Making Masa and Tortillas -- Part 1

This is how tortillas are made in a typical Mon and Pop tortilleria which are found in almost every neighborhood.  

The process takes 24 hours from start to finish, so I have divided the story into 2 parts.  We begin our day in the life of a tortilleria at 1:30 in the afternoon.

The shelled corn arrives in large sacks.  First, the corn has to be turned into masa which will then be made into tortillas.

My friend Caesar has just returned from his last delivery run of today's tortillas and is now beginning tomorrow's.

The corn is dumped into a cooking vat filled with water.  It is stirred with a shovel in order to dislodge any sticks, husks, or other light crud which will float to the top.




This floating debris is scooped away with a strainer.

After the cleaning, a measured amount of lime is added and mixed well.


Then the gas burners are lit to begin the cooking of the corn and lime mixture.

Caesar continues to use the shovel to stir the corn from time to time as it cooks.  After an hour of cooking, the fire is turned off and the corn is left to soak until the next morning.

While Caesar is cooking the corn, the rest of the crew is busy with the cleanup of the machinery and floor.

The story continues tomorrow morning...