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I am trying to make a healthier tortilla, which I have always made with all-purpose white flour. Is there another grain flour I can use that will produce a tastier and healthier tortilla, and still give me a tender tortilla?

  • Have you done any recipe searches for alternative flour tortillas? You will be unlikely to be able to simply replace the flour in a recipe you are already using but I'm sure there are thousands of recipes for non-wheat tortillas out there... And remember that traditional tortillas are made with corn. – Catija May 17 '15 at 15:29
  • see cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/21769/…. You certainly can't make a substitution, but an addition might be possible. – rumtscho May 17 '15 at 18:15
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You might try to add some amaranth flour or any other kind of flour, but it's difficult -impossible I think- you can make a bread or a tortilla out of 100% amaranth flour. Wheat flour (that you call "all purpose white flour") contains gluten, that is functionally used to make dough stick together. If you use amaranth, rice or other kinds of flour you'll find that it's difficult to make the dough.

If you want to make a healthier tortilla use whole wheat flour, and add whatever you want inside: amaranth, sesame seeds, linseed, nuts, peanuts, almonds, etc.

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    Corn has no gluten and is the traditional grain used for tortillas. – Catija May 17 '15 at 16:21
  • Yes you're right. – Attilio May 17 '15 at 16:35
  • @Catija Just any ground corn isn't suitable for tortillas, however. I believe you need to use masa de maíz, which is made from hominy, which is nixtamalized field corn. Regular corn meal will likely fall apart or create something too thick to be a tortilla. Other grains besides corn can be nixtamalized. So, I imagine this may make it possible to make tortillas with lots of stuff. – Shule May 14 '16 at 8:30
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I've been to a restaurant which proposes pizzas made of 100% of amaranth. So it is definitely possible to make some kind of dough, although I'm not sure how much complicate and lengthy it can get.

  • "Proposes"? Are you saying that this is their plan for the future or that they actually do this already? Also, I'm pretty sure that there's more in the dough than only amaranth... it needs to have yeast at the very least. – Catija Jan 15 '16 at 2:13
  • I am happy to know this is possible but I do need to know more. Do I add white flour to the amaranth? If so, what ratio to white? Does anyone have a recipe? Thank you for your response. – user35595 Jan 15 '16 at 23:04
  • I am glad to know it is possible, but I need more information. Do I need to add white flour? If so, what ratio? Does anyone have a recipe? – user35595 Jan 15 '16 at 23:07
  • @Catija I suspect (US- or UK-) English is not user42482's first language. It may be best to read "proposes" as "offers". – Chris H Mar 14 '16 at 15:28
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You would probably have to nixtamalize most gluten-free grains and pseudocereals (including amaranth) in order to use them successfully in tortillas if you don't want to add gluten. These doughs from nixtamalized grains are known as masa. Corn is usually used for this, however, but other things are possible. You can buy masa harina, which is dried and powdered masa de maíz (which is masa from corn) at the grocery store and make corn tortillas with it. If you use regular corn meal, it will probably fall apart and be grainy (or else thick like fry bread).

'… nixtamalized amaranth flour can be used to replace maize for tortilla production.' This is an excerpt from Pseudocereals and Less Common Cereals: Grain Properties and Utilization …, edited by Peter S. Belton and John R.N. Taylor (p. 236). So, yes, what you suggest is possible, although it might take some learning and time. Companies should really sell masa from all kinds of grains and pseudocereals, although advertising it to people who don't know what it is might be the hard part. They could call it tortilla flour, I guess (but I imagine there are many more uses).

You would probably need to nixtamalize the amaranth before grinding it into flour, however. That's how it's done with corn. So, I wouldn't buy amaranth flour for this purpose.

Nixtamalization may make the food more nutritious in certain ways. It does for corn, anyway. I'm not sure about amaranth.

Other gluten-containing grains (e.g. barley, rye, kamut, spelt) might be workable for tortillas, but likely not as ideal as wheat flour, without some kind of process like nixtamalization.

Apparently, you can make tortillas with oat flour, with a very simple recipe.

FYI: Oats don't contain gluten. However, they are often contaminated with it (hence gluten-free oats being sold particularly) and they contain a similar protein called avenin. Even with gluten-free oats, avenin can cause issues for people who need a gluten-free diet if they haven't been on the diet for a certain amount of time.

You can even make a flour from wheat that has been nixtamalized: Masa de harina de Trigo. I imagine it's even easier to make tortillas with it than with regular flour (however fine or white it is).

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