How to Make a Tortilla

Tortilla is a flatbread of wheat or corn flour. It is a staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines, and it is eaten as a main or side dish. It is also used in some recipes of other countries, and it has gained popularity worldwide as an ethnic food.

A tortilla is made from the masa of maize or wheat flour, water and shortening. It is also often enriched with leavening agents, emulsifiers, antimicrobial and other additives to enhance its flavor, softness, rollability, or shelf life.

There are many varieties of tortillas. The traditional ones are made from corn, whose production is very important for Mexico. Wheat tortillas are more common outside the country, especially in the United States. Some are made from whole wheat, which makes them healthier than their regular counterparts. Others are made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower or canola oil.

In general, the preparation of tortilla is simple. The dough is formed into balls and then rolled between sheets of waxed paper, until it is about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Then the dough is transferred to a hot griddle or skillet, and the waxed paper is removed from one side. The tortilla is cooked for about 10 seconds on each side, then it is placed in a basket or wrapped in aluminum foil.

It is possible to make tortillas by hand, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Besides, they do not come out as good as those made by machine. The quality of a tortilla is very dependent on the ingredients, as well as the temperature of the griddle or skillet.

The most important part of making tortillas is the preparation of the dough. This can be done either by hand or with the help of special machines. Dry masa flours for table tortillas are usually enriched with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid. During mixing, they are hydrated with water and shortening.

Once the dough is prepared, it is shaped into disks of varying diameters. It is then cut into specific shapes using a die, and then baked on lime-coated metal slats or mesh belts at 280-302 degC for 30 to 45 seconds. The resulting tortillas are then cooled on open conveyors, counted, stacked, and packaged (Figure 2f).

In order to produce uniformly sized tortillas, the processor must adjust his cutting and dough-ball-forming machines as well as the setting of the sheeter. Occasionally, tortillas that are lighter or heavier than the target weight are produced due to improper adjustments of these machines. This can be a problem because it affects the nutrition labeling, and it may result in customer complaints. The solution to this problem is to modify the equipment in such a way that all tortillas will be the same weight. A hardwood tortilla press is the best option for this purpose. It will work best if it has a hinge, so it can be pressed down on the tortilla to compress it, while the other side of the press is used to flatten the tortilla into a circle.