The Mexican wraps or soft tortillas that you buy in a supermarket are made from wheat flour, but these are traditional corn tortillas made with Mexican maize flour, masa harina. This gluten-free flour, available online from specialist Mexican Food suppliers, has a distinctive taste. You can substitute wheat flour, but masa harina will give you a more flavourful and robust tortilla. In Mexico, this simple dough is often flattened in a torilla press but these small tortillas are easily rolled by hand.
Makes 18 Tortillas
190g masa harina
Pinch of salt
250ml warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
vegetable oil for frying
1. Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl. Add the water and olive oil, and mix with one hand until you get a smooth dough. This is tighter than a yeast dough and it feels quite crumbly; if it’s too dry, add a few extra drops of water. This dough is for rollling, rather than stretching.
2. Divide the dough into 18 equal pieces and shape into small balls. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. To shape, place a ball of dough between 2 layers of cling film and roll to flatten, give it a quarter-turn, then roll and turn again, to keep a round shape. Continue rolling and turning until you have a small 3-5mm thin round. Repeat with the rest of the dough. This is the easiest way to shape tortillas, but sometimes I simply bash them on a work surface with my hand to flatten them.
4. To cook the tortillas, lightly oil a heavy-based frying pan or flat griddle and place on a high heat. Cook the tortillas, a few at a time (depending on the size of your pan), for 1 minute or so on each side, keeping a close eye on them; you don’t want them to get too brown. Use a palette knife to push down any small bubbles that appear on the surface.
5. Once cooked, remove the tortillas from the pan and wrap in a clean tea towel to keep them soft and warm. Stack them as they are cooked and eat as soon as possible.
Taken from Paul Hollywood’s Bread, published by Bloomsbury
Photograph © Peter Cassidy