Tortillas de Harina - Flour Tortillas

From time to time Doņa Martha buys a 42 kilogram sack of wheat flour. She does not make pies or cakes, so all of this flour will go into tortillas, gorditas, buņuelos, and sweet empanadas

No matter which she is making, the preparation of the dough is about the same.  (The exception is empanadas which get four times more shortening and are mixed with Coke rather than water.)

Today she is making tortillas for breakfast.  She will make 38.  There will be some left over for lunch.

She starts with one and half kilos (almost 3.5 pounds) of flour to which she adds a palm-full of salt and a half palm-full of baking power.

Then she cuts in by hand 250 grams (about 9 ounces) of vegetable shortening.  When the shortening is well incorporated, she begins to add water slowly as she begins mixing and kneading the dough.

She kneads the dough in the mixing bowl until the gluten begins to develop and the dough becomes elastic.  Then she moves to the tile counter top to continue kneading.

When the dough is ready, she pulls off small hanks which she rolls into balls a bit larger than an egg.

She keeps these balls covered with a towel to prevent drying.


She rolls the balls into disks a little larger than a corn tortilla and not quite a thin as a buņuelo.

At this point, if she were making gorditas shells, the disks would be a little smaller and a little thicker.


On to the hot, dry comal for a few seconds on each side.  The tortillas will puff up as they cook.  To insure that they stay in contact with the comal and cook evenly, Doņa Martha will press them down with a wooden paddle to partially deflate. 


As soon as they come off the comal, they will completely deflate.

She wraps them in a towel to keep warm and moist.  They are best eaten at once.

This one has a refried bean filling.  Often scrambled eggs are added to make a breakfast burrito.

A hot tortilla folded over a couple of slices of cheese and a few seconds in the microwave makes a fine quesadilla.

Coco is the family's most ardent fan of hot chiles.  While his mother continues making the tortillas, he is making a jalapeno salsa which he will mix with refried beans for his breakfast burritos.

If you wish to write to Doņa Martha, you may send an e-mail to

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