillas before using masa harina (corn or maize flour) with reasonable success.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:55 PM   #5
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It is also easier to press the tortillas than to try to roll them out. Put a ball of dough inside a heavy plastic bag and flatten it with the bottom of a pan. As skilletlicker said, you do need masa harina though to make the dough. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:01 PM   #6
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Shaheen, masa harina is tough to find here so I make my tortilla shells a bit differently. It may work for you too.

1 cup milk
1 cup (and a bit) flour (AP)
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup cornmeal

You want this mixture to be a bit runny. Then you ladle it into a very hot frying pan and make the "tortilla" like a crepe. Do you need me to be more specific than that? The result is a very pliable tortilla. I realize it is not traditional, but it works for us. The kids love these when I make soft tacos.
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:23 PM   #7
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I just use masa harina and water for corn tortillas -- no oil. I used to use plastic bags and a plate to squish them out, but I bought a tortilla press a long time ago and use that.

If your dough isn't forming correctly, I'd use a different recipe. Getting the dough to be pliable should be quite easy. I'd give you mine but I don't remember it off the top of my head -- it's in a Rick Bayless cookbook.

I then cook them on a griddle about 2 min per side. That's it.

Also, "polenta" is corn meal, not flour.
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Old 10-27-2006, 02:40 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone
THanks Alix i will try that the next time!
I did use a tottilla press but it wasn't thin enough... i still had to roll it out after that. Can someone post their recipe for crispy fried tacos? Thanks!
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Old 10-27-2006, 06:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaheen
Thanks everyone
THanks Alix i will try that the next time!
I did use a tottilla press but it wasn't thin enough... i still had to roll it out after that. Can someone post their recipe for crispy fried tacos? Thanks!
That's why I press mine two at a time separated with some plastic bag or even just brushed with oil where the two sides meet. They come out half thickness.

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Old 10-27-2006, 06:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaheen

I did use a tottilla press but it wasn't thin enough... i still had to roll it out after that. Can someone post their recipe for crispy fried tacos? Thanks!
My press makes them too thick for my taste also. I cut a shim out of a fairly thin cardboard to solve the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaheen

Can someone post their recipe for crispy fried tacos? Thanks!
To make crispy tortilla shells:
  • Shallow fry tortillas, that have already been cooked and cooled, for about 30 seconds on each side.
  • Move to a paper towel then cover with another paper towel (or fold the first one to cover the whole top of the tortilla).
  • Fold the paper towel wrapped tortilla in half.
  • Fill with picadillo or whatever you want.
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