Basic Preparations/

Flour Tortillas

Tortillas de Harina
Though corn—made into masa and baked into tortillas—has been Mexico’s unique staff of life for millennia, flour tortillas still have a place. And that place is almost exclusively in the northern part of the country where the Spaniards found that wheat could thrive. In some ways, flour tortillas are easier to get right than corn tortillas, though for me they’re never as soul-satisfying as their corn counterpart. This has been my go-to recipe for 40 years. The proportions are classic, producing a flaky and rich-tasting tortilla, especially when made with fresh-rendered pork lard. Which is what I always use. If lard isn’t your thing, know that vegetable shortening works—but it’s virtually tasteless.
Servings: 12tortillas


  • 12ounces /385 grams (2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
  • 5tablespoons fresh-rendered lard (look for it at a butcher shop or Mexican market) or vegetable shortening
  • 3/4teaspoon salt
  • About 3/4cup very warm tap water


Make the dough. Combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl, working in the fat with your fingers until nearly completely incorporated. Dissolve the salt in the water, pour about 2/3 cup of it over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with your fingers (or you may want to switch to a fork here).  The dough will be in large clumps rather than a homogeneous mass. If all the dry ingredients haven't been dampened, add the rest of the liquid (plus a little more, if necessary). Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead a few times until smooth. It should be medium-stiff consistency -- definitely not firm, but not quite as soft as most bread dough either.


Rest the dough. Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes (this makes the dough less springy, easier to roll). 


Roll and griddle-bake the tortillas. Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough into an even 6-inch circle: Flatten a ball of dough, flour it, then starting about two thirds of the way down, roll away from you.  Rotate it a quarter turn and roll it again. Continue rotating and rolling until you reach a 6-inch circle lightly flouring the tortilla and work surface from time to time. Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle. (If the heat is right, you’ll see an almost immediate bubbling start across the surface). After 30 to 45 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip it over. Bake 30 to 45 seconds more, until the other side is browned; don't overbake the tortilla or it will become crisp. Remove and wrap in a cloth napkin placed in a tortilla warmer. Roll and griddle-bake the remaining tortillas in the same manner and stacking them one on top of the other.


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