Friday, September 10, 2010


I have been at a conference all week, eating lots of things that are both bad for me and don't taste delicious (ah, hotel buffets ...). At least the place had great coffee. Whenever I'm in this situation, both me and my guts start to long for homemade food, so I thought I'd share with you my recent adventure in homemade tortilla-making.

Flour tortillas are probably my favorite food. Often, I eat them straight out of the package. I like them with peanut butter and banana, or with black beans, or just avocado. Homemade tortillas are one of the best things about living in Texas, and none can ever be better than those made my students' mothers when I taught first and second grades.

Tortillas (even those made at most grocery stores) are usually filled with a lot of unpronounceable ingredients. I try to processed foods that only contain recognizable ingredients, preferably organically-produced, but I just can't give up tortillas. And here's the ingredient list of the most popular brand:

Ingredients: Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Shortening (Interesterified Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/or Palm Oil), contains 2% or less of each of the following: Salt, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate and/or Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate), Distilled Monoglycerides, Wheat Starch, Alpha Amylase, Tricalcium Phosphate, BHT, Cellulose Gum, Dough Conditioners (Fumaric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite), Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid and/or Citric Acid).

Blech! Mama Earth says: Double blech! It's pretty amazing that a food that has only five ingredients when homemade has 13 (not even counting the ingredients in the ingredients) when processed, including conventional wheat and soybeans most-likely produced on factory farms.

So I decided to make my own tortillas. I chose a simple recipe from the internet (Click here to find it). It contains only five ingredients, one of which is water, and I can use my own flour and oil, produced organically.

First I had to knead the dough and let it rest, then form it into balls and let it rest again.

I was worried that rolling and cooking the tortillas would be hard to coordinate, but it worked perfectly. While one cooked, I rolled the next one.

And they turned out to have the uneven shape and grilled spots that the best homemade tortillas have.

These tortillas were delicious, but low in fat. Most of the moms of my students used lard or vegetable shortening. That would defeat the purpose of making my own tortillas, but I think next time I will add a bit more oil. We can't be too healthy!

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