This is a pretty simple flour tortilla recipe which uses butter instead of lard or shortening. It’s a recipe directly out of Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb. He’s written a quite a few books, but Crust and Crumb alongside his Bread Baker’s Apprentice have consistently given me amazing bread.
This recipe is really simple in the sense that it doesn’t use any preferment. The only lag time between “oh, I want some tortillas!” and starting the recipe is waiting for the butter to get to room temperature.
You can use any type of flour in the recipe, you can throw any spices in the dough, you can mix up vegetables and herbs in the dough, honestly you can do anything with it. I make garlic bread out of this recipe a lot.
For the actual baking of the tortillas, I use my baking steel, which is one of my favorite purchases of the last few years (all the shoes included!). It only takes 60 to 90 seconds per side, per tortilla. You could also make these using a cast iron pan, if you don’t want to wait for the oven to preheat.
- 16 oz flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces butter, at room temperature, chopped up
- 1 cup lukewarm water, 80F
- 1-2 tablespoons of any optional spices
- Combine flour, salt, and butter in a large bowl. Get the butter all coated in flour.
- Gently incorporate the water while mixing the dough. You can do this either with a stand mixer’s paddle attachment, or with your hands, or a spoon. You might not need to use all the water, or you might need some extra.
- Add any spices, if you want, mix those in too.
- Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, until you have a smooth somewhat glossy ball. If using a stand mixer, mix with the dough hook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Put the dough on a floured surface, cut into 8 (or however many) equal pieces. Round each into a ball, then use the palm of your hand to flatten them into disks.
- Mist the disks with cooking spray or brush with oil, wrap in plastic wrap, let rest 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 550F, with baking steel or pizza stone placed in oven.
- Either using a rolling pin or wet hands roll out each disk. You don’t need to be too gentle, but if one disk resists move onto the next one. Get them pretty thin.
- Bake each disk for 60-90 seconds, flip over, then and bake for another 60-70 seconds. Mist the baking surface with water before placing each disk, else it might stick.
- After baking sides of each disk, transfer the tortilla to kitchen towels or a couche then bake the next one.
The completed tortillas can last up to a couple days covered in towels sitting outside, or I’ve been told you can bag and freeze them, but they never last that long for me.
You can spread cream cheese on them, and if you have a stand mixer be sure to beat some herbs or spices in the cream cheese too! You can spread anything on them, honestly, it’s tortillas go nuts.
I’ve tried some different variations of flour on this recipe, even the worst of which has been pretty good. My preferred is anything with mostly bread flour, since it gets a good consistency throughout the tortilla, where as something whole wheat heavy turns into crispy wafers with air in the middle. A general overview from my testing:
- All-Purpose flour, an okay tortilla.
- Bread flour, a bit doughy but great.
- High gluten bread flour, too doughy.
- 1:1 All-Purpose / Whole Wheat, the dough separated a bit so it was like two thin wafers with air in the middle.
- 1:1:2 All-Purpose / Whole Wheat / Bread Flour, awesome but not too different from full bread flour.
- 1:1:2 Bread / Whole Wheat / All-Purpose Flour, good, bendy, crispy, but wafer thin with air between the two layers.