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Corn tortillas keep tearing up

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm trying my hand at making my own tortillas. I've made flour ones with no problems. Easy, tastes delicious, and plays its role of wrapper for the stuff I put in the taco. 

 

Corn tortillas? I've tried a few times now and cannot get them right. I start from masa harina (from the Mexican store) and mix it with salt and water. I've tried adding a little oil as well. I then adjust for the right texture (not too sticky, not too crumbly), form balls and use the tortilla press twice to get them thin enough (they still end up a bit thicker than I'm used to), then cook them in a stainless steel pan (all I have access to at this time). Two problems: 

 

1) They do not puff up like I see explained in recipes or videos (for example see the video below starting at around 4:20).

 

2) They tear up when you try to eat your taco, and all the filling end up in my plate (in my case) or on the floor (in the case of my kids). 

 

Any idea?

 

 

post #2 of 5

If they are not puffing up when cooking, I don't think you are using high enough heat.  What type of pan/stove are you using?

 

As far as the falling apart, that is totally a feel of the dough, heat and timing thing that can only be gained through doing it many times.  I think since you have to kick up the heat, it may be a very minor adaptation from that.  

 

I have been making them for three days now and have them perfected to a point where it is getting less and less likely that they will last long enough for me to even put a filling in them.  I could eat 20 without blinking if I let myself. I still want to do for real from scratch, but for now the instant masa harina is good enough

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefHoff View Post
 

If they are not puffing up when cooking, I don't think you are using high enough heat.  What type of pan/stove are you using?


Great! Thanks a lot for the feedback. It's a stainless steal pan with a gas stove. I'll try more heat, and I'll try a cast iron pan as soon as I can find the time to season mine. 

 

Quote:

As far as the falling apart, that is totally a feel of the dough, heat and timing thing that can only be gained through doing it many times.  I think since you have to kick up the heat, it may be a very minor adaptation from that.  

 

I have been making them for three days now and have them perfected to a point where it is getting less and less likely that they will last long enough for me to even put a filling in them.  I could eat 20 without blinking if I let myself. I still want to do for real from scratch, but for now the instant masa harina is good enough

 

Man you perfected them in 3 days? I'm jealous. But hey maybe it's the pan and the heat thing. 

 

Out of curiosity, what is your recipe? Masa marina, water & salt? Any fat? Anything else? 

post #4 of 5

Yes.  I think the increased heat and a cast iron pan.  You might be able to get by with thick SS, but every reference I used to learn how to make them (people, cookbook, internet) said only cast iron.  Nonstick was said as an alternative, but not really recommended. 

 

My method to get them how I wanted. (Can't really say totally perfected yet, but close)  Was to get the basic play-dough texture from the mix.  I use 1 cup Masa Harina, 1 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup water + additional if needed.  Usually it is 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup masa, but I like them a little saltier.  I then proceeded to make the mix wetter and drier to make test batches.  I would also use different levels of pressure to get varying thicknesses.  Finally different rest times of dough and rest times of finished product were experimented with.  I find that cooling/resting final product will make the tortilla less likely to fall apart, but I prefer the flavor and texture of right off the pan.  The pre cook rest seems to be 15-30 minutes is fine.

 

I found that the reason I wasn't as big a fan of corn tortillas was I had never had them as fresh as I am getting them now.  30 seconds off pan vs 1 hour makes a world of difference.

post #5 of 5

I recommend a rendered pork lard (manteca) not the tasteless lard stuff. When cooking, if your not getting char marks in parts when cooking, your pan is not hot enough.

 

Soft taco always have two wrappers as the slightest moisture disintegrates the inner wrapper pretty quick. Heat the wrappers directly on a flame when warming them.

good luck

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