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Tortillas Made With Maseca

(recipe, Diana Kennedy)

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups (about 10 ounces) Maseca corn masa
  2. 1⅓ cups water, approximately
  3. 2 plastic bags (1-quart size) for pressing tortillas
  4. A flat griddle
  5. A tortilla press

Steps

  1. Mix the Maseca with the water and work well so that it is evenly distributed through the flour and forms a cohesive mass when pressed together. The dough should be of medium consistency, neither too firm nor wet and sticky.
  2. Divide the dough into 15 equal parts (each one should weigh just over 1 ounce) and roll into smooth balls about 1½ inches in diameter. Place all but one of the balls under plastic wrap so that they do not dry out.
  3. Heat an ungreased comal or griddle over a medium flame.
  4. Open up the tortilla press and place a small plastic bag on the bottom plate. Place a ball of the dough on the bottom bag, a little off center toward the hinge rather than the pressing lever (it presses too thin on that side), and press it out with your fingers to flatten a little. Cover with the second bag and press down firmly but not too fiercely (or the dough will be too thin and you will never be able to pry it off the bag in one piece).
  5. Open the press, remove the top bag, lift the bottom bag up in one hand, place the dough onto the fingers of your other hand, and very carefully peel the bag off the flattened dough. Do not try to peel the dough off the bag.
  6. Keeping your hand as horizontal as possible, lay the tortilla flat onto the comal. There should be a slight sizzle as the dough touches the surface of the comal. Leave for about 15 seconds; the underside will have opaque patches and be slightly speckled with brown. Flip the tortilla over onto the second side and cook for a further 30 seconds; the underside should now be opaque and speckled. Flip back onto the first side again and cook for 15 seconds more.
  7. If you have done all the correct things and the comal is the correct heat, the tortilla should puff up, showing that the extra moisture has dried out of the dough. If the tortilla doesn't puff up, press it gently on the last turn with your fingers or a towel.
  8. As the tortillas are made, they should be placed one on top of the other in a basket or gourd lined with a cloth to preserve the heat and keep them moist and flabby. They can also be wrapped and frozen.