Tortillas are a great addition to almost any type of food. If you are looking to make truly authentic homemade corn tortillas or flour tortillas, a cast-iron tortilla press will give you the best results.
The tortilla press, also known as a tortilla maker, is a simple metal tool that has a base, top, and handle. It crushes balls of corn or flour dough, to create corn or flour tortillas. Best of all, it can be operated from the comfort of your own kitchen, so it is perfect for making homemade tortillas.
But how do you use them, and what else can you use them for? We will try to answer those questions, and more, in this article.
Before you begin making your tortillas in a press, you need to protect it from any sticking. This can be done using parchment paper, or wax paper. When buying our tortilla press, we give 100 sheets of parchment paper.
Once you have protected the inside layer of the press, it is time to start pressing!
You will need some dough. Tortilla dough is commonly known as masa - a Latin American term, it means dough that has been made from maize flour and ground corn. Most grocery stores and supermarkets sell bags of corn flour called Masa Harina.
The best method is to cut one piece of parchment paper in half so that both pieces are large enough to cover the entire surface of the tortilla press.
We recommend cutting your parchment paper into 2 separate pieces rather than just folding it. Folded parchment paper can cause the tortilla to end up shaped badly.
With corn tortillas, in particular, it is imperative to us parchment paper - without protection, the tortilla is likely to stick to the press and must be slowly peeled away. Not only will that ruin the tortilla, but it will also require more cleanup time.
Flour tortillas are less likely to stick, but we still advise using a protective layer (and as a last resort something like cooking spray) no matter what type of tortilla you are making.
If you make tortillas either in large quantities or on a regular basis, a cast-iron tortilla press is ideal. It quickly creates round, flat, and thin disks. They are also affordable, easy to use, and can save a ton of time compared to manually pressing with a rolling pin.
Lots of people prefer to cook homemade tortillas, even though store-bought tortillas are of great in pinch, a tortilla is best when eaten within a short amount of time after it has finished cooking.
As mentioned above, it is possible to press manually, but using a press is the easiest option to produce that perfect tortilla.
Despite the name, tortilla presses aren't just limited to pressing tortillas. Its main function is to flatten dough, so you can use it to make a whole range of foods.
Whether you are craving pita bread, homemade dumplings, or empanadas a tortilla press can come in very handy. Or maybe you have always wondered how Mexican restaurants end up with perfect tortilla chips? The secret is all in the press!
Tortilla presses are great for churning out large quantities of tortillas quickly, and if you are planning to make tortilla chips, you will need plenty!
Yes, but having a tortilla press makes the job much easier.
If you get caught in the unfortunate position of needing to press tortillas without a press, we recommend using a rolling pin and cutting board.
Pressing a tortilla by hand:
Corn tortillas are notoriously difficult to roll without breaking or cracking, but you can roll them if you handle them properly.
Rolling corn tortillas:
The main problem with thin tortillas is that they can easily tear or break, even after they have been in the tortilla press. This is mainly because they need moisture to stay more flexible, something that doesn't happen when they are dry.
Once you have pressed and cooked your tortillas, wrap them in a damp towel on a plate until they are ready to be served.
Once you have removed the tortilla(s) from the press, you can then cook them however you choose.
One of the most common methods of cooking corn tortillas is to do so in a comal. A comal is a small, flat griddle that is commonly used in Mexico and South America.
It is good for the color to start to darken, although you do not want your tortilla to become too dark as that will mean it has overcooked. As we mentioned before, it is imperative to cover the tortilla with a towel or cloth to avoid any moisture escaping, and to prevent the tortilla from cracking or tearing.
In the microwave: Place the tortilla on a plate and cover it with a damp paper towel and place it in the microwave. Turn the microwave on for 30 seconds and one minute, on a high setting.
In the oven: Preheat the oven to around 250°F and wrap your tortillas in a damp towel. Place them in a dish that is close to the size of your tortillas, tightly cover the dish with a lid, and place it in the oven for 20 minutes.
The tortilla is a traditional food item in Mexican cuisine, but it is versatile enough to be served alongside a range of different main courses, or on its own.
You could serve as a flatbread, as part of a salad, or a quesadilla.
Sweet tortilla chips are also a great idea. Once you have pressed the tortillas, they can be fried to make homemade tortilla chips. These are commonly cut in triangles and can be served with different condiments such as fresh mango and tomato salsa, or guacamole.
Whether you are a novice in the kitchen or a Mexican food cooking pro, you can up your game with a good tortilla press.
Now that you know how to use a tortilla press, the only thing you have left to do is grab one and start pressing!
Chimichangas and burritos are two iconic Tex-Mex dishes, but how can you really tell the difference between them?
How long does pasta last in the fridge? We answer this important food hygiene question and much more!