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My corn tortillas have been turning out great in taste but the shape is not so good. I have a press that works OK, but I think it may be part of the problem. The tortillas always have jagged edges, and are not perfectly round. And I can't get them them to the size I want at the thickness I want.

When I try more masa mix, they turn out too thick, and when I use less masa mix, the edges split and they look like stars...

I once saw a gal at a Mexican restaurant making tortillas on a big flat grill. She got the mix, rolled in her hands, pressed them out and they were perfectly round and very tasty... I'm not so focused here on the taste because mine taste good, but the shape...

Still new to making tortillas and working with masa so any help would be great!

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Are you letting the dough hydrate/rest before pressing? – Joe Sep 8 '10 at 0:20
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I roll them into a ball and use a cast iron press, similar to this one:

alt text

I think the official name is a "tortilladora". You can find them online or at restaurant/cooking stores for $10 to $20.

I wouldn't worry too much about getting them perfectly round. Store-bought tortillas are perfectly round because they're made by a big machine.

If you're still having problems with a press, I would look into a different recipe or maybe use more shortening/lard.

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you should try using wax paper or plastic wrap on each side of the press which will help keep your smaller tortillas from fraying and splitting. I actually put about a 1/2 teaspoon of oil into the dough mix which helps keep it together better as well.

But the best tip is probably to just press less hard on those smaller ones. I used to have the same problem, and I was putting my full weight down on the press handle (like the one pictured in the other answer). When I simply closed the press and pushed much lighter on the press, it helped create a better thickness for my tortillas.

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I use a home made wooden (maple) press, with a couple sheets of flexible plastic to make tortillas. There seem to be two keys to getting nice circular tortillas with non-jaggy edges:

1) Get the hydration just right: Too much water, and your tortillas will tear when you try to get them off the press, too little and they'll be prone to both cracking and irregular edges.

2)Flatten the masa ball with your hand before applying the press plate. A 1.5" (40mm) sphere will scooch out from under the angled press plate asymmetrically, while a 1/2" (12mm) thick disk will yield a nice circular tortilla after pressing.

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