Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas? Yes please! Fresh, made-at-home corn tortillas?! We’re listening …

This year, we decided to skip the grocery store corn tortillas and opted instead to make our own. Every recipe you’ll find makes it sound like a 5 minute project. It is not. Kitchen DIY projects always take longer than you think they should and corn tortillas are no exception. Yes, measuring masa harina and water take no time. Mixing them takes slightly more, but still no time to speak of. Rolling them (or pressing them) and then cooking them takes time. But when you’re also enjoying a cerveza or cocktail there’s no real rush, right?

A typical recipe for homemade tortillas will yield anywhere from 18 to 24 tortillas, depending on their size and thickness. Because the dough dries out quickly, it isn’t something that can just sit around waiting for you. You have to work to get them all onto the griddle before they get away from you and that cooking takes real time. We suggest you budget a half hour for mixing and griddle time.

A note on masa harina: dried masa is available in just about every grocery in the country. It is inexpensive and a 5 pound bag will yield plenty of tortillas. Be sure to use it quickly as corn flour will oxidize and taste terrible after a while in your pantry. If you’re lucky to live where there is a good sized Latino population and local Latin American groceries, you may be able to find corn masa freshly ground and ready to press. Go for it if you can find it.

We used a fresh batch of tortillas for an evening of venison tacos. The leftovers will be fried and used in an upcoming chilaquiles recipe post so stay tuned. Now, pass the tequila!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

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Fresh Corn Tortillas

2 cups masa harina
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

Heat an iron skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Whisk masa harina and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a little well in the center and add the warm water. Work the water into the masa and knead it for 2-3 minutes until the water is absorbed and the dough forms a ball. It should be very soft but not sticky to the touch.

Take about a walnut-sized portion of the wet masa and form it into a ball. You can roll the tortillas out with a rolling pin or you can use a tortilla press. If you use a press, you’ll want to use a couple of pieces of plastic to keep the dough from sticking to the press. We cut the side seems of a quart sized ziplock bag and put the ball of dough between the plastic sheets before pressing.

Once pressed, gently ease the wet tortilla onto the pan or griddle and leave for a couple of minutes without disturbing them. They’ll dry a bit around the edges and release from the pan. Flip and cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip again and cook until they start to brown slightly. They’ll seem a little dry, but once you take them off the griddle, you will wrap them in a clean town or a sheet of aluminum foil where the residual heat and water will steam them while you continue to cook the remaining tortillas. The steam will soften them by the time you’re ready to eat.

Leftover can be wrapped and refrigerated. Reheat in microwave or toast over an open gas flame on your stovetop. Better yet, cut them into quarters and fry in veggie oil until crips. Salt and serve with your favorite salsa, queso or guacamole.

Quick & Easy English Muffins

Of all the things in my baking repertoire, I have never attempted to make English muffins. Why? They don’t seem too complicated. A little yeasted dough cooked on a griddle pan for a few minutes on each side. Pancakes, right? I mean, how hard can it be?

I stumbled across Emma Christensen’s recipe from and immediately wanted to try it, but this recipe was going to take way too much time. Even though I knew the muffins spend most of the time unattended, it was still going to take at least two days. I wanted English muffins today.

When I was ready to jump into a recipe, most of the day had already passed. With another quick google search I found Melissa Clark’s whole wheat English muffin recipe. They seemed to be more like a crumpet and less like an English muffin, but who am I to complain when these would take maybe two hours. And since this was my first attempt at homemade English muffins, why not go for instant-ish gratification? Plus, there was just enough sunlight for some good photos.

The muffins weren’t perfectly round, but the taste was amazing considering how simple this recipe is. We made them for Sunday dinner which turned out to be a great substitute for the typical roll. The leftovers were a great treat for breakfast Monday. We decide to use them as a shortcake-type platform for a faux strawberry shortcake. We used whole milk Greek yogurt in place of whipped cream. The strawberries macerated overnight in a little balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt. The next morning, the strawberries were strained and the sauce reduced over medium heat with a touch of honey, and a few grinds of black pepper. We split the muffins and toasted them with a small pat of butter. Perfect for breakfast or a healthy dessert.

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English Muffins
yield 8

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
½ cup warm whole milk
½ tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cup whole-wheat white flour (we like Josey Baker Bread’s flour)
½ teaspoon baking soda
Masa Harina (cornmeal), as needed

In a small bowl combine yeast and 1/3 cup warm water and let rest until yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Melt butter and put 2 tablespoons in a large mixing bowl, put the other 2 tablespoons in a small bowl and set aside. In the large bowl, whisk in yogurt, milk, honey, salt and the yeast mixture.

Add flour and baking soda to bowl and beat thoroughly with a spoon or rubber spatula until well combined. Cover bowl and let rest in a warm spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough has doubled.

Lightly dust a small baking sheet with Masa Harina (or cornmeal).

Place a large griddle pan over medium heat. Once pan is hot, brush some of the reserved melted butter onto the griddle. Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/2 cup measuring cup, drop batter onto the griddle to form round muffins about 4 inches in diameter, mounding the batter in the center. (You may need to coax the dough a little with your fingers, so be careful of the hot pan, and don’t worry if they’re not perfectly circular.) Cover griddle with a baking sheet and cook 4 to 6 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. (Be careful not to let them burn.) If you don’t have a griddle pan you can use a large skillet and make the muffins in batches.

Uncover griddle and flip muffins using a spatula. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with a little Masa Harina. Cover again and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until the other sides are golden brown. Flip again and brush with butter. Cook for another minute or two, covered. Remove from the griddle and cool a few minutes.

Split the muffins with a fork and toast before eating with your favorite topping.