Yum Peaceful Cooking: Flour Tortillas

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Flour Tortillas


Yep, it's me. Haven't been cooking a whole lot. At least....nothing too terribly new. I've been in a verbal / writing funk too. I've been distracted. But I've still been in the kitchen. Playing with the most well known boy in the United States of America. Several times, actually.

I've been playing with the Pillsbury Doughboy.

I'm trying to come up with recipes for the big Bake Off. I have never bought as many Pillsbury items in a year as I have the past couple of weeks. I wonder how much their sales increase just by people making purchases for recipe experiments in the kitchen.....telling themselves that it's ok....because if by chance they win the million dollars or even the top 100....what difference is the cost of a few dozen biscuits, crescents and pie crusts? Besides...it's fun. It keeps me busy and for the most part, keeps me out of trouble.

But, in between my mad scientist moments, I have been making some real food. And playing around here and there.

I'm not saying this particular one was a success. But I'm not saying it was a flop either.

It just wasn't what I was expecting....or something. It just wasn't exactly...I dunno....right?

When I set my mind to making flour tortillas, I didn't know they were more involved than corn tortillas.

I have a magazine article that a gal at work shared with me. A recipe for tortillas from a writer known as Cowgirl Chef. I read her recipe and then decided to check out the Pioneer Woman's blog. She also has a recipe. A bit different though. So I chose the Pioneer Woman's Homemade Flour Tortillas.

I even went as far as purchasing.......


I had to go to three different stores before I found it....and then I felt so guilty walking up to the checkout line with just a box of lard in my hand. I wanted to hide my face in shame....or at least hide the lard in my jacket until I got to the cashier.

I am no longer a lard virgin.

 And I'm not sure how I feel about it.

I've cooked with butter, oil, and shortening. But there's something about lard. Just the word is offensive...I mean....it's associated with....someone's ass!! Why was 'lard' chosen as one of the most offensive food words? I mean, you don't ever hear anyone refer to someone else as a butter ass. Or an evoo ass. Even shortening ass falls....short.

So, yes. I purposely, diligently, determinedly purchased lard specifically for flour tortillas.

I used this stuff. This greasy, wad of pure, unadulterated fat.

I followed the directions given by our beloved Pioneer Woman:

2 1/2 cups a.p. flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 TB LARD
1 cup hot water

Combine your flour, baking powder and salt and then add chunks of lard. Cut the lard into the flour mixture until you have a bowl of course crumbs.

Slowly pour in the hot water, stirring to mix. Lightly knead your dough about 30 - 40 times.

This is where I had a problem. It was a very wet mess! There was no such thing as kneading. Not sure if I did something wrong....but I ended up adding another cup of flour before proceeding.

At which point I covered the bowl and let the dough rest for about an hour. I then divided the dough into 16 balls....each ball about the size of a small lime

These were covered and allowed to rest for about 30 minutes.

Then.....because these things are so greasy, I didn't need to dust my counter top with flour or anything. hmmm....mabye I should've anyway? Well....I heated up my skillet, no oil. Just dry. I rolled the ball as thin as I could

Cooked them for about 20 - 30 seconds per side

Not all of them were as round (and this is not nearly as perfectly round as the ones from the store) as this one. And no matter how thin I rolled them balls out....the tortillas were too thick. Almost pita thick without the pocket.

And a bit too greasy.

Should i have added more flour?  hmmmm.

But.....they did the job. My fajitas makings were well taken care of. And they were washed down nicely with my margarita.

I enjoyed making them. I want to try again. Next time I'm going to try Cowgirl Chef's recipe. I'm going to try it with the recommended butter or shortening and then I'm going to try them with....


Hey, I wanna see what all the fuss is about. Is there really a difference in how stuff tastes? Does it really make a savory pie crust that much better?

Besides, I have to use the stuff up. I mean...I don't want it to go to waist waste. Or butt for that matter.....although since I plan on using it, it will end up where it belongs....in the end.

Either way...I'll let you know how everything turns out.


  1. Danielle, you really made me smile on this cold January morning!!!!

    They look good though.

  2. There is NOTHING better than a homemade flour tortilla.... these look great! At least you attempted to make them... I've always been too afraid to try.... good job!

  3. I'm going to be following your tortilla progress closely... I found a tortilla press at a yard sale, and bought it (I mean why not, right?)

    I haven't used it yet, looking for the perfect recipe.

    Thanks for posting!

  4. Yay LARD! I rationalize using it by saying.. it's natural, especially if you can find the non hydrogenated stuff.

    Your tortillas look great :)

  5. Awesome. Heh, I've never cooked with lard either, it's something I've been meaning to do but just can't bring myself to. Which is odd considering how much bacon fat I use...

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  7. hmm..lard. My mom used to use it all the time, when we were young. Butt :), I've never cook with it. Very traditional for tortillas though. They look really good, and really doesn't anything go with a margartia?

  8. Tortillas look like pitas, and pitas are bread, so I say this counts as bread. Arthur Bryant, legendary KC BBQ king was asked why he still fried his french fries in lard, and he said "if you are going to do a job--you do the job." Looking forward to your flaxseed and ryes. Good luck with the doughboy.

  9. Very nice!!! Thanks for the picture of what Lard looks like! I have never seen it before.

  10. We're bonding again Danielle! I was just thinking this past week I should make some flour tortillas!

    Years ago I used to use lard for pie crust, but then ran into problems finding it, so I started using butter.

    But I just bought some lard from a local farmer and made pie crust with it just this past week. Frankly, I prefer pie crust made with butter.

    The lard pie crust was fine and it tasted good, but I missed the sweetness of the butter. Will I use lard in my pie crust again, probably not.


  11. So funny, but I'm sure I'd feel the same way with a tub of lard in my basket at the checkout! It's strange we never think of the lard in the tortillas when we're eating them though :) I hope you find a perfect recipe - I'll be watching!

  12. "I am no longer a lard virgin." LOL! I wouldn't feel so badly about using lard, I think it has a really bad connotation, but the truth is is that lard has 50% of the saturated fat of butter. I wonder if this recipe is meant to create a more rustic tortilla. I think the traditional stuff is a bit thicker. Either way they look good.

  13. You made these with lard? AMAZING! We can't even get good lard here. I would have eaten your whole batch.


  14. Well, just remind yourself that it is all in moderation and you aren't spooning the stuff straight into your mouth, right? ha ha. Kudos to you for giving tortillas a try. They do look tasty. Pass me a margarita?

  15. Love the idea of making homemade tortillas! Yum!

  16. You rock for posting this.

    First, the lard buying incident was a riot.

    Second, sharing troublesome cooks and lessons learned like this help others more than flawless cooks.

    Third, while not thin, I like the thicker texture for a fajita.

    We have wanted to make our own but we are waiting to find a tortilla press around here.

  17. Great post on making the tortillas. I visited with a family who's mom made flour tortillas and she did it so quick and easy when flattening them out. But she just used her hands.

    I have tried making them myself and had the same results you did...no matter how thin I rolled them they came out thick like pita bread.

    For religious and health reasons I do not use lard, but used Crisco instead. I think the flavor was comprible to the lard. That comment is made despite the roars of "no!" I hear from lard fans. LOL.


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