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I don't own a tortilla press and until I have more cabinet space, one is not in my future. However I value making as much as I can from scratch and love using tortillas in my cooking. I have made whole wheat tortillas using a variation on this recipe, subbing oil and butter in for the shortening to try and get a bit more flavor out of the tortillas.

I'd like to move to homemade corn tortillas, but every recipe that I have seen instructs one to use a press. With flour I was able to roll my tortillas as thin as required, but will I have trouble when moving to masa trying to do it with a rolling pin, or will I be able to get thin corn tortillas without a press?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes, you can do it without a press. Place a ball of dough between two layers of plastic wrap. Use at least twice the area of wrap that you think the final tortilla will be. Squish the ball flat with a pan, book, or your hand. Now use a rolling pin to roll the dough between the sheets of plastic. Make sure the thickness is even, and don't get it too thin or it will break when you cook it. Bonus: you can store the uncooked tortillas in the plastic until using and they won't dry out.

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I have done the same, but using waxed paper instead. Doesn't the plastic stick to the masa? –  daramarak Sep 14 '11 at 10:39
    
@daramarak: Plastic wrap might be a little stickier, but it peels off fine, unless you have the masa too wet. –  Jefromi Nov 8 '12 at 21:31
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Just use the bottom of a flat, heavy skillet. I wouldn't try using a rolling pin: they stick to it pretty well. Probably want to put some wax paper underneath, or it'll stick to your counter.

I'd never buy a press unless I planned on making tortillas en masse: just one more thing to take up space in the cabinet.

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How to make thin corn tortillas

Water temperature is one of the most important things and is hardly even mentioned. It should be medium.

Thinner dough can be achieved with adding touches of warm water. The more malleable the dough, almost to being sticky, the thinner you can get them. Most people use Maza Harina. I use Masteca flour.

Don't bother with a press. Use the advice above: two plastic bags (gallon size). Form the dough first into a golf ball size. Put round dough onto a plastic bag and press it out with your fingers into a round shape with a ridge around the edge.

Place other plastic bag on top so the dough is between the two bags.

Get a pizza stone, a pizza oven slider, or a book. Press down; pound it going out from the center.

Meanwhile I use two pans which are heated to medium/high. Lift the book (or whatever) and check the tortilla. Should be beautiful and round.

Peel off the top plastic bag, take the other one with the tortilla still stuck to it, and slap the tortilla into the first hot pan. It should peel off of plastic and lay there. I work the tortilla from one pan to the other; flipping sides so both get done. Then I flip it back to the first side in the first pan. After a moment tamp down on the tortilla. Its center should rise a bit, fluff up. It is done.

Nothing like what you buy in a store.

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