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MAIZE TORTILLAS Maize tortillas
275 g fine corn flour, preferably masa harina
or
200 g coarse corn flour and 100 g wheat flour
(pinch of salt)
about 300 ml warm water

Masa harina dough Pour the flour(s) in a bowl (and mix in the salt). Start adding water, stirring and kneading the mixture to form a soft dough. The dough should feel like soft clay, but not be sticky. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for about one hour.

Divide the dough into about 14 to 16 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Place one ball at a time between two sheets of sturdy plastic, eg a thick freezer bag cut open. Flatten the balls into thin tortillas, either by using a rolling pin or  —  more preferably  —  a tortilla press. (The Finnish tapered rolling pin is a perfect tool for rolling out thin circle shapes.) Keep the dough balls covered with plastic while you work, as they will quickly dry out.

Heat a pan  —  preferably of cast iron  —  over medium heat. Do not add any oil or fat.

Take one tortilla at a time, remove the top plastic sheet covering it (it should peel off easily, otherwise your dough is too soft and sticky), flip it onto your other hand, peel off the other plastic sheet and place the tortilla in the hot pan.

Rolled out tortilla
Roll out or press the tortilla
flat between plastic sheets
Arrow Rolled out tortilla
Peel off the plastic from
the surface of tortilla

Tortilla in a pan Cook the tortilla for about 30 to 60 seconds, or until brown spots appear on the bottom surface, then gently flip it over and cook the other side. The tortillas will puff up slightly during cooking.

Place the hot tortillas between sheets of foil or inside a foil pouch and cover with a towel to keep them warm and soft.

Place the filling of your choice on the tortillas and roll them up or fold into burritos, etc. Reheat them in oven, if necessary.

Recipe source: adapted from "Tortillat", Helsingin Sanomat/Ruokatorstai, 1998, and www.pbs.org/P.O.V Interactive: "How To Make Your Own Corn Tortillas" by Patricia Mitchell, 2002.


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