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Corn Tortillas
Tortillas de Maiz (tor-tee-yahs deh mah-ees)

Flat, 6-inch round corn tortillas are the most versatile Mexican "bread". They can be eaten immediately or stored in refrigerator or freezer until needed.

2 cups masa harina (dehydrated masa flour)
1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cups warm water

Mix masa flour with enough warm water to make dough hold together well. Using your hands, shape dough into a smooth ball. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, then roll each into a ball. (For small tortillas, divide dough into 24 equal pieces.)

Tortilla Press Method of Shaping:

Place a square of waxed paper on bottom half of tortilla press; place 1 ball of dough on paper, slightly off center toward edge farthest from handle. Flatten it lightly with the palm of your hand. Cover with a second square of waxed paper. Lower top half of press (being careful not to wrinkle paper), then press down firmly on lever until the tortilla measures about 6 inches in diameter (4 inches for small tortillas). Stack paper-covered dough and cook according to the instructions that follow.

Rolling Pin Method of Shaping:

Use two cloths which have been dipped in water and wrung dry. Flatten a ball of dough slightly and place between the cloths. Roll with light, even strokes until cake is about 6 inches in diameter. Carefully pull back cloths, trim tortilla to a round shape if necessary, and sandwich it between two squares of waxed paper. Roll out all remaining dough balls similarly. Cook according to instructions that follow.

Cooking Instructions:

Peel off top piece of waxed paper carefully. Turn over tortilla, paper side up, onto a preheated, ungreased, medium-hot griddle, or into a heavy frying pan pver medium-high heat. As tortilla becomes warm, you will be able to peel off remaining paper.

Bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, turning frequently until tortilla looks dry (it should be soft) and is lightly flecked with brown specks. (It may puff up briefly.)

Serve tortillas immediately while still warm, or cool and wrap airtight. Store airtight packages in refrigerator or freezer. To serve, reheat or fry. Makes 1 dozen 6-inch or 2 dozen 4-inch corn tortillas.

Flour Tortilla
Tortillas de Harina (tor-tee-yahs deh ah-ree-nah)

Generally larger than corn tortillas, flour tortillas offer a more mellow foundation for the mexican dishes that are seasoned more subtly.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
about 1 cup warm water

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir in enough warm water to form a crumbly dough; then work dough with your hands until it holds together. Turn out onto a board and knead until smooth. Divide into 12 pieces and shape each into a smooth ball. Cover lightly with plastic film and let rest about 15 minutes.

For each tortilla, flatten one ball into a 4 or 5-inch patty, then roll into a 9-inch round, rolling from center to edges. Turn tortilla often, stretching dough as you carefully peel it off board.

As each tortilla is shaped, place on preheated, dry, heavy griddle or heavy wide frying pan over medium-high heat. On a preheated electric griddle set at medium-high heat or about 375°F.

Almost immediately, tiny blisters should appear. Turn tortilla and immediately start pressing a wide spatula directly on top of it - press gently but firmly all over the top. Blisters will form over most of surface as you press. Turn tortilla and press all over other side until blisters turn a golden brown; tortilla should remain soft. If tortillas stick or brown to quickly, reduce heat.

Stack tortillas as cooked inside a folded cloth towel within a plastic bag; close bag and let tortillas steam and soften until all are cooked.

Serve tortillas as soon as they are soft; or cool, remove from bag, wrap in foil, and refrigerate or freeze. Makes 1 dozen 9-inch flour tortillas.

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