Making homemade corn tortillas is a basic skill every gluten free cook should learn. Homemade tortillas taste infinitely better than packaged varieties which often contain added preservatives and thickeners. Tortillas made from scratch are softer, more flavoursome and so easy to make. You only need 3 simple ingredients – masa harina, water and a pinch of salt. Once you start making gluten free corn tortillas from scratch you will never look back. I always have masa harina stocked in my pantry because we eat tacos regularly and the dough is quick to throw together.
Masa harina is ground corn flour that has been made from dried corn kernels soaked in limewater. It is not the same as regular corn flour and they cannot be used interchangeably. Regular corn flour from the baking aisle is made by grinding untreated corn kernels so it has a different texture and flavour. In Australia, masa harina can be found in some supermarkets, gourmet grocers or online.
If you don’t own a tortilla press just use a heavy based saucepan instead to flatten your dough balls into thin discs. If you are planning on making tortillas regularly though it is definitely worth investing in a tortilla press, they are inexpensive and will save you time.
The key to a perfect corn tortilla is achieving the correct dough texture. The dough cannot be too dry or too wet. If your dough balls form cracks around the edges when pressed the dough is too dry and if the dough is sticking to your hands it is too wet. You can easily correct this by adding more flour or water to your dough. Kneading and resting the dough are also very important steps to ensure the dough is properly hydrated so do not skip this part of the process.
If your tortillas puff up during cooking that is fantastic, they will be extra light and airy. Remember to keep the dough balls on the smaller side so the tortilla is thin when pressed, not thick. Once cooked store corn tortillas in an airtight container for up to one week in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.
- 2 cups masa harina corn flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1½ cups warm water
- Combine masa harina and salt in a bowl.
- Slowly pour in 1 cup of warm water and stir to form a dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes and add more water incrementally until the dough is firm and springy, not sticky or dry. If the dough is too dry add more water and if it is too sticky add more masa harina.
- Cover the bowl with cling wrap and rest the dough for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough into 16 small balls and firmly flatten using a tortilla press or a heavy based saucepan (line with plastic or baking paper).
- Heat a cast iron frypan over med-high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Cover with a warm tea towel to keep fresh while toasting remaining tortillas.