If you want the absolute best tortillas, you really need to make the dough from scratch. I’m not going to lie and say they are easy, but it is not really difficult either, and the taste is amazing! Comparing store bought tortillas to freshly made tortillas is like comparing mass produced grocery store bread to a fresh artisan sourdough loaf straight out of the oven. There is simply no comparison in taste and quality.
I remember my tortilla making class like it was yesterday. We took the first corn tortillas off the griddle, let them rest, then spooned on a bit of refried black beans, and sprinkled on some queso fresco (all from scratch).
My first bite was a revelation. I could not believe how good a simple bean taco could be. I remember thinking to myself, “wow! If all vegetables could taste this good, I could totally go vegetarian”. It was so far beyond Mexican fast food that I was so used to. I consider myself a pretty manly man, but damn, I wanted to cry it was so good.
Unless you are living in Mexico and making masa for other people, this is not an activity you want to do every day. But you can do it once month and freeze what you don’t use right away. That way you have masa to make tortillas, tamales, or any other deliciousness that sounds good. The recipe scales well, but in really large quantities you need better, and bigger equipment.
You do need one piece of equipment – a food processor or grain grinder. Both work, but using the grain grinder is a bit of an acquired skill. If you wanted to go old school and stone grind it, I take my hat off to you.
One important note: You need dried corn kernels, but do not use dried sweet corn, or popcorn kernels. They will not produce the right flavors. Blue, red, yellow, white etc. all work, so choose your favorite. If you are in the USA, you can find dried corn on Amazon or thru several providers like Rovey Seed Co.
If you are in South or Central America, you can find dried corn kernels almost everywhere, except Argentina it seems. In Argentina look on Mercadolibre.com.ar, or head out to the market in Liniers to pick up some corn, and some peppers for your next Mexican Fiesta.
You will likely find lime (AKA “slaked lime”, not the fruit) at the same place. Make sure it is food grade!
On to the recipe!